The first female telephone operator, Emma McNutt was hired by New England Bell in Boston, Massachusetts, and began work on September 1, 1878. Previously, all operators had been young men who reportedly were given to lightening the tedium of their work by roughhousing, shouting at each other, and swearing at the customers.Young ladies of the time were brought up to be gracious, diffident, prim, proper, virtuous, and never profane. The Bell System also required them to be single. (Note: New England Bell did not hire married women until 1942, with the thought being that, by definition, a married woman could not be virtuous, at least not from a male perspective. It was, after all, male chauvinists who did the hiring in those days.) Within a few years, the male operator was extinct, not to resurface until the 1960s. History lost track of Emma McNutt after she retired in 1911.