First-person diaries, sound portraits, and hidden chapters of history from Peabody Award-winning producer Joe Richman and the Radio Diaries team. From teenagers to octogenarians, prisoners to prison guards, bra saleswomen to lighthouse keepers. The extraordinary stories of ordinary life. Radio Diaries is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.
Nowadays we’re very accustomed to recording and hearing the sound of our own voices. But in the 1930s many people were doing it for the first time. And a surprising trend began. People started sending their voices to each other, through the postal service. It was literally voice-mail.
We combed through a large collection of early voicemail at the Phono Post Archive, and we discovered that many of these audio letters have the same subject matter: love.
This story originally aired on NPR’s All Things Considered in 2018.
You can see photographs of the voice-o-graphs on our website: https://www.radiodiaries.org/voicemail-valentine-2022/.