Author: Bonnie Durtnall
Publication Date: 2006
It was a typical early spring day in Guelph. James Goldie had gone to Ottawa to represent the Miller's Association and to give evidence before Mr. Mills' Depression of Trade Committee. The wife of Henry Hignell, a well-known blacksmith, had given birth to a daughter two days earlier. A. O. Buchan was selling a large job lot of lace curtains for one dollar, the Italian Warehouse was advertising fresh canned goods, and the Central Emporium, next to the Post Office, was having a clearance sale prior to stock taking.1 Nothing unusual. But, in Boston, a simple phrase, mouthed by a Canadian, was to forever change the way people communicated with each other. It all began when Alexander Graham Bell of Brantford spoke into a new machine to his assistant, Thomas Watson. All he said was "Mr. Watson, come here, I want you."2 It was March 10, 1876, and Bell had invented the telephone. It was to change communications worldwide, found a multi-national corporation, and make Alexander Graham Bell a household name. With the telephone came new jobs: linemen, specialized engineers, and the women known as the 'Hello Girls.'
Of initial importance to the success of the company were men called Agents. Their job was to sell the company and convince potential customers that the telephone was more than a novelty. Between 1879 and 1884, these men pioneered the use of the telephone in Guelph.
In Guelph, the first agent was Alfred Burrows.3 He worked, initially, for the Dominion Telegraph Company, selling telephones in 1879 when Dominion concluded an agreement with Melville Bell for the rights. Burrows' job reflected the position of the early telephone in society. He said his duties were to, "Display the instrument, explain its uses, and take orders from potential subscribers."4 Potential was what the Bell telephone was all about in these early years. The parent company, National Bell of Boston, purchased Melville's Canadian phone rights in 1879 and sent Charles Fleetwood Sise to create a profitable business venture in Canada. In his first and second prospectus, Sise noted the communities that had agents and/or exchanges. In the First Prospectus of 1880, Guelph is listed as having an Exchange or Agency along with 31 other communities, including Montreal, Woodstock, Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Oshawa. Berlin and Waterloo are not mentioned. In 1881, the Second Prospectus stated that Guelph had its own exchange. It was a start.
The telephone, however, was not taken seriously at its inception. It was a novelty. There were telephone concerts and demonstrations. If people really wished to send a message long distance, they used the telegraph. Certain businesses even had telegraph call bells installed to facilitate the speed of delivery.
Another problem facing the early promoters of the telephone was the quality of the technology. Early telephone reception was not known for its clarity. The machinery was crude. People were told to, "Speak into the transmitter with the mouth six or eight inches from it. Speak distinctly and somewhat slowly."5 They were enjoined not to use the phone during or on the approach of a thunderstorm due to the possibility of poor reception and electric shocks. The latter became a serious problem for the operators.
The faults of the telephone apparatus were intensified in Guelph by the routing of the call. In 1882, Charles Sise authorized a trunk line to be laid from Hamilton to Guelph.6 This trunk line was the first step in long distance service. The first long distance call from Guelph was between a representative of The Guelph Mercury and John R. Cameron, editor for the Hamilton Spectator.7 If, however, a call was intended for Toronto, it would only get there via Hamilton. In accordance with the limited capability of operations, the local office was small. It was located on the ground floor of the Brownslow Building, facing Douglas Street. Hours were limited - the office was open from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. weekdays, and on Sundays from 2 P.M. to 4 P.M. Who acted as the operator is not known. In accordance with Bell policy of this time period, the operator was most likely a woman.
