National Emma M. Nutt Day

National Emma M. Nutt Day

The Boston Telephone Dispatch Company hired the first telephone operator in 1878. When you think about a telephone operator, what image do you conjure up?

A white blouse and skirt that is at least an ankle length, with a friendly female voice. It may surprise you that the first operator was a male. In fact, all the first operators were men. Their reign was not to last. In September 1878 Emma M Nutt became first female operator of a phone line. Since then, it has been a women’s business. National Emma M. Nutt day celebrates this pioneering operator and all that she and her co-operators have done for communication ever since.

As we mentioned, the first telephone operators were all boys. While we don’t like the expression ‘boys will always be boys’, it was a common belief back in the early days. Telephone operators were often boys who displayed a lack of patience and cussing behaviors.

Emma M Nutt joined the New England Telephone Company in this way. Her gentle, cultured voice was the ideal example of what an operator should sound like. She was also a rock star in what she did, working 54 hours a week and earning $10 per month. After retiring, she continued to work at the company for 33-37 years. Stella Nutt was her sister for a few years, and they became the first sisters-operators in history.

We love to celebrate Emma M Nutt Day by getting on the phone to dial the operator. When they answer, male or female we say thank you for their work and tell them about the first telephone operator. It’s also a great way to look back at the history of the telephone switchboard and see the progress it has made. While the world is constantly changing, we will always have Emma M Nutt’s friendly voice to help us find those tricky numbers. We are grateful to Emma and all of the operators who have followed, for keeping us in touch.


Jan 09 2025


All Day



Next Event

Go to Top