Southern New England Telephone Company Records
Scope and Content
The records of the Southern New England Telephone Company (SNET) reflect the long history of a pioneering and innovative telephone company. The collection consists of material dating from the formation of the New Haven District Telephone Company and the invention of the switchboard in 1878 to the merger of the Southern New England Telecommunications Corporation and SBC Communications Inc. in 1998. However, the bulk of the material predates the 1983 Bell System divestiture.
The collection covers a wide range of records from SNET. It is particularly strong in advertising material with print, radio, and television information spanning sixty years from 1920 to 1980, early financial data, and photographic material that depict not only the business but the entire state of Connecticut. The company also kept an extensive file of “historical material” which contains town histories, exchange histories, personal recollections of key figures, and information about storms and disasters. The early correspondence found in Series I, Administration/Business, provides an interesting glimpse into the development of the telephone business and the telephone's acceptance in society. Of special interest might also be the records of the predecessor and subsidiary companies of SNET. The collection also includes a substantial set of directories ranging from 1878 to the 1960s. Included with the directories is one of two of the only known surviving copies of the first directory ever printed.
The collection, however, has several gaps. The collection does not contain a substantial amount of personnel material. What few items there are can be found in Series I, Administration/Business. There is virtually no information on labor relations and there is very little information of a technical nature, or on product development.
- undated, 1877-2003
All materials less than 20 years old will be restricted.
All proprietary material will be restricted 26 years.
All personnel material will be restricted for a period of 75 years after the date of creation of the records with the following exceptions:
a. The individual named in the personal information, or their legal representative, if a signed release is provided to Archives & Special Collections of the UConn Libraries
b. Official representatives of AT&T if such a representative provides a signed request from (name of AT&T officer) on corporate letterhead.
Restrictions on Use
Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and AT&T. Please consult with the curator or ask at the Reading Room desk.
- New Haven, Connecticut
- District Telephone Company of New Haven
- October 12, Name changed to The District Telephone and Automatic Signal Company.
- Holyoke, Massachusetts
- The Connecticut District Telephone Company
- April 15, World's first telephone booth.
- April 15, World's first private Toll line put into service, Blackrock to Bridgeport.
- New Haven
- Marjorie Gray
- The Connecticut Telephone Company
- Southern New England Telephone Company
- World's first coin-box telephone.
- June 10, Connecticut's first dial unit cut into service in Hartford.
- First major telephone company
- One millionth phone installed.
- Two millionth phone installed.
- November 15, the first company to use fiber optics in local telephone exchange.
- Bell System Divestiture.
- December, Introduced the first fiber optic backbone system to serve a state communication network.
- DPUC: Southern New England Telecommunications Corporation
- Completes an enhanced statewide 911 emergency system - the third in the nation.
- I-SNET, the first broadband information superhighway introduced.
- June 25, Introduction of one-second billing.
- September 25, SNET granted the first statewide video franchise in the United States.
- October 26, SNET merged with SBC Communications Inc.
On 27 April 1877, Alexander Graham Bell gave a demonstration of his new invention, the telephone, at Skiff's Opera House in New Haven, Connecticut. This presentation piqued the interest and ingenuity of George Coy, a civil war veteran and manager for the Atlantic and Pacific Telegraph Company. On 3 November 1877, George Coy was awarded a Bell telephone franchise for New Haven and Middlesex counties. This franchise stipulated that the Bell Company would own thirty-five percent of Coy's enterprise. This relationship was maintained for most of the history of the company.
Using carriage bolts, teapot lids and wire, Coy improvised a crude switchboard with 8 lines, each of which could serve up to 8 customers. Coy enlisted the financial backing of Herrick Frost, a prominent businessman, and Walter Lewis, superintendent of the New Haven Clock Company. On 15 January 1878, with the help of a young lawyer, Morris Tyler, the New Haven District Telephone Company was incorporated. On 28 January of that same year, the first commercial exchange was opened in New Haven with 21 customers. On February 21 the new company published the world's first classified telephone directory. The directory listed 50 customers.
