and Betty and their first Radio-Phonograph, 1949
My parents, Axel and Betty Boilesen, were married on August
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 (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
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
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 have the 'original'
Radio-Phonograph and can listen to our 45 rpms
Our new Magnavox Stereo c. 1962