Nevertheless, the telephone began to gain ground in the community. Burrows had an initial sale of two hand, two box and two call bells. The former cost ten dollars a year, the latter five dollars. Two of these sales might have been to Charles Raymond. According to one report, Charles Raymond was the first subscriber. He had ordered two hand phones - one for his office, one for the stone shop.8 George Sleeman, the well-known brewer was another early subscriber. In 1883, he had a residential phone and one in his business.9 In fact, many local businessmen were the first to become aware of the potential of the telephone. All the phones listed in the 1883 Bell Telephone Directory belonged to businessmen and professionals; people with outside interests and the need to keep in immediate contact with suppliers, dealers, and customers: Kloepfer & Richardson, coal dealers; F. B. Skinner & Co., furniture dealers; H. Murton, oatmeal; Robert Stewart, sash and door factory; Burr Brothers, furniture manufacturers; and William Bell & Co., pianos and organs. There were also grocers (Peter Anderson & Co., Jackson & Hallett, Robert Mitchell & Son, and Hugh Walker & Son), confectioners (George Williams), and various other local businesses. Lawyers, banks, a few hotels, and even the American Express Company, had telephones. By this time, Burrows was no longer the Guelph Agent. This position was held by R. G. Williams from 1880 to 1882 and W. M. Wilde, from 1882 to 1883.10 By the end of Wilde's first term, there were 58 listings. This number grew as the technology improved.
EARLY EXPANSION: 1884-1900
The company expanded for several reasons. Charles Sise, who ran the Bell Telephone Company of Canada, was an excellent businessman and visionary, determined to make this telephone company a success. At the local level, Guelph agents proved to be just as determined. In 1883, there were 58 subscribers, and in 1885, the number of subscribers had increased to 94. The Wellington Hotel installed a telephone in 1885; the butcher shop run by J. and A. Tyson had one in 1886. The local Telephone Directory, dating from 1885, showed increased use of telephones in businesses and homes. In 1885, doctors added their names to the growing lists. Ads in the local papers and the Vernon City Directory, however, did not note telephone numbers during this period.
Guelph Telephone staff, 1895.
(Photograph courtesy of the Guelph Museums).
Other changes occurred in the system. in 1884 more lines were strung. Wires were laid between St. George and Guelph and, more importantly, Guelph and Toronto. Calls could now be made directly between the two cities. Sise authorized another trunk line between Guelph and Toronto in 1885. Moreover, a separation of telegraph and telephone was increasingly becoming clear. The telephone lines for Guelph General Hospital were removed from the telegraph lines and restrung on poles of their own.11
Despite the changes, there were still problems with quality. An employee at Raymond's Sewing Machine Factory, L. Walker, wanted to facilitate communication between the office and the brick factory. Rather than suggest to Raymond the installation of another phone, Walker invented a communication device. His solution was a pipe placed below ground linking the two work areas. It was infinitely better, The Guelph Mercury proclaimed, than the telephone connecting the stone shop to the office. The sound from the zinc pipe was both distinct and clear.12
Yet, in this year of 1886, the telephone was making inroads into Guelph. There were now over 100 subscribers, and the system was growing. According to a local paper, telephones were, "Rapidly being introduced into private houses, where they prove[d] a great convenience."13 The local ladies of wealth used the device to order groceries, phone their doctors, call their husbands at work and in the clubs, and 'gossip with their friends.' The telephone was becoming socially accepted, although only available to the wealthier classes. Residential phones were beyond the pocketbooks of the working and poor classes. Free phones were also made available towards the end of the century at certain vital spots - 12 homes in all. The waterworks pumping station, the fire chief's home, the fire hall, and St. Patrick's Ward were included.14 Free phones were used only for fire alarms. If local residents required the use of a phone for any other purpose, they had to go to a phone station, commonly located at the local Bell office, or sometimes found in hotels. Early models of pay phones required payment in advance.
Many of the changes took place under two men: W. M. Wilde and Thomas Whiting. Under Wilde, the office, still located in the Brownslow Building, underwent a major change. In 1885, installation of a switchboard resulted in a move from day to continuous service. The use of switchboards, or switching machines, affected the exchange between the operator and the subscriber. Subscribers were informed of the new procedure in their telephone directory. An 1888 Bell Telephone Directory described it accordingly:
"Ring for Central Office, then immediately remove the telephone and listen; when you hear the operator speak, give number and letter, if any, of subscriber you wish to communicate with and you will be connected at once or notified that the line is in use. With switching machinery now in use operators cannot pay any attention to calls for names as they do not know where to look for a line except by its number. The number wanted should be spoken with especial distinctness to prevent mistakes. If you have a grievance report to telephone 200."15
The new system also required a larger staff to operate, inspect, and repair. In Wilde's last year as manager, Miss Jenny Burnett was made day operator and William Gibson night operator. Whiting, appointed Agent in 1887, was retitled Local Manager in 1888. Whiting remained until the end of the century, continuing on with the changes begun by Wilde.
