& Betty's First Radio-Phonograph
Memories of the Phonograph
Betty and their first Radio-Phonograph, 1949
By Doug Boilesen
My parents, Axel and Betty Boilesen, were married on August 25,
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 by categories.
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 account.
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
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
Radio and Phono entries in Daily Expenses, December 1948,
National Family Budget Book
"Radio wire, etc.", "Freight on Radio &
Phono", and "Records" expenses, January 1949,
National Family Budget Book
Some construction of Radio/Phonograph cabinet expenses,
March 1949, National Family Budget Book
More construction of Radio/Phonograph cabinet expenses,
April 1949, National Family Budget Book
Besides capturing detailed daily expenses there
are other interesting notes in these Budget books. For example,
on the first page of their 1950 Easy-Way Personal and Home
Budget and Income Tax Record book Axel and Betty each guessed
the weight of their first baby, due in May 1950, and a prediction
of its sex (both predicted a "Boy"). Two potential names
were also identified: Douglas Barr Boilesen if it was a boy and
Beverly Ann if it was a girl.Both were right: It was a boy, 7
lbs 15 oz. (Betty's guess was 1 oz. off).
Family photographs include the 1950 Radio-Phonograph constructed
by Dad and the television added to the living room circa 1953.My
theory is that the purchase of this Radio-Phonograph was required
before my arrival since I would be born in May of 1950 and phonographs
and records would become essential for my arrow of time
and life-long interest in Phonographia.
Television at our "H" Street apartment
Radio-Phonograph at our "Lyncrest"
December 1959 - We still had the 'original'
Radio-Phonograph and could listen to our 45 rpms
Our new Magnavox Stereo c. 1962