The company reorganized several times over the next few years, seeking to raise money with larger capitalization to expand its territory and broaden franchise rights with the Bell Company in Boston. During this time, the company took over the pioneering exchanges in Hartford, Meriden and Bridgeport and began to build and promote toll lines. It is also of note that during this period the first woman operator in Connecticut, Marjorie Gray, was hired in Bridgeport. Despite this expansion, competition was so fierce Coy and Frost were compelled to sell controlling interest in the company to financier Jay Gould who in turn, used the company in a bid to gain control of Western Union. By the end of 1879, Western Union had conceded the telephone business to Bell in exchange for an agreement that the Bell companies would stay out of the telegraph business. Because of this settlement, Gould lost interest in the fledgling Telephone Company. In the meantime, Coy and Frost had approached Marshall Jewell, a former state governor, Postmaster General, ambassador, and chairman of the Republican National Committee to help raise money to, once again, raise capitol by reorganizing the company. In 1880, the company was reorganized as the Connecticut Telephone Company with Marshall Jewell as its president. A portion of the funds raised were used to buy out Gould's share, thus making the company wholly controlled by Connecticut investors again.
Within the next two years, the company was running twenty-four exchanges connected by toll lines and had over 3500 customers. A subsidiary company, the Inter State Telephone Company, had begun construction of a line between Boston and New York. And in 1882, the company was reorganized, yet again, as the Southern New England Telephone Company. Much expansion was envisioned for the company.
Two developments soon put a damper on the intended growth. The widespread introduction of electricity caused interference on the telephone lines. The problem necessitated a costly solution - the connection of every customer with “metallic circuits”: two copper wires rather then a single iron one. This also required the replacement of every switchboard. The second development was the failure of the New York-Boston line. The line was sold to the newly incorporated long-distance company, American Telephone & Telegraph. SNET also sold off its Massachusetts holdings for much needed capitol and made the decision to limit its operations to Connecticut.
The remainder of the 1880s was a period of very little growth and expensive equipment upgrades resulting in a period of severely limited company earnings. Problems were compounded by the Blizzard of 1888, which took down many wires and poles in the outlying areas. However, the 1890s ushered in a period of strong growth as the American economy began to expand rapidly. The number of telephones nearly tripled to just over 15,000 as rates were reduced and an advertising campaign began. Debts were paid off and dividends to shareholders were reinstated. During this time, Bell Company patents ran out and competition again became fierce. In 1899, the Connecticut Legislature recognized the monopolistic nature of the telephone business and passed laws creating barriers to the entrance of new companies. In 1911, this law was replaced by a Public Utilities Commission, which had the power to regulate rates and services for SNET and other utilities. With this help the company grew rapidly throughout the first years of the twentieth century.
During World War I, SNET suffered shortages of material and employees as resources were diverted to the war effort. Operators were hard to find and 50 men were sent to the Army Signal Corps. In 1918, the federal government assumed control of all telephone and telegraph companies. Before the companies were returned a year later, the government had instituted the first nationwide rate increase in an effort to cover costs of operation. SNET was left with a large backlog of service requests at the war's end.
Business picked up again in the 1920s as the conversion to dial service, which eliminated the need to go through an operator, was begun. But expansion was again halted when the stock market crashed in 1929 and the Great Depression ensued. The 1930s saw the first net loss of telephones since 1894. The dividend was reduced, sales efforts were stepped up, and lay-offs were only avoided by reducing work schedules. Also, in 1938 SNET saw one of its worst natural disasters. The Hurricane of '38 knocked out nearly a third of the telephones in the region and left 62 of 79 central offices without power. With the help of other Bell companies, SNET was able to reconnect all of its customers in 23 days.
World War II brought many of the same problems as the first World War. Over 740 SNET employees entered the military. During the war, only 4 party residence service was available, leaving the company with a backlog of 60,000 customers waiting for private service. In addition, inflation and high income taxes left the company's financial stability in question at the war's end. In 1947, SNET applied for, and was granted, its first rate increase in 20 years.
During the post-war years the economy, and the telephone business, grew rapidly. 500,000 phones were in service in 1945 and by 1956 the one million mark was surpassed. The conversion to the dial system was completed in 1953 and in 1956 an improved dial system called “crossbar” was implemented. By 1970 there were two million telephones in service. At this time the company underwent a concerted effort to centralize service for increased efficiency and simplified long-distance services.
