Publisher description for Telegram! : modern history as told through more than 400 witty, poignant, and revealing telegrams / Linda Rosenkrantz.


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A fascinating and delightful exploration of the history of the last 150 years through its most urgent messages

Not long ago, the sight of a Western Union delivery boy coming up the walk regularly filled Americans with excitment or trepidation. Between its invention in the mid-nineteenth century and its relegation to money transfer and congratulations in the years following the Second World War, the telegraph served as the primary medium for urgent messages. Telegram! collects the most poignant and revealing examples of this early form of electronic communication.

Organized into categories such as "Parents and Children," "Hollywood," and "Lincoln in the Telegraph Office," the telegrams range from witty personal notes-such as Dorothy Parker's wire to her friend Mary Anderson on the birth of her first child: "Congratulations. We all knew you had it in you"-to political commentary-such as Will Rogers's telegraphed newspaper column, which once read, "It wasn't that Coolidge done nothin'. It was that he did it better than anyone else."

This handsome volume is an innovative and entertaining reflection of recent history, approached through its most urgent messages.


Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Telegraph History, History, Modern 19th century Sources, History, Modern 20th century Sources, Technological innovations Social aspects, Information technology Social aspects