This week focuses on the spread of telephones
and increased communication. In the Lecture (approximately
30 minutes), Jeff Wiltse takes up the national telephone and technology
story, dealing with how telephones changed rural America. Maps & Cityscapes presents
images that reveal how the technology of telephones and electricity changed
the look and feel of cities and towns.
Tribal Perspectives includes oral and written
testimonies of increased poverty on the reservations, in contrast to the “progress” for
more mainstream rural communities. In People and the Humanities we
examine the life of inventor Nikola Tesla and present images of telephones and
their operation around our region. In Research we present
our top reading and film choices.
Assignment suggestions for this week’s content include:
- How does technology change our lives? What other kinds of technology
have transformed American society and culture? Should we discuss the
issues around technological development and should government limit it in
- Why does there seem to be so little written about such an important topic? What
other important issues have historians ignored?
- How did the arrival of the telephone change your area? What were
the positive and negative effects?
- What if you were in charge of allowing or disallowing change in your community
and you had a “Seven Generation” guideline for considering the
introduction of telephones? That is to say that you would consider
the possible ramifications down to the seventh generation to come. What
would you decide?
- What can photographs reveal about the changes brought by new technology?
Final pole of the first transcontinental telephone line, placed into service on June 17, 1914, at Wendover, Utah.
Alexander Graham Bell