In 1974, SNET's corporate parent, AT&T, was sued by the federal government to break up the Bell System monopoly on the telephone industry. In a 1982 settlement AT&T was required to spin off its local telephone companies to shareholders. The local telephone companies were prohibited from engaging in any other business except local exchange service until January 1984. Because SNET was only 22% owned by AT&T at the time of the agreement, the company was not required to comply with this ruling. In response, on 1 January 1983, SNET established the Sonecor Systems Division in order to take advantage of their special status. This subsidiary would distribute equipment made by a variety of different manufacturers. In August 1983, SNET announced a artnership with CSX, a railroad holding company, to build a network of fiber optic cables, called Lightnet, which was planned to link 43 cities in 24 states along the railroad right-of-ways. In February 1984, AT&T announced the sale of its SNET shares. A relationship that had lasted over a hundred years had ended.
In 1986, SNET reorganized its corporate structure once again to reflect its new diversified nature. The newly formed holding company would be able to better manage the new divisions and would now be called the Southern New England Telecommunications Corporation. In 1988, SNET formed a partnership with NYNEX to offer cellular service and in 1989 sold their share of Lightnet for $365 million dollars to Williams Communications. By the end of the decade, SNET had more then doubled its 1980 income level.
In 1991, amidst economic recession, SNET received its first rate increase in 10 years. During this year the company also established a new subsidiary, SNET Paging, Inc. which would offer paging service to Connecticut, Rhode Island and Boston.
The next seven years were a period of new product and service introductions for the company, including SNET 800 CustomLink (800 numbers for residence customers) and Smartlink, which included services such as Caller ID. In 1993, SNET announced plans to invest 4.5 billion dollars in I-SNET, a statewide, interactive information super highway, and launched SNET America, which would offer national and international long distance calling. This year also saw the beginning of an effort to downsize in order to reduce operating costs. Two thousand five hundred people were slated to leave the company by 1995. The introduction of SNET Internet came in 1995 and in 1996, SNET led the industry with the introduction of one-second billing. In 1997, J.D. Power and Associates rated SNET as the number one rated long-distance company in America. And in that same year SNET Americast, a cable television service, was launched. In addition, the acquisition of Woodbury Telephone Company, the only other independent telephone company in Connecticut, was completed.
On 5 January 1998, a transaction was announced that would merge the Southern New England Telecommunications Corporation and SBC Communications Inc., of San Antonio, Texas. On 26 October, after approval from stockholders, the FCC and CDPUC, the merger was officially completed. Although operating headquarters remained in Connecticut and the SNET name was retained, the company had officially come to the end of its days as an independent telecommunications service provider.
672 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Established in January 1878 as the District Telephone Company of New Haven, Connecticut; opened the world's first telephone exchange that same year. Reorganized as the Southern New England Telephone Company in 1882. Provided telephone service to residents in the state of Connecticut until 1998.
The collection is broken down into twelve series. The first five series reflect a breakdown loosely based on the 1991 SNET records management schedule. The remaining series are based on a pre-existing order or format.
- Administration/Business (undated, 1877-1980)
- Accounting/Finance (1882-1985)
- Corporate Relations (1915-1995)
- Product Service Development (1889-1942)
- Studies, Reports and Plans (1911-1985)
- Subject Files (1879-2003)
- Publications (1878-1998)
- Predecessor and Subsidiary Companies (1878-1979)
- Memorabilia, Artifacts, and Artwork (1904-1990s)
- Audio/Visual (1951-2003)
- Photographs (1878-1998)
- Restricted Material
Series I: Administration / Business (undated, 1877-1980) contains three subseries: Administration, Business-corporation, and Business - General. All are organized alphabetically. The first two subseries are based loosely on the 1991 SNET records management schedule. Administration primarily contains material such as correspondence, organizational charts, and procedure manuals. The correspondence files in this subseries formerly existed four ways. There was loose material, material indexed by letter in boxes, letterpress books, and binders of “executive letters.” The loose material and the boxed material are interfiled chronologically. The bindered material and letterpress books follow the loose material. The boxed material often contained additional material such as reports, contracts, receipts, and bills. For those boxes indexed by letter, major contributors to a section are listed in parentheses. Additional material may exist in each section. The Business - Corporation subseries contains material such as annual reports, minutes, by-laws, material associated with capitol stock, contracts and agreements and other material pertaining to the condition of the company. The Business - General subseries contains records that do not clearly indicate departmental provenance but do pertain to the workings of the business. For example, this subseries contains files on the purchase of other companies, records pertaining to rate issues such as rate increase cases and directory assistance charging, and material associated with the 1969-72 sale of the TWX system. A minimal amount of personnel material is also located in the subseries.
