Once Upon a Telephone: An Illustrated Social History

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Ellen Stock Stern, Emily Margolin Gwathmey
Harcourt Brace, 1994 - Crafts & Hobbies - 135 pages
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The telephone rings. It jingles our psyches, jangles our nerves. We are seduced and soothed, rattled and betrayed by it. Wherever it is - on the desk or street corner, the high seas or highway, in our bathrooms or briefcases - it has, for a machine, an allure like no other. Once Upon a Telephone is a visual history of this indispensable and inescapable apparatus - with an emphasis on the days before 800s, 900s, voice mail, and FAX. Lavishly illustrated in full color with a wealth of twentieth-century ephemera - everything from movie stills to matchbooks - and including excerpts from a variety of literary sources, Once Upon a Telephone is a spirited tribute to operators, directories, phone booths, and, of course, the appliance itself. The evolution of telephony irreversibly altered conventions of modern romance and constructions of power; Once Upon a Telephone is the only work in existence to chronicle these changes in such a comprehensive and entertaining fashion.

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Once upon a telephone: an illustrated social history

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Stern (The Good Heart Diet Cookbook, LJ 1/15/82) and Gwathmey (Ticket to Paradise, LJ 11/15/91) have collected ephemera, anecdotes, and excerpts about the telephone. Movie stills, magazine covers ... Read full review


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About the author (1994)

Ellen Stern has been a writer and editor at GQ, New York magazine, and the New York Daily News. Her books include Best Bets, Once Upon a Telephone, Sister Sets, and Gracie Mansion.

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