Bonus introduction by George Kupczak of the AT&T Archives and History Center
The "Spirit of Communications" statue was considered, for part of the 20th century, to be an iconic part of the New York City landscape. Situated on the top of the AT&T Headquarters at 195 Broadway, it towered over lower Manhattan from 1916 to 1983, and its image appeared on the covers of millions of telephone books for decades.
Originally titled "Genius of Electricity" and later also nicknamed the "Golden Boy", the 28-foot-high statue was the masterwork of sculptor Evelyn Beatrice Longman. Her other highest-profile work was the ancillary sculptures for the Lincoln Memorial (architectural wreaths, eagles, and the like).
This film documents the statue's history and quite glorified scenes of its restoration, especially the re-gold-leafing process. At that point, the new headquarters for AT&T were being built at 560 Madison, the "Chippendale" building designed by Philip Johnson. Johnson designed an alcove in the seven-story lobby specifically for the placement of the statue.
Today, companies rarely use iconic artwork or sculpture as branding — Golden Boy is, in some ways, a conceptual relic, though a very pretty one. Since being moved in 2009, it lives at AT&T's corporate headquarters in Dallas, Texas.
Footage courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