Series I: Administration / Business.
Series II: Accounting / Finance (undated, 1882-1985) contains six subseries arranged alphabetically; A.J. Alex, Chief Accountant-Comptrollers Office; Bound Volumes; Depreciation Accounting; General Accounting; Insurance; and Private Mobile Radio Loss. Oversized materials are listed at the end of the series. The A.J. Alex subseries dates from 1893 to 1958 with the bulk of material covering 1923 to 1958. The records are listed in the original numbered order from 1.01 to 114.1 with a gap from 71-112. Headings follow each number and summarize the foldered materials. There is no index. The records consist of memoranda, correspondence, notes, plans, diagrams, bills, deeds, procedures, brochures, contracts, studies, estimates, letters, orders, directives, reports, records, regulations, and minutes. The topics cover a wide range of issues pertaining to SNET accounting such as: holiday pay, billing, benefits, rates, contracts, government regulations, war-time procedures, office supplies fleet cars, and coin telephones. The Bound Volumes subseries spans 1882 to 1985, but the bulk of the materials date from 1882 to 1920. The subseries consists of books, journal, ledgers, and boxed folders and bound books arranged alphabetically. The topics include cash records, expenses, reports, vouchers, trial balances, spending, debits and credits, and accounts payable and receivable. The subseries provides an overall picture of early SNET spending, costs, and financing.
The Depreciation Accounting subseries dates from 1912 to 1981 and deals with material and equipment depreciation. Correspondence, minutes, instructions, reports, and procedures make up the bulk of the subseries, which is arranged alphabetically. The General Accounting subseries covers a 100-year time frame, from 1883-1983. It contains SNET bills/receipts, transfers, records, taxes, correspondence, and procedures. Sections of Circulars and Handbooks provide information about SNET general accounting methods and practices. The Insurance subseries spans 1921 to 1967, with the bulk of the information occurring from 1948 to 1967. The materials consist of policies, data, schedules, correspondence, bonds, fire and equipment insurance, statistics, leases, city/town insurance, and reports. The subseries is also alphabetically arranged, as is the Private Mobile Radio Loss subseries. A box of Mobile Private Radio Loss index cards is listed separately at the end of the subseries. The subseries focuses on SNET financial losses with Private Mobile Radio phones from 1951 to 1964.
Series II: Accounting / Finance.
Series III: Corporate Relations (undated, 1915-1995) is divided into four subseries: Advertising, Customer Complaints, Employee Information, and Public Information. The series is arranged alphabetically. Advertising covers the period from 1924 to 1988. The subseries contains material pertaining to SNET advertising campaigns such as correspondence, schedules, meeting minutes, programs, research, and studies from 1965 to 1980. Advertising budget and Yellow Page budget information is available from 1970 through 1980. The subseries is particularly strong in the decades of the 1960s and 1970s, with specific campaigns such as those for Business, Residence, UCONN Basketball and Football, and Long Distance Calling. Information such as correspondence, memoranda, and planning is also available for SNET promotions for such products as the Decorator Telephone, Calling Card, and Phone Store, 1968 to 1977. Newspaper ad samples are available from 1924 to 1931 as well as advertising samples labeled “Printed Material for Clients” produced by SNET from 1986 to 1988. There is extensive information for Yellow Pages advertising from 1973 to 1980 including studies, research, correspondence, and campaigns. The oversized material consists of original illustrations and artwork from the 1950s through the 1980s. Mechanicals, photographs, printing plates, and posters pertaining to advertisements are also included. Large binders contain sample advertisements ranging from 1955 to 1980 that reflect the cultural and social changes in Connecticut.