By 1893, Guelph was using five metallic switchboards. The staff had also grown. There was a repairman, E. Coulson, a night operator, four-day operators, and one chief operator. During his time, William Gibson continued to operate the telephone switchboard at night, while Miss Burnett became a chief operator, as did Miss Pringle. There were also messengers and inspectors. The outside jobs were for men; indoors, the telephones during the day were always run by women, which had not been always the case. The early telephone companies did not originally employ female operators. Men and boys filled these positions.16 The rationale behind Bell's shift from men and young boys to women was based on three factors: the economics of paying cheaper wages; their belief that women were more easily disciplined, because they were not unionized to the extent of their male counterparts; and the character, perceived or otherwise, of boys. According to Bell, boys were rarely polite, frequently rude to subscribers, and argued with the patrons. Boys clowned around, shocked each other for fun, swore, and used lurid language. A 'Hello Girl' was perceived as providing better service and better suited to the position. Bell soon replaced all male personnel with women, advertising the job as one suitable for a lady. A job with Bell was promoted as a cut above a factory or even a retail position. It should be noted, however, that these ladies would have to have had nerves of steel and an iron constitution since they worked 10 to 12 hours a day.
By 1888, women were also allowed to work as night operators.17 Guelph, however, maintained a male night-operator for a number of years. Bell also began a campaign to encourage night calls. The company hoped to expand the potential through a decreased rate system. In 1899, night rates were half the day rate on all long-distance calls. The minimum night rate was 25 cents, except when the day rate was less.18
There were other changes, giving the Bell system a higher profile, while reflecting the increased incursion of Bell into people's lives. Advertisements in the local papers increasingly included the business, shop or office's phone number, and various companies developed accessories. One sales agent, a Mr. H. Fairbanks, introduced a 'Telephone Pad.' This pad could be attached to the telephone for the simple recording of messages.19 The Guelph Mercury & Advertiser declared that, "The idea is an excellent one and will be found of much use."20 More such innovations were to follow.
Bell Telephone in Guelph had at least ten employees in 1895: E. Coulson was an inspector; J. Curzon a lineman; H. M. Black, a messenger; J.F. Gardner, a chief clerk; William Gibson, a night operator; and Miss L. E. Grant, Miss Mamie Grant, Miss E. Pringle, and Miss F. Sully, operators. The small operation was growing. Three years later, there were 280 telephones. The Bell operation in Guelph was well on the way.
