Boston: Telephone Despatch Co., n.d. [c. 1890]. Original printed wrappers; 52 pages; minor wear; inscribed by the company manager. One of the earliest Boston phone directories, listing about 800 subscribers, mostly commercial enterprises, especially banks, insurance companies and railroads. Not all of the subscribers are listed with numbers, although by this time the front wrapper requests that “Subscribers will confer a favor by using the numbers, as possible, in calling for connections, viz.: 286 for 94, naming your own number last.” Apparently others supplied the operator with the name of the subscriber they were trying to reach. A few years earlier, this company employed the first female operator (boys and young men were considered too rambunctious for this task), and by 1900, only women would be employed in that capacity. Ten offices are listed, “always open, day or night.” As high-tech as this system was in its time, even primitive automation was yet to be deployed. Bell perfected and demonstrated the telephone while in Boston; the original building has vanished, and the site of this momentous event is commemorated with only a modest plaque.