Tag Archives: public library

Typewriters? Shorthand? How Times Have Changed

A recent gift to the Bridgeport Public Library Historical Collections was this small wooden ruler, only six inches in length. The ruler had the name “Gutchess College” engraved on the side, with the addess 46 to 54 Cannon Street.
What was Gutchess College?
The Bridgeport City directory for 1911 gives us the answer. S.D. Gutchess was the properietor of the Gutchess College at 46 Cannon Street. The ad in the 1911 city directory says that Stephen D. Gutchess took over as the properietor of the college from Brown’s Business College. Brown had started ihis school n 1896 teaching young men and women about the business trade.

Long before computers, instructors taught stenography, typewriting, telegraphy and bookkeeping. The school boasted that they filled “had 500 positions annually.” The 1911 city directory said that they had thirty typewriters at the school, and “up-to-date” instruction.
My how times have changed!

World War II Ration Books

Times are tough now, but in World War II it was especially difficult to get many goods from stores and elsewhere. Citizens were given a series of ration books during the war years. Each ration book was numbered. All kinds of things were rationed, from food to gasoline and even clothing.

The first ration book was given out in 1942. The first war ration stamps given out were for sugar. A series of four books were given out in the United States, and stamps were used for a variety of goods. On the back of the book which contained the stamps was the slogan, “If you don’t need it, DON’T BUY IT.”

This particular ration book was owned by Julian Sohon, the Head librarian of the Bridgeport Public Library in 1942.

Ration books had descriptions of the owner of the book, including height, weight, color of dyes and age. The address of the person to which the book was issued was also marked, with strict rules not to transfer ration stamps. Dealers had to post prices conspicuously so that buyers would not pay more.