Communications - Overview
Tools of communication have transformed American society time and again over the past two centuries. The Museum has preserved many instruments of these changes, from printing presses to personal digital assistants.
The collections include hundreds of artifacts from the printing trade and related fields, including papermaking equipment, wood and metal type collections, bookbinding tools, and typesetting machines. Benjamin Franklin is said to have used one of the printing presses in the collection in 1726.
More than 7,000 objects chart the evolution of electronic communications, including the original telegraph of Samuel Morse and Alexander Graham Bell's early telephones. Radios, televisions, tape recorders, and the tools of the computer age are part of the collections, along with wireless phones and a satellite tracking system.
"Communications - Overview" showing 1 items.
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- Terrell, born in rural Virginia, performed government services for 22 years in the communications field, specific duties unknown. In 1911, after this service, he was appointed to a New York civilian post, to ensure the smooth operation of the freshly pioneered wireless on all Atlantic-based Naval ships. This collection begins with Terrell's appointment. In 1915, he was transferred to Washington, where he was given a trans-national staff of 35 and interdepartmental duties among the armed forces divisions. As Chief of Radio Division in the Commerce Department, he was responsible for monitoring the institution of radio into the nation's defense forces. After 19 years in this field, he was promoted to Chief of Field Operations for the Federal Radio Commission, created 1934. He continued in that post even when the FRC was changed into the FCC. After granting a special FCC request that he serve for a few more years after normal retirement age, he finally retired to Florida in 1943 at 72
- Collection documents Terrell's life from his 1911 appointment to the years immediately before his death in the mid-1960s. Includes: a brief, partial autobiography and descendant listing; a large body of correspondence ranging from financial planning to insurance policies to appointment notices; a program from an American Wireless Operators convention held in his honor; several retirement announcements and best wishes; business correspondence concerning Terrell's inspection job, largely covering 1911-1914; and 4 photographs of Terrell, family, and friends
- Cite as
- William Dandrige Terrell Papers, 1911-1965, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
- 20th century
- Terrell, William Dandrige (radio communication specialist) 1871-1960s
- Electricity and Modern Physics, Division of, NMAH, SI
- United States. Commerce Department
- United States. Federal Radio Commission
- Local number
- 1997.3094 (NMAH Acc.)
- Data Source
- Archives Center - NMAH