Lost & Found Sound

AT&T Archives

Lost and Found Sound:

An old-fashioned switchboard operator with headphones and a series of plugs to connect calls.

A switchboard operator. hide caption

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Remember the tender warm embrace of Ma Bell? Up until the American Telephone and Telegraph's sanctioned monopoly was shattered in 1984, there was really only one telephone company in the United States. It's remnants include a grand archive in Warren, New Jersey: the AT&T Archives.

NPR's Art Silverman, the Lost and Found Sound coordinating producer, visited the site and came away with dozens of soundtracks to the company's in-house and public movies and radio shows. His host was archivist Sheldon Hochheiser, who helped shed light on what motivated Ma Bell to pat herself on the back so often and so well.

Produced by Art Silverman.



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