The Customer Complaint subseries does not have information on the department structure or policies. There is a Customer Comment Guide dated 1930. Most of the materials are contained in binders consisting of customer complaints to the Federal Communications Commission (1949-1969) and customer complaints and problems on rates, service, and equipment reported to the Connecticut State Public Utilities Commission (1915-1971). The subseries does not include correspondence from SNET to the customers or commissions. The Employee Information subseries is comprised of memoranda, correspondence, and plans for SNET personnel programs and some information on company policy (1970-1988). Programs and policies addressed areas such as: Ecology, Fitness, and Safety. There is a unique and interesting collection of Safety Cards promoting employee health, awareness, and safety from 1935 to 1965. Two oversized binders contain similar material. There is very little information of department structure, labor/management relations, or personnel policies and procedures. The series concludes with the Public Information subseries (1968-1995). This subseries consists of materials relating to promoting the SNET corporate image and public relations. Programs such as Corporate Symbol, Ecology, and Centennial contain correspondence, plans, and announcements (1968-1991). There is a collection of interviews with SNET Directors from 1976 to 1977. News releases, news conferences, and press luncheons are included from 1974 to 1992. A strength of this subseries is the collection of speeches, by top executives, that demonstrate SNET's commitment to public relations and community involvement (1965- 1987). The oversized material consists of informational packages dealing with topics such as the Centennial Celebration, Links To Learning Program, and World's Fair Promotion. Included in these packages are promotional items, announcements, program descriptions, and brochures (1964-1995).
Series III: Corporate Relations.
Series IV: Product Service Development (undated, 1889-1942) is also based on the 1991 SNET records management schedule. This series is arranged alphabetically. It contains blueprints and diagrams from approximately 1889 to 1921. Included are diagrams of the Court Street building in New Haven, the Stamford dial office, the Grey Rock Place building in Stamford, a blueprint of the Coy switchboard, and others. The series also contains scattered engineering and plant records from the early twentieth century.
Series IV: Product Service Development.
Series V: Studies, Reports and Plans (undated, 1911-1985) is organized alphabetically by title of the document, department or subject. There are mid-year and year-end reports from (1975-86) for Data and Information Systems; reports and studies pertaining to directory assistance charging issues, 1973-78; earnings and profit studies; a series of reports filed with the PUCA/DPUC, 1975-79; and other individual documents. The series also includes a collection of project reports, ranging from 1965 to the mid-1980s, available on microfiche. The material is organized first by microfilming project number and then alphabetical by acronym. Whenever available the meaning of the acronym is spelled out.
Series V: Studies, Reports and Plans.
Series VI: Subject Files (undated, 1879-2003) is arranged alphabetically. The basis for this series was a set of files kept by the company as “history files.” Much of the material was gathered or created during the writing of a company history, Connecticut Pioneers in Telephony, by J. Leigh Walsh, published in 1950 (Dodd Call No. C 5356). The series contains materials such as files on exchange histories and facts, personal recollections, buildings, storms and disaster, and key figures in SNET history. Of particular interest in this series are files of town histories. These files often contain material of a general historical nature, as well as material associated with the telephone.
Series VI: Subject Files.
Series VII: Publications (undated, 1878-1998) is arranged in three sub-series: Clippings, Material Produced by SNET, and Material Produced by Others. The series also contains a listing of SNETPeriodicals for reference purposes. The Clippings sub-series contains newspaper clippings in scrapbook form dating from 1899 to 1997. Other clippings are from various newspapers throughout Connecticut and the region that pertain to SNET and telephone company issues. Of note is one large folder dedicated to the 1936 flood. The earlier scrapbooks are very fragile. The sub-series, Material Produced by SNET, is arranged alphabetically. It consists of bill inserts, pamphlets, booklets, and guides to service, all of which cover a wide variety of topics. The Material Produced by Others sub-series is also arranged alphabetically by title. It contains booklets, journals, pamphlets, guides, almanacs, magazines, and reports primarily published by ATT or the Bell System. The Periodicals have been pulled from the collection. They are listed for reference purposes and are cataloged in the university on-line system. It is arranged alphabetically by title in seven sections: an A to Z Titles List, Periodicals, Oversized Periodicals, Bound Periodicals, Oversized Bound Periodicals, Directories, and Bound Directories. The sections contain materials in different sizes and formats. Some titles changed formats and are listed in more than one section. The A to Z List directs the user to the various sections for each title. The Periodicals and Oversized Periodicals sections consist of SNET publications such as: newsletters, news briefs, magazines, bulletins, newspapers, guides, and directories. These materials are in folders that are boxed, numbered 1 through 6. The Directories section contains exchange directories produced for Connecticut that cover cities, towns and the whole state with Connecticut Statewide Directories. The section also lists directories produced by Predecessor and Subsidiary companies. Of interest is the only known copy of the first directory ever printed in the world from New Haven in 1878. There are also Official Directories of SNET departments, divisions, and employees and directories for Retired Employees. These materials are also in folders and boxes numbered 7 and 8. The Bound Periodicals, Oversized Bound Periodicals and Bound Directories are stored on shelves and are listed alphabetically and by year. They cover various SNET topics such as sales or news and the Bound Directories are “Phone Books” that show telephone numbers for many cities or towns and the whole state over a large span of years.
