The “Voice with a Smile” returns to her telephone switchboard

Mary Cullen Yuhas Anger and her niece Kay Cullen, visiting the reading room at Archives & Special Collections on Monday, February 13, 2012

In 1952 Mary Cullen, a 25-year-old telephone operator with the Southern New England Telephone Company, received the “Voice With a Smile” award, given to operators for superior public service and demeanor.  The award came with a distinctive white headset — Mary said allowed her to stand out and made her feel very special.

Mary Cullen, SNET operator and the “Voice with a Smile,” 1952

On Monday, February 13, 2012, the “Voice With a Smile,” now Mrs. Mary Cullen Yuhas Anger, visited Archives & Special Collections with her niece Kay Cullen to view photographs, documents and employee magazines in the Southern New England Telephone Company (SNET) Records in the archives.  Mrs. Anger reminisced about her happy days as an employee of SNET, from 1944 to 1956, and then off and on, on night shifts, when her children were young.

Mrs. Anger topped off her visit with the gracious gift of a dial pencil, a mechanical pencil with a metal ball at the end, which operators used to work the rotary dials (for efficiency as well as to preserve their manicures, she told us).

Laura Smith, Curator for Business, Railroad and Labor Collections

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