Joni Evans, formerly of the publishing world, has written a terrific little piece in the New York Times Jobs section of the good ol’ days in publishing.
Remember typewriters? Rolodexes? Carbon paper? Wite-Out®? Take a trip down memory lane to the early 1980s, before the advent of the PC, iPhones, and e-mail. Says Evans of her early life:
I started out at William Morrow as a “manuscript girl” — a promising title in the ’70s — reading everything that came into the office and distributing it to the correct editor, copy editor, proofreader, art director or sales manager. I was buried in paper: onion skin carbon paper, three-ply message pads, and manuscripts bound by three-ring binders or stuffed into oatmeal boxes.
I remember reading when Carolyn Chute submitted her manuscript The Beans of Egypt, Maine, back in the early 80s, she submitted it in an empty diaper box because she’d never heard of manuscript boxes. Do manuscript boxes still exist? Or have they gone the way of the IBM Selectric? I learned to type on one of those beasts.
Hey look what I found! A picture from an old class trip! I wonder what those guys are up to today?