Series VII: Publications.
Series VIII: Predecessor and Subsidiary Companies (undated, 1878-1979) contains the records of those companies that have preceded or been absorbed by the Southern New England Telephone Company. The series is arranged according to a volume numbering system set up by the company. The series is comprised of two sub-series, Predecessor Companies and Subsidiary Companies. The sub-series Predecessor Companies contains the records of the District Telephone Company of New Haven, the Connecticut District Telephone Company, the District Telephone and Automatic Signal Company, and the Connecticut Telephone Company. The sub-series Subsidiary Companies includes the records of the Connecticut River Telegraph Company, the Connecticut Telegraph Company, the Naugatuck Telephone Company, the New London Telephone Company, the Stamford and Norwalk Telephone Company, the Interstate Telephone Company, the Ansonia Telephone Company, the Standard Time and Electric Company, the Windham County Telephone Company, the Fishers Island Telegraph Company, the Connecticut Electric Light Company, the New Britain Telephone Company, the Canaan Local Telephone Company, the Farmington Valley Telephone Company, the Sharon Telephone Company, the Waterbury Automatic Telephone Company, and the Woodbury Telephone Company. Most record groups contain minutes and incorporation material. Material such as journals, ledgers, financial data, and tax material are included with some.
Series VIII: Predecessor and Subsidiary Companies.
Series IX: Memorabilia Artifacts and Artwork (undated, 1904-1990s) contains a wide variety of artifactual material such as: equipment, employee awards, commemorative material, general company memorabilia, promotional material, framed artwork, posters, scrapbooks, and a few miscellaneous maps. Although there is an attempt to organize the material there is no specific order. Of particular interest in this series is the scrapbook of E.B. Baker, a key figure in the early development of the company, and the minute book of the 1880 National Telephone Exchange Association Convention held in Niagara, New York.
Series IX: Memorabilia Artifacts and Artwork.
Series X: Audio/Visual (undated, 1951-2003) has eleven subseries arranged by format. The subseries are Cassette Tapes; Reel to Reel Audio Tapes (5 inch); Reel to Reel Audio Tapes (7inch); Record Albums (33 1/3 RPM); Video VHS; Beta (1 inch); Beta (3/4 inch); 16 Millimeter Sound On Film (3 inch reels); 16 Millimeter Sound On Film (5 inch reels); Microfilm 35 Millimeter and Microfilm 16 Millimeter. The subseries' organizations are alphabetical, except the microfilms, which follow SNET's original reel number order. The SNET Audio Visual Department, external production services, radio and television stations produced the materials in this series. It contains no documentation.
