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University of Connecticut University Libraries Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

Workers at Play: Baseball Teams, Bowling Leagues, Company Picnics and Amateur Nights

An online exhibit of images from the Connecticut Business History Collections in Archives & Special Collections of the University of Connecticut Libraries

Southern New England Telephone Company

Founded as the District Telephone Company of New Haven on January 28, 1878, the company that became known four years later as the Southern New England Telephone Company is best known as being the first commercial telephone exchange in the world. They produced the first telephone directory on February 21 of that year, listing 50 subscribers. The company served the people of Connecticut through the 20th century, celebrating the installation of its one millionth telephone in 1956, and in 1998 merged with SBC Communications. Soon afterward the company became part of AT&T.

SNET was particularly proud of its sports teams and virtually every issue of their monthly employee magazine, the Telephone Bulletin, had extensive information about their triumphs. For instance, the March 1952 issue proudly announces “The Tel-Belles Have Done it Again! Our talented hoopgirls have again won the City Industrial League basketball championship – their seventh consecutive championship in seven consecutive seasons...” alongside an article proclaiming “SNET’s Annual Bowling Congress will be held at the Wooster Bowling Alleys in Hartford on April 19. Thirty-six men’s and women’s teams will participate.”

SNET women's basketball team, cal 1920s
SNET men's baseball team, 1909.
SNET women's basketball team, ca. 1920s.
SNET men's baseball team, Waterbury office, 1909.

Many more images of SNET employees enjoying sports and parties can be found at Connecticut History Online and the UConn Libraries Digital Mosaic.


Exhibit schedule


American Brass Company

Bristol Brass Company

Farrel Company

Hartford Electric Light Company

New Britain Machine Company

Sargent & Company

Southern New England Telephone Company

Thermos Company

Wauregan-Quinebaug Company

This page is maintained by L. Smith