THE NEXT CENTURY
In 1900, there were 58 telephone companies across Canada.21 Bell Telephone still held the largest share. In Guelph, Thomas Whiting, manager for 14 years, left. His replacement was John E. Bull, who transferred from St. Catharines.22 Bull remained in Guelph for two years (1900 to 1902) before being sent to Alberta. J. I. Sanderson was in Guelph in 1923, left the city, returned in late 1926, and stayed until 1936. W. R. Northgate and E. Butler each stayed about a year. This pattern was typically used by Bell - men advanced steadily up the ranks, moving from community to community, increasing their skills, knowledge, and earnings. An exception to the farming-out rule was H. M. Black, who began his career in Guelph as a messenger, rose to inspector, and then became Manager in the Guelph office from 1914 to 1922. More males than females rose through the ranks. Even linemen saw advancement. Joseph Curzon began as an assistant, then a lineman, and finally moved to the position of foreman. Albert Edward King began as an inside wireman, worked as a lineman, and then came to Guelph to become an assistant section man before moving on to Harriston, Berlin, and Palmerston and a job as section man. He rose as high as Local Manager and Plant Chief before eventually retiring.23
Bell did offer advancement opportunities and diversity, but not for women. Whether the title was supervisor, operator, or chief operator, women were trapped in the same type of work. Bell had developed a stringent programme for selecting and training female staff as early as 1900. Those who wanted to be 'Bell Telephone Girl' - employment described in a 1910 company pamphlet as, "Woman's Work," that compared favourably with other female jobs - were sent to train for a three- or four-week period at one of Bell's schools in Toronto, Hamilton or Montreal.24 Their application form had to include three references, including one from a clergyman attesting to their, "Good moral character and industrious habits."25 As one Bell document noted: a Bell Telephone Girl must be, "A person of truth and integrity, with intelligence, temperament, and manners fit to be an operator."26
Bell was demanding a specific type of young girl for the job. A 1920 guidance publication listed the qualities that made a good Bell operator:
"She should be sixteen or seventeen years old, and it is better if she has had one or two years in a high school. Her work will require accuracy, and she must be quick in thought and action. There should be not defect in her speech, and she should be at least five feet in height since she requires a good reach on the telephone board. Girls who go into this work should have strong nervous systems. The necessity for rapid and constant action, the strain on thought and nerve, and the call for resourcefulness and coolness, all of which are connected with the work on a telephone operator are a constant drain on nervous energy."27
It would appear to have been a good job for women, but there were several catches. The Report of the Royal Commission on in Dispute Respecting Hours of Employment Between the Bell Telephone Company of Canada, Ltd., and the Operators at Toronto, Ontario (1907) found that supervisors used threats and intimidation to maintain control of the operators, extracting extra unpaid labour. The Commission also found that women worked up to seven hours a day for five-hour wages, and that these wages did not provide adequate money to live away from home. Bell was embracing the changes that were reshaping clerical work. In doing so, the company created a new female ghetto. Although smaller than Toronto or Montreal's exchanges, Guelph's exchange was no different. The boards were tall and wide, and the seats were hard high stools. The demands on the operators were lighter, but the same skills were required, the same stresses involved, and supervisors still ensured that the operators followed company policy.
"From the testimony given, it would appear that from the manner in which the Bell Telephone company carried on its operations during the past three years at the main exchange in Toronto. Not only was the question of health a matter of small consideration, but the management knowingly permitted the work to be continued under conditions and in a manner absolutely detrimental to the health of its operators. We believe that where it is a question between the money-making devices of a large corporation and the health of young girls and women, business cupidity should be compelled to make way."
- The Report of the Royal Commission on a Dispute Respecting Hours of Employment Between the Bell Telephone Company of Canada, Ltd., and the Operators at Toronto, Ontario. Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau, 1907.
Wages changed little over the years. Wages in 1913 would range from seven dollars a week to a maximum of 17 dollars a week on their fourth year. Supervisors made as much as 20 dollars a week. Conditions also showed little improvement. As a result, like other switchboard operations, the turn-over rate was high. Most of the Guelph operators listed in the various Vernon Guelph Directories worked for the company for one to three years (e.g. Edna Fettel 1908-1910; Anna Hack, 1912; Lizzie Johnston, 1908-1909; and Ethel White, 1909-1910). There were, admittedly, a few exceptions. Annie Black worked as an operator from 1901 to at least 1905, as did Helen Colson, and Lizzie Grant was there from 1895 to 1909. Grant, however, became a Chief Operator.
A factor that contributed to the high turn-over rate was what the Labour Gazette referred to as the problem of, "Committing matrimony... always to be recognized within any business employing women."28 Although Guelph operators did include married women, the majority hired and retained were single. The major problem, however, was the actual work. When the 1907 strike in Toronto occurred, The Guelph Mercury assured readers that no such thing would happen in Guelph. The reason? Unlike their Toronto counterparts, Guelph operators were already on the 'Listening Board' for over eight hours a day. To decrease their time at the same pay, meant an actual gain in money and leisure time.29 The problem of wages, hours and conditions was to reoccur in 1920. This time, Guelph included a representative among those sent to talk to Mr. Dunstan, General Manager, in Toronto. They wanted a three dollar wage increase to cover the cost of living and improved working conditions.30
Yet, despite the empty promises, ongoing struggles, lack of a union, and poor working conditions, women continued to be drawn to the implied gentility of the job and its promises of steady, financially rewarding employment. As the century progressed, Bell Telephone in Guelph needed more operators and other staff to respond to its growth.
