In 1950, the majority of working women were secretaries. Attaining an office job usually required attending secretarial school, where young women were trained in the essential tools necessary for clerical work, including dictation, typing, filing, and office etiquette. Fewer than 10 percent of women attended college in the 1950s and ’60s, meaning that their career options were extremely limited.
Finding a position in a high-end office was a dream career for many working women of the time, but only candidates with specific qualifications made it this far. This 1959 personality quiz, from the Secretarial Training Program in Waco, Texas illuminates what qualities were valued in a successful stenographer: