This one is so special it warranted its own blog entry. Our latest project represents yet another Great Leap Backward in women’s history. We normally deal with ancient women’s history, but this one will deal with more recent history. Not too long ago, when Sister Caillean was visiting us, it occurred to her that Central House had likely at one point in its history had a telegraph office, given that it had a number of patrons and was a prominent building in the town. Naturally, it’s no longer there.
Telegraphy was the primary method of long-distance communication for a long time. It is the forerunner of the internet and email technology. The primary telegraph operators were women. Telegraph technology would never have been so successful had it not been for the thousands of women operators. This is an overlooked, but important nonetheless, facet of women’s history. Were it not for telegraphy and the women who did it, we would not have internet and email today.
We are now in the process of converting room 12 into a telegraph office and a small living history museum. It will still be usable as guest room. We are setting up the equipment and covering the walls with authentic Women’s Suffrage memorabilia as well. Cai’s daughter Chessie is now working on furthering the project as part of her Master’s thesis. Her school, Edinburgh University is interested in our project as is Seneca Falls. We are hoping to put on a recreation of telegraph usage by sending them a message from the Maetreum for their convocation next year.
Caillean and Cathy have acquired some vintage keys and sounders and cloth-covered wire. Many of these items were still in their original boxes and never before used! In this economy, we were able to acquire them at some amazing prices as well. We are even looking to acquire some historical costumes for the demonstration.