Bell Telephone Business Office Staff, 1917.
(Photograph courtesy of the Guelph Museums).
Technological changes indicated the advancement of the telephone. In 1902, Guelph telephones were more common, and businesses were, increasingly, paying for long distance lines. Crowe's Iron Works, the Barber Brothers, Bell Piano and Organ, and the Bank of Commerce had signed on for the 'long-distance feeling.' The local paper remarked that the growth of telephone usage in Guelph was remarkable, "Especially for long distances."31 Four years later, all numbers in Guelph had long distance capabilities. The demand was such that the building and the technology had to meet it. Guelph Bell Telephone had already expanded physically by moving into larger quarters in 1904. The new building, still on Douglas Street, had more space, an entirely new system of long distance and local switches and, so the article goes, "Much greater convenience and comfort both to the manager and staff and to the public."32
Installation of a centralized power source - the so-called 'Central Energy System,' transformed the new facilities on 20 Douglas Street in 1909 and changed the means of making a phone call. Bell began construction in September of that year and concluded it in November. Under the old system, subscribers had their own magneto battery on site; under the new system, a common battery located in the central office replaced the magneto battery. As a result, subscribers gave up their batteries and obtained a new phone. The Evening Mercury explained the differences succinctly: "The principal change of the new system is that while the signal is now sounded by hand in the future it will be sounded at central by merely removing a receiver."33 Guelph was not the first to install such a system - the honour fell to Ottawa - but it was the first to have a system made by Northern Electric, a Canadian manufacturer.34 During the renovations, the local paper urged its readers to be patient with the operators. It seems the office, under construction from September to November, was a disaster. Apparently, it was, "Like trying to whisper to your best girl in a cyclone to work... the interior of the office looks like an earthquake after it has quit work and the noise of hammers and saws is like the interior of a sawmill."35 The new system was operational by midnight, November 13, 1909.
Further advancements followed, the biggest in 1924, when automatic switchboards began to replace manual ones in Ontario, which reduced the number of women operators and forced subscribers to learn how to dial.36 Making this change easier was the perfection of the combined receiver-transmitter phone in July 1927. By this time, other improvements had taken place. Big storms in 1921 and 1927 - with disastrous results to service had taught Guelph linemen several lessons. A double-feeder system was soon adopted, shortening the time after an outage. To handle such issues and to address the daily matters of quality control and ongoing electrical problems, a new position was created. A Plant Chief was employed to oversee all electrical matters. Victor M. Swift held this position from 1910 to 1922.37
Guelph's Bell Telephone Operators, 1918.
(Photograph courtesy of the Guelph Museums).
Payphones, introduced earlier by the company, began to increase in number and location. New technology also affected payphones. Patrons no longer had to pay in advance, but could put money directly into the machine. People being people, the usual attempts to 'rip-off' the company were attempted. In June 1927, the local collector opened one such payphone at a hotel to find, amongst the coins, a 25-cent piece with a hole bored through it and a string attached. Other findings included buttons, small coppers, and pieces of metal.38
Other small changes altered the delivery and approach taken by Bell. In 1904, Toronto began to mail its bills. Prior to this, a Collector had personally seen to the collection of the monies. Aesthetics were also coming into the equation. Phone sets could now be painted. Instead of basic black or brown, subscribers could ask for a coloured phone. The set would then be painted to match their requirements.
To offset these changes, Bell telephone sought and got rate increases from the Railway Board - a major one effective on April 21, 1921. Local call rates went up by ten percent, while long-distance rates went up by 20 percent. The Local Manager, H. M. Black, stated in the press that the, "New classification of long-distance telephone service," into station-to-station and person-to-person, should be utilized by businessmen to ensure cheaper rates.39
These changes did not affect usage in Guelph, or elsewhere. In 1920, Guelph had more than three-thousand telephones. Most of these, however, remained in the hands of the privileged and the middle-class. The average Guelph worker could still not afford a phone, including telephone operators and linemen. Only the Manager had a residential phone. There had been a push for residential phone usage by Bell in 1902. Ads in the 1902 telephone directory read, "A telephone at your residence is a great comfort and protects your family day and night."40
The end of the 1920s saw 'Ma Bell' as an established institution in Guelph. No independent companies had succeeded, although the Consolidated Independent Telephone Company had tried in 1909. The Board of Trade had also considered controlling the phone. This action coincided with the expiration of the agreement between Guelph and Bell in 1910. Nothing changed. Ma Bell continued to do business. Its quarters were replaced in 1915 - a new building was erected on Cork Street. This latest building exceeded in size and grandeur all former Bell buildings in Guelph. It consisted of three floors. The first floor was subdivided into the Manager's office, business office, and telephone toll booths (for public pay calls). The switch board was located on the third floor. It was the same system, made by Northern Electric Co., with a capacity of 5,690 subscriber lines. The Plant Department had its own section - at the rear of the building's first floor. While the average person could use the local phones in this building, it was only after two World Wars that the common man and woman were able to afford a telephone in their homes. By this time, Guelph's telephone service had turned from a small operation on Douglas Street run by three or four staff and having few subscribers, into a corporate entity with two buildings and a staff of 130 operators, handling an average of 2,400 long distance and 45,000 local calls daily. The system, like the city it was serving, had grown and the population was demanding greater and better services. Ma Bell had indeed arrived.
BELL AGENTS AND MANAGERS IN GUELPH: 1878-1936
|Williams, R. G.||1880 - 1882|
|Wilde, W. M.||1882 - 1883|
|Stringer, Charles W.||1884 - 1885|
|Wilde, W. M.||1885 - 1886|
|Bull, John E.||1900-1902|
|Black, H. M.||1914-1922|
|Sanderson, J. I.||1923 (May-November)|
|Butler, E.||1923 (November) -1925 (May)|
|Northgate, W. R.||1925 (May) -1926|
|Sanderson, J. I.||
- The Guelph Daily Mercury and Advertiser, March 10,1876.
- William Patten, Pioneering the Telephone in Canada. Montreal: Privately printed, 1926.
- All information on Bell and its formation locally and in Canada are, unless otherwise stated, taken from the following sources: Roberta Gilbank, "Guelph and the Telephone." Guelph Historical Society Publications 10, No. 5; R. C. Fetterstonhaugh, Charles Fleetwood Sise, 1834-1918, Montreal, 1947; and Pioneering the Telephone in Canada. Montreal: Privately printed, 1926.
- "The Bell Telephone Company." Guelph Historical Society Publications, XIV, No. 4, p. 1.
- Bell Telephone Directory for 1883.
- For specific quotes from Sise, the source was Patten, p. 12-16.
- The Guelph Evening Mercury, December 10, 1915.
- Two sources, The 1927 Centennial Guelph Mercury edition and Gilbank, provide this information. The exact date given is April 22, 1879.
- Information found in the telephone directory for 1883.
- Information on the dates and names of the Managers are taken from three main sources: telephone directories; The Guelph Mercury December 2, 1956 - an edition dedicated to the switchover to long distance dial service; and Gilbank.
- The Guelph Daily Mercury and Advertiser, September 24, 1884; December 13, 1884; January 26, 1885; and April 22, 1885.
- The Guelph Daily Mercury and Advertiser, May 3, 1886.
- According to Gilbank, this quotation appeared in the Globe and MaiI on April 22, 1886.
- They were removed from all but the fire station, current and past fire chief, the waterworks pumping station, and St. Patrick's Ward in 1915 when it was determined no one used them. (The Guelph Evening Mercury, December 1, 1975).
