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Duluth Council Telephone Pioneers of America records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: S6183

Scope and Contents

Box 1: The collection is primarily photographs of Duluth employees of the Northwestern Bell Telephone company that became US West and Century Link (1899, 1912, 1918, 1922-1986, 2012 with gaps). The photographs document employees’ meetings, training, events and awards (dinners, dances, picnics, retirement parties) held in the Hemlock and Melrose Lounges, Spalding Hotel, Hotel Duluth, Duluth Athletic Club, and the Duluth Elk’s Club; photographs of Duluth neighborhood telephone exchange buildings; window and office displays (1959-1962); operators at switchboards; men in the field; a few photographs of Cloquet, Two Harbors, Grand Marais, and Iron Range town employee events. Many photographs identify every person. Some photographs are not dated. The collection holds retirement announcements and snapshots of parties for long serving employees; one Northwestern Bell Telephone Time Book of pay period wages for seven men employees (1911-1948 most 1930s-1940s).

Box 2: Duluth charitable project TPA Arrowhead Council volunteer files of requests for volunteers, flyers, snapshots of events, thank you notes (1974-1994, 2012).

Box 3: Oversized photographs: Blue Bell Club, April 10, 1912 (McKenzie); Telephone Employees Association, 1919, identified (McKenzie); Northwestern Bell Telephone Employees’ Company Party, 1922, 1924 identified (McKenzie); Presentation of Safety Plaque of Duluth Chamber of Commerce, 1926, identified (McKenzie); Farewell Party Fred Lister, 1927, identified (McKenzie); NW Bell Employee Retirement Party Louis Lamontagne, Oct. 12, 1934, Elk’s Club; First Installation of Mobile Service in company car, October 6, 1947, identified; NW Division No. 45 Communication Workers of America Eight Minnesota Annual State Assembly, 1948 (Gallagher’s Studio); Fire scene, buildings adjacent to Melrose Building, June 4, 1948 (2); Scenes of March 1950 Sleet Storm Rural Area of Duluth

3 scrapbooks, 1956-1970, 1964-1974, parties and events; Sylvia Anderson’s book of women employees marriages, etc., 1920s-1950s


  • 1899-2014


Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the Kathryn A. Martin Library, Archives and Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

The Telephone Pioneers of America is a social organization established in 1911, for public service by American Bell Telephone, the Bell System (AT&T, US West, Century Link) telephone employees. A call went out followed by a letter of invitation resulting in 450 applications and a first meeting of 246 Telephone Pioneers November 2 and 3, 1911, in Boston, Massachusetts. A constitution adopted this statement: “The Association is formed for the purpose of recalling and perpetuating the facts, traditions and memories attached to the early history of the telephone and the telephone system; preserving the names and records of the participants in the establishment and extension of this great system of electrical intercommunication; the promotion, renewal and continuance of the friendships and fellowships made during the progress of the telephone industry between those interested therein; and the encouragement of such other meritorious objects consistent with the foregoing as may be desirable.” There is an annual convention. Chapters were developed. On September 12, 1922, a charter was granted the C. P. Wainman Chapter No. 18 for the areas of Minnesota and North Dakota. Subsequently, councils were organized within the Chapter. The Duluth Council formally organized on March 17, 1931, although it had operated on a council basis since July 1, 1925. Later, Minneapolis, North Dakota, St. Cloud, and St. Paul Councils organized. In 2001, it was called the Telecom Pioneers and was the world’s largest industry-related volunteer organization. Their credo is “Answering the call of those in need.” Members reside in every state, Canada and Mexico. From books for children, services for the elderly, packages for troops overseas, they give thousands of hours volunteering in communities annually. They number more than 625,000 members.

The Melrose Pioneer Museum at 322 West First Street in Duluth was closed in July 2016, and selected records were donated. Minutes are at the Telephone Pioneers of America Arrowhead Council website


2.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The collection is primarily photographs of Duluth employees of the Northwestern Bell Telephone company that became US West and Century Link, along with scrapbooks, volunteer files of requests for volunteers, flyers, and thank you notes.

Physical Location

This collection is located at the University of Minnesota Duluth Archives. For more information about this collection or to make an appointment, contact us at or 218-726-8526.

P. Maus
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University of Minnesota Duluth Archives and Special Collections Collecting Area

Kathryn A. Martin Library
University of Minnesota Duluth
416 Library Drive
Duluth MN 55812-3001
(218) 726-8526