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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 219

Papers of Louise Barbour, 1917-1939


Papers of Louise Barbour, who served as a telephone operator with the Signal Corps in France during World War I.


  • 1917-1939

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Louise Barbour is held by President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.21 linear feet (1/2 file box)
This collection includes Barbour's article for the Bell Quarterly, letters to AT&T and friends, and various personal mementoes of the Signal Corps.


Louise Barbour served as a telephone operator with the Signal Corps in France during World War I, 1918-1919. In August 1918 she was made Chief Operator of the Signal Service at Large in Tours, a position she held for the rest of the war. These French-speaking telephone operators were recruited by General Pershing from American Telephone and Telegraph Company, for which Barbour had worked before the war, and were to help American soldiers with no knowledge of French in telephone conversations. In 1935 AT&T began planning an article for the Bell Quarterly on women in the telephone industry, including a section on the Signal Corps, by sending out questionnaires to former employees. Much of the correspondence in this collection has to do with this article. Helen Cook, often mentioned in this collection, also served as an operator with the Signal Corps.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 70-4

The papers of Louise Barbour were deposited with the Schlesinger Library in 1970 by Louise Barbour.

Processing Information

Processed: February 1976

By: Joellen Wlodkowski
Link to catalog
Barbour, Louise. Papers of Louise Barbour, 1917-1939: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future.

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