- Bell Telephone Directory, 1888.
- J. Sangster, "The 1907 Bell Telephone Strike: Organizing Women Workers," Labour/Le Travail 3 No. 3 (1978): 110-111; V. Strong-Boag, "The Girl of the New Day: Canadian Working Women in the 1920s." Labour/Le Travail 4 No. 1 (1979): 143.
- Charles Sise wrote in his logbook dated June 28, 1888. "Women to be used for night operators, experiment to see if services improve." See Patten p. 16.
- See Telephone Directories for the time period.
- The Guelph Daily Mercury and Advertiser, August 23, 1890.
- Canada. Canada Statistical Yearbook, 1901, (Ottawa, 1907) p. 556.
- Charles Fleetwood Sise. Telephone Pioneers of Canada. (Montreal, 1989) Chapter 26.
- "The Bell Telephone Girl" pamphlet. (Guelph Museum Archives).
- Sangster, p. 110.
- Marjorie McMurchey, The Canadian Girl at Work: A Book of Vocational Guidance. (Toronto, 1920) p. 56.
- Labour Gazette, July 1913.
- The Guelph Evening Mercury, January 21, 1907.
- The Guelph Evening Mercury, March 15, 1920.
- The Guelph Evening Mercury, August 26, 1904.
- The Guelph Evening Mercury, September 10, 1909.
- Gilbank and The Guelph Evening Mercury, December 10, 1915.
- The Guelph Evening Mercury, September 10, 1909.
- The date for the implementation of this system in Guelph has not been found. In many places the manual switchboards remained until 1929.
- Vernon City Directories and Bell Telephone Directories for the period.
- The Guelph Evening Mercury, June 30, 1927.
- The Guelph Evening Mercury, April 14, 1921.
- Bell Telephone Directory, 1902.
Bell Canada. Telephone Directory for Western Ontario, Various, 1893-1930; The Telephone Girl, 1910 (Guelph Museums & Archives).
"Bell Telephone Company," Guelph HistoricaI Society 14 No. 4.
Canada. Report of the Royal Commission Regarding the Dispute Respecting Hours of Employment Between the Bell Telephone Company of Canada Ltd., and Operators at Toronto, 1907. Statistical Abstract and Record. Ottawa. (1886-1901).
Fetherstonhaugh, R. C. Charles Fleetwood Sise, 1834-1918. Montreal: Gazette Print. Co., 1944.
Gilbank, Roberta. "Guelph and the Telephone." Guelph Historical Society Publications 10, No. 5 (1970).
Green, Venus. Race on the Line: Gender, Labor and Technology in the Bell System, 1880-1980. Durham: Duke University Press, 2001; Guelph Herald. Various editions. 1879-1930.
Guelph Mercury. Various editions. 1879-1930 and December 1, 1956.
Klein, A. & W. Robertson. "Besieged Innocence: The Problem and Problems of Working Women - Toronto, 1896-1914." In Women at Work by J. Acton, P. Goldsmith & B. Shepard (eds.). Toronto: Canadian Women's Educational Press, 1974.
Knox, Ellen M. The Girls of the New Day. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1919.
Labour Gazette. October 1907; July 1913.
MacMurchy, Marjorie. The Canadian Girl. Toronto: T. Nelson & Sons, 1920.
Patten, W. Pioneering the Telephone in Canada. Montreal: Privately printed, 1926.
Phillips, P. & E. Phillips. Women and Work: Inequality in the Canadian Labour Market (revised). Toronto: Lorimer, 1993.
Sangster, J. "The 1907 Bell Telephone Strike: Organizing Women Workers." Labour/Le Travail 3, No. 3 (1978): 108-110.
Sise, Charles Fleetwood. Telephone Pioneers of America. Montreal: [s.n.], 1939.
Strong-Boag, V. "The Girl of the New Day: Canadian Working Women in the 1920s." Labour/Le Travail 4, No. 4 (1979): 131-164.
Vernon. Guelph City Directory. Various years, 1879-1930.