Yesterday we received a question about the number of households in 1960 Jackson that had telephone service. If you are a librarian – and this includes those of you who are merely librarians at heart – you know that this is a perfect question. 1960 was a census year. It’s a reasonable assumption that this question may have been included in the housing census. Jackson is a big enough city that the data is probably available. Time to dig!
(An example of an imperfect question: how many households in 1967 Itta Bena watched I Dream of Jeannie?)
The answer was in the 1960 Census of Population and Housing; 76% of households had telephone service. I was actually more interested in some of the other data found on the same table relating to “selected equipment” for households in Jackson:
Washing machine: 62% (of these, 13% had only a “wringer or spinner”)
Car: 77% had at least one
Air conditioning: 30% (!!); only 5% of Jackson homes had central air
TV: 88% had at least one
Radio: 89% had at least one
Those air conditioning numbers are really giving me second thoughts about the time travel I’ve been planning.
It does remind me, however, about when I first moved to Jackson and lived in an apartment in the historic Belhaven area. My apartment had window units, and my mother was just shocked about this. I drove her past Eudora Welty’s house on Pinehurst, with the window unit hanging out of the living room window up front. I told my mother that if window units were good enough for Miss Welty, they were good enough for me!
Speaking of, if you come to Jackson, you should tour the Eudora Welty House. You’ll learn that Miss Welty didn’t like air conditioning and that the living room’s unit was the only one in the house. (The house now has central air, so don’t worry, Mom.)