Communication in 1912

Communication in 1912

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We are inundated and overwhelmed with information today. It is literally at the touch of a finger.

In 1912 communication was a lot harder to come by. So how did people communicate:

Early 1900 telephone

1. Telephone—it was still in its infancy. In 1912 very few households had a phone of their own. If you needed to make a call you’d need to find a store or neighbor that had one. At this time they were still three years away from the first coast to coast, international phone call.

2. Mail—letters was still the most common form of long distant communication. It was a great way to stay in touch with your family that moved away. Stamps cost two cents at that time. The invention of the zip code was more than fifty years away.

Early Post Office

3. Telegram—this was still the most common way to send a message if it was urgent and/or needed to be sent long distance.

Old Telegram

4. Face to face—visits were still the best way to spend times with friends. These were in the days when children were the largest interruption. There was no television, radio, computer, internet and all of the other interruptions we have today. My grandmother has often told me that when people visited with one another they actually faced one another, listened to one another, answered questions and shared a conversation.

Wow! Maybe we need to take lessons from the past.

Women Sharing Together in Person

5. Send a messenger—if you had an emergency and needed a doctor, minister or to send an urgent message to someone in the area, you would send a messenger to deliver it.

6. Newspaper—I’m not sure if this is really a form of communication as previously mentioned, however it was full with a lot of local news and facts. Pouring through old newspapers as a genealogist I’ve found mention of visiting relatives, church socials, births and marriages, trials, crop reports and other events that take place in the town. It was a great way to share more detailed information with everyone.
Below is information found in the Duncan, SC paper in 1903 by a fellow researcher:
We are living well with blackberries, frying chickens and garden vegetables in abundance.
Both C.P. REYNOLDS and Belton EDWARDS had cotton blooms open on the 8th.
John and Riley REYNOLDS from Wingo’s Mill, visited friends and relatives in this community last week.
Miss Isa HUGHES of Greers, visited T.B. EDWARDS on the 4th of July.

It is hard for us to fathom a time when information was not at the tips of our fingers, but it was not that long ago that people actually lived this way. What lessons can we learn from the past and how they communicated?

Newspaper from 1912