Southern New England Telephone Company Records

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 the only known copy 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.
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