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Guide to the Brooklyn Navy Yard oral history collection ARC.003

Brooklyn Historical Society
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Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Amy Lau, Mary Mann, Aliki Caloyeras, and Margaret Fraser

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on  , September 3, 2020
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

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Oral History Interview with Ida Pollack and Sylvia Everitt, April 24, 2008

Biographical / Historical

Ida Pollack (1922- ) grew up in the "Coops" or the United Workers Cooperative Colony, a predominantly Jewish and communist leaning housing cooperative built during the 1920s. She briefly attended Brooklyn College, but left to begin working, initially for a greeting card factory, then for Gimbels department store and eventually as a welder at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Pollack was very active in political groups through her life, including the Young Communist League and the Local 22 of the Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America (IUMSWA). Sylvia Honigman Everitt (1921- ) was born on the Lower East Side but grew up in the Bronx in a Jewish family. Her father was a furrier. Everitt began working at the Navy Yard in 1942 after she graduated from Brooklyn College. She met her husband while working at the Navy Yard. Shortly after, he was drafted into the army and died in Germany just after the War ended.

Scope and Contents

During their interview, Ida Pollack (1922- ) and Sylvia Honigman Everitt (1921- ) share stories about growing up in the Bronx and working together as welders at the Navy Yard. The two women discuss their long commute, socializing on Sands Street, union involvement and antagonism towards union organizers, uniforms, wages and working conditions. Pollack mentions getting a foot injury when a coated rod used for fusing metal accidentally dropped onto her shoe. She also discusses having to sign a loyalty oath, which was likely due to her involvement in radical political organizations. Both women discuss what it felt like to be a woman working at the Navy Yard and having to leave at the end of WWII. Also present at the time of the interview were Al Kolkin, Judy Kaplan (the daughter of Al Kolkin and Everitt and Honigman's good friend Lucy Kolkin) and Penny Lathars (Ida Pollack's daughter). Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan, Jennifer Egan and Daniella Romano.

Conditions Governing Access

This interview can be accessed onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and online at the Oral History Portal.

Subject Names

  • Everitt, Sylvia Honigman

Subject Organizations

  • New York Naval Shipyard

Subject Topics

  • Communism
  • Communists
  • Family life
  • Judaism
  • Labor unions -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Shipbuilding -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Women welders
  • Shipyards -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Women -x Employment -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • World War, 1939-1945

Subject Places

  • Sands Street (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Bronx (New York, N.Y.)