Emma Nutt (July 1860 – 1915) became the world's first female telephone operator on September 1, 1878, when she started working for the Edwin Holmes Telephone Despatch [sic] Company (or the Boston Telephone Dispatch Company) in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||1915 (aged 54–55)|
|Known for||World's first female telephone operator|
In 1900, Emma, her parents, her sister Stella, and Stella's husband, William G Evart, and 10-year-old son, Arthur C Evart, were living together in Chelsea, Massachusetts 
Life and career
In January 1878, the Boston Telephone Dispatch Company had started hiring boys as telephone operators, starting with George Willard Croy. Boys (reportedly including Nutt's husband) had been very successful as telegraphy operators, but their attitude (lack of patience) and behavior (pranks and cursing) were unacceptable for live phone contact, so the company began hiring women operators instead. Thus, on September 1, 1878, Nutt was hired, starting a career that lasted between 33 and 37 years, ending with her retirement sometime between 1911 and 1915. A few hours after Nutt started working, her sister Stella became the world's second female telephone operator, also making the pair the first two sister telephone operators in history. Unlike her sister, Stella only remained on the job for a few years.
The customer response to her soothing, cultured voice and patience was overwhelmingly positive, so boys were soon replaced by women. In 1879 these included Bessie Snow Balance, Emma Landon, Carrie Boldt, and Minnie Schumann, the first female operators in Michigan.
Nutt was hired by Alexander Graham Bell, who is credited with inventing the first practical telephone; apparently she changed jobs from a local telegraph office. She was paid a salary of $10 per month for a 54-hour week. Reportedly, she could remember every number in the telephone directory of the New England Telephone Company.
1 September is unofficially commemorated as Emma M. Nutt Day.
- "United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M9YT-VS3 : 6 March 2015), Emma Nutt in household of George W Nutt, Precinct 1 Chelsea city Ward 1, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States; citing sheet 9B, family 188, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,240,689.
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