and Betty and their first Radio-Phonograph, 1949
By Doug Boilesen 2018
My parents, Axel and Betty Boilesen, were
married on August 25, 1946.
In October 1946 they officially began managing
their new household by entering all expenses in annual budget
books which I recently reviewed for the years 1946 to 1950.
These books detail expendures for each month and provide summaries
For me their book-keeping is special because
they are my parents but also because they micro-document the
economic life of a newly married couple in post-War Lincoln,
Nebraska. Axel was going to school on the GI Bill and receiving
$105.00 from the government each month and Betty was working
and depositing around $150 each month (c. 1949) into their joint
Reviewing their daily expenses and being
a Friend of the Phonograph my eye quickly focused on
entries related to their purchase of a phonograph and radio
in December 1948: Radio $110.75; Phono $37.43; January 1949:
"Freight on Radio & Phono of $4.05", "Radio
wire, etc., $.42" and "Records $5.51."
After purchasing the radio and phonograph
Axel built a cabinet for the components which required the purchase
in March 1949 of a drill, bits, saw & screws $5.50, wood
for the Radio $17.50 and other expenses listed as "Labor?
on Radio $7.00, Screen for Radio $.40, angle irons for Radio
$.68, screen & paint for Radio $.94."
In April 1949 more Radio construction expenses:
"Pressed board for Radio $.40, Slides for Radio $1.00,
Brackets for radio $.60, Radio Knobs $3.70." In March 1950
there is an entry for a Radio Speaker $1.50. In April 1950,
Radio Wire $.32. In August 1950, Records $2.50
When you add up these numbers you know that
the Radio-Phonograph was clearly a major purchase. Consider
that their "Rent" for the month was $30.00, "Groceries"
$26.00 (Dec 1948) and total expenses that averaged about $$215
per month. Total household expenses from Jan 1948 to Jan 1949
(12 months) was recorded in their "National Family Budget
Book" as "$2620.11 (clothing included)."
I'm sure Axel calculated how much he hoped
to save by building the cabinet himself and it took some time.
But in the end the goal was achieved: a modern Radio-Phonograph
had entered our home and would be waiting for me when I was
born the following year.
The Radio-Phonograph at our
"H" Street apartment, December 1952