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“Number Please?” The Days Before Cell Phones


From the Thelma Rogers Genealogical and Historical Society Program

WELLSVILLE – “Number Please,” The Days Before Cell Phones is a program sponsored by the Thelma Rogers Genealogical and Historical Society taking place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Exhibition Room at the David A. Howe Library. The public is invited to attend this free program.

Jude Cooper, who was one of several dozen ladies who worked for Ma Bell (The Bell Telephone Company) in Wellsville in the 1950s and 1960s, before the advent of self-dialing telephones and long before cell phones will be giving the program.

She recently said, “It was one of the most interesting jobs that I have ever had,”

Cooper went on to become a well-known and community-minded businesswoman, operating the Vogue Shoppe for many years.

She explained that the telephone service located upstairs in the building at the south corner of Main Street and Madison Street was a 24/7 service and there were several shifts per day. About 60 women were employed there.

During the program Cooper will explain that the telephone operators not only connected Wellsville residents to each other and the wider world, they also played an important role in keeping the community safe.

Cooper said she is “tickled” by the way people are so connected to their cell phones today, saying, “Kids haven’t got a clue as to how to use older-style phones.”

The Nathaniel Dike Museum, home of the Thelma Rogers Genealogical and Historical Society located on Dyke Street, has in its display older style phones and an operator’s switch board. It is open from May through the end of October from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays or by appointment anytime by calling 585-593-0606. Learn more them online, read newsletters:

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