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Guide to the New York City Immigrant Labor History Project Oral History Collection OH.014

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2596

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Megan O'Shea, Jennifer Gargiulo, and Victoria Messana

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on March 23, 2021
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Updated by Kelly Haydon to reflect the incorporation of digital objects streamed through the finding aid Edited by Nic Caldwell to update rights information Updated by Megan O’Shea to correct language around descriptions of race, religious identity, undocumented immigration, women’s work, slavery and to correct grammatical errors  , June 2018 , October 2019 , March 2021

Descriptive Summary

Creator - dnr: Gutman, Herbert G. (Herbert George), 1928-1985
Title: New York City Immigrant Labor History Project Oral History Collection
Dates [inclusive]: 1972-1976, undated
Abstract: The New York City Immigrant Labor History Project was led by Herbert Gutman, a professor of history at the City College of New York (CCNY), between 1972 and 1976. The project sought to reexamine immigrants' and migrants' patterns of cultural adaptation to urban and industrial life in the early 20th century in order to challenge the prevailing theories in social history at the time. The collection consists of 222 interviews with Eastern European, Irish, Italian, Russian, Scandinavian, and West Indian immigrants and Black and Puerto Rican migrants, most of whom settled in New York, New York between between 1900 and 1930. Topics discussed in the interviews include education, childhood, and early life in the narrators' countries and states of origin; arrival at Ellis Island and first impressions of New York City; assimilation; women's roles in the workforce and in the household; courtship, marriage, and family life; processes of acquiring and retaining work; job responsibilities, wages, and working conditions; ethnic and racial makeup of different workforces, factories, and shops; labor unions and organizing in different industries; ethnic and racial relations in the community and the workplace; living conditions in different neighborhoods in New York City; politics; leisure activities; and religion.
Quantity: 41.3 Linear Feet in 99 manuscript boxes, 1 record carton, 1 cassette box, and 1 CD box.
Quantity: 495 Reels
Quantity: 12 audiocassettes
Quantity: 222 interviews
Language: Materials are in English, with Italian, Spanish, and Yiddish spoken in a small number of interviews.
Call Phrase: OH.014
Sponsor: Processing funded by a grant from the New York State Documentary Heritage Program.