The Cassette Tapes cover such topics as meetings, commercials, employee information programs, interviews of SNET employees, public information programs, press conferences and other various topics pertaining to the communications industry. The recordings occurred from the early 1970s to 1982. The Reel to Reel subseries grouping is by 5 and 7 inch reel. The medium is reel-to-reel audiotape. The 5 inch topics are primarily SNET commercial recordings with some telephone related subjects and the 7 inch tapes are recordings of radio talk shows, speeches or press conferences. The time frame is 1970 to 1981. The Record Albums are Master Recordings of SNET commercials or topics on 33 1/3 vinyl disks from 1951 to 1965. The Video VHS tapes cover various SNET topics or programs such as public relations and SNET history from the early 1980s to 2003. The two Beta subseries are recordings on ⅓34; inch and 1 inch Beta tape also covering various topics from SNET and ATT in the early 1970s to 1990. The two 16 Millimeter Sound On Film subseries are also on two different sized reels, 3 and 5 inches. The films are SNET commercials with synchronized audio from 1964 to 1980. The Microfilm subseries consist of 35 and 16 millimeter microfilm organized by original SNET reel numbers. The dates listed are when the materials were microfilmed. The topics are Executive, Financial and Accounting related covering areas such as deeds, contracts, leases and meeting minutes from the early 1900s to 1980.
The materials in the Reel to Reel, Record Album, Beta and 16 Millimeter Sound On Film subseries are very fragile and require special equipment, careful handling and staff supervision for use. The equipment needed includes a reel-to-reel tape deck, 33 1/3 record player, Beta tape player and 16mm projector and screen respectively.
Series X: Audio/Visual.
Series XI: Photographs (undated, 1878-1998) has eleven subseries: Contemporary, Contemporary Oversized, Transparencies, Contact Sheets, Contact Sheets Oversized, Historical, Historical Oversized, Historical Oversized Fragile, Historical Fragile, Slides and Negatives. The SNET departments Creative Services, General Information and Public Relations took the majority of the photographs. In other cases, SNET utilized independent photographers or studios and the services of ATT. There is very little documentation that accompanies the photographs although many have captions, headings, descriptions, SNET job numbers and location or date information.
The Contemporary subseries organization is in SNET's original alphabetical order by subject heading. The time frame spans from the 1930s to 1998. The subseries contains mostly 3 by 5, 4 by 6 and 8 by 10 print photographs enclosed in clear protective sheets and grouped by subject in folders. When readily available, dates are provided in the inventory list. Many items have information written on the back such as the date, location, subject and SNET job number. The job number can be cross-referenced to the contact sheets and/or negatives to obtain more information. The photographs cover a wide range of topics pertaining to SNET and Connecticut such as: meetings, groups, building, cities and towns, equipment, scenic areas, disasters, personnel, political figures, plant construction, operators, switchboards, SNET workers and telephones. The company used the photographs in advertisements, ceremonies, displays, promotions and company publications. The Contemporary Oversized materials are larger photographs or scrapbooks grouped alphabetically and by size.
The Transparency subseries arrangement remains in the original SNET order by transparency or “TR” number followed by a general heading. Other transparencies are grouped by subject. SNET used the materials for publication covers or advertisements. The Contact Sheets are organized first in ledgers by year, then boxed and foldered by SNET job number and corresponding dates. Freelance studios and topical contact sheets are included in the subseries. The sheets are rough prints of negatives and often give important information not found in the regular photographs. The Oversized section is organized by subject.
The Historical subseries are older SNET photographs from 1878 to the 1930s. However, some folders contain images of operators into the 1970s. The materials are also in protective sheets and folders organized in SNET's original alphabetical order by subject heading. They cover topics similar to the Contemporary photographs. The Historical Oversized materials contain larger photographs and scrapbooks boxed by size. The Historical Oversized Fragile materials are larger images requiring careful handling. They are mostly supported with backing boards. The Historical Fragile Restricted photographs are older, very sensitive materials in four flap enclosures that require staff supervision for access and use. Most of the photographs in all the historical sections are singular images with no negatives or copies and should be handled with extreme care. The Slides are arranged topically in trays and cover a variety of SNET topics and presentations. The Negatives 35 Millimeter Film subseries is filed by the SNET job number that corresponds to many of the Contemporary prints and the Contact Sheets.
Series XI: Photographs.
Southern New England Telecommunications Corporation was the owner of the records prior to transfer of ownership.
SBC SNET donated the collection in July 2002.
Accession 2015.0090 was donated in June 2015 by Daniel Miglio, former Chairman and CEO of the Southern New England Telephone Company.
Location of Copies or Alternate Formats
Digital reproductions of materials in this collection may also be found in the Archives & Special Collections digital repository.
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