Our museums and archives are temporarily closed to support the effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

San Diego: All in a Day’s Work

“During the time I was on the switchboard I got thirty dollars a month. We put in only eight hours I guess, I don’t remember. We had to take different shifts. I never did a night shift, I guess I was too young. I worked until about ten or eleven o’clock and I’d come on about three. That makes it eight hours. Maybe I’d come on at two.”
      …Ella Thompson Noble [b. 1883; interviewed 1959]

“I went to Jamul school and I finished what is possibly the first year or two of high school there, the ninth grade. Then I went into town and for a year I worked in the telephone office, while in the meantime I was taking a business course. The telephone office was the Pacific. I think, anyway, R.L. Lewis was the manager. I worked there alone for quite awhile at night time until Mr. Lewis put on a second operator on so we had company all the time.”
      … Frances Lockwood [interviewed 1958]

SDHS photograph 2405e: Operators, Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Co., 1920s. Title Insurance Collection.

Order a print of this or any other photograph in this exhibit, in the size of your choice.

More photos An article in the Journal of San Diego History (Summer 2000) includes several more of the photographs from this exhibit.