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  • Photographs taken in 1972 for a project titled

K is for Keypuncher Operator

Does anyone remember the key-punch operator? They were the people who used to spend their workdays punching holes in cards to store information. The punched cards were then fed into mechanical devices such as adding machines and tabulators that read the keyed information. This process, which was limited and not always reliable, was how data were entered before the advent of computers. As a photographer on this project I had an unlimited supply of female keypunch operators; In 1972 over 95% of all keypunch operators were female. And the job was not highly respected in society. When interviewed by local media after returning home to attend her high school reunion, when asked why she left town to become a singer, Janis Joplin replied…”Well man… it’s better than being a keypunch operator.”

Adapted from

Susan Soccio, Keypunch Operator

Syracuse, New York 1972

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