Hagley Author Talk Traces Telecommunications in America

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Hagley Museum and Library welcomes Columbia University professor Richard R. John.

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The history of the telegraph and telephone—the world's first two electrical communications networks—contradicts assumptions many hold that government regulation is an impediment to innovation. Hagley Museum and Library welcomes Columbia University professor Richard R. John on Wednesday, April 23, for his Author Talk, “Telegraphs for the 1 Percent, Telephones for the People: How America Became a Network Nation.” The talk begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free. Reservations are requested; call (302) 658-2400, ext. 243, or email clockman(at)hagley(dot)org. The lecture will be held in the Soda House auditorium. Use Hagley’s Buck Road East entrance off Route 100 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Network Nation places the history of telecommunications within the broader context of American politics, business, and culture. In the early 20th century the lightly regulated telegraph remained a technological backwater and accessible only to a small elite. In contrast, the highly regulated telephone became a technological powerhouse and available to ordinary Americans throughout the nation, transforming our culture in the process. Professor John will illustrate his talk with dozens of cartoons, advertisements, and photographs.

Dr. John used the rare journal, the Review of the Telegraph and Telephone (later combined into the Factory) in Hagley’s library for his book, Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications (2010). Network Nation received the Ralph Gomory book prize from the Business History Conference in 2011. Copies will be available for sale at the event.

About Richard R. John

Richard R. John is a historian who specializes in the history of business, technology, communications, and American political development. He is a professor of history at Columbia University in New York, NY. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. John is author of Spreading the News: The American Postal System from Franklin to Morse (1995) and editor of the “Industry and Society” monograph book series sponsored by the Hagley Museum and Library.

About Hagley Museum and Library

At Hagley, we invite people of all ages to investigate and experience the unfolding history of American business, technology, and innovation, and its impact on the world, from our home at the historic DuPont powder yards on the banks of the Brandywine.

For more information, call (302) 658-2400 weekdays or visit http://www.hagley.org.


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