Jepsen is wonderfully thorough in detail in discussions of women telegraphers and: women's wages generally; the Civil War; colnizing the West; culture-shock moralizing in all directions; the centralization of the new industry; deskilling telegraphic jobs; international comparisons; and reflections in popular culture. More, probably, but I remember those. The writing is slightly cut-and-paste repetitive, a though it had been several magazine articles.
The list of high- and low-culture 'telegraph' works is great. Strauss wrote a "Telegramme" waltz! (Opus 318.) W.D. Griffith made The Lonedale Operator and The Girl and her Trust. The Hazards of Helen filmed 119 episodes between 1914 an 1917; Fritz Lang made Western Union; actually, that sounds awful, although Jeppson says it "partially redeems itself through its depiction of authentic telegraph equipment". This seems unimportant now, when there's a more-or-less-officially-fantasy genre for every grade of wish-fulfillment violence, technical aptitude, sexuality, and gender. Imagining it after reading a novel is hard, though. Women's fiction in the nineteenth century mostly offered a choice between suffering in moral silence until the Virtuous Man rescued you, or suffering in moral silence until you died of it and someone felt remorse. Sometimes a woman went Bad, which is to say sexual, not larcenous, and later died, possibly of remorse, but the idea of leaving town on the next train for a job has to have been a big old breath of fresh air. (Am I wrong? Send me counterexamples.)
So wrote clew in