The First Male Operator in the Bell System

...well officially anyway.

Rick Wehmhoefer was the first male to be hired as a genuine AT&T operator after a class action suit was settled. In reality there were those of us hired prior to that,
mostly high school and college students working as part-time operators, when the job was still openly considered a "woman's job." Our purpose was to help AT&T prove they did hire "non-traditional" operators and it was understood that it was only meant as a entry job for a guy until he was moved up into a "man's job." It was a different era, unless you lived in that time, it's difficult to understand how the accepted attitudes were then.

Judith Beeman's version of the official story that she wrote from interviewing Rick is on www.privateline.com.



This is an interesting video on the history of operators, at first teenage boys but soon replaced by women.

Use of Women as Telephone Operators: Early History"

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