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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
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630
tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu


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 July 24, 2018
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.   , June 2018

Container List

New York City Immigrant Labor History Project

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 1-2 (Access cassette) Abrams, Mary and Isidore Catchen: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Mary Abrams was born near Minsk, Russia. Her father immigrated to the United States in 1907. Abrams, her stepmother, and her five siblings followed in 1910. Her family lived on Henry Street in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York and later moved to the Bronx, New York. She worked as a draper before opening a dry goods store with her husband in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan. She had two children.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Karen Kearns at Mary Abrams' home in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York on April 13, 1973. There is a third person, identified as Isidore Catchen, who participates in the interview. The interview covers Abrams' childhood in New York, New York; her education; her working life; and her marriage. Abrams recalls her childhood in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, including attending school and working in a factory when she was not in school. She recounts vacations with her family outside of New York City during the summers. She describes her work as a draper in a dress shop. She discusses her husband's ability to save money due to his good salary as a printer and their ownership of a dry goods store in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan. She describes their business, including the types of goods they sold; the division of labor between herself and her husband; and the ethnic groups that constituted their customers. She discusses her children's education and their desire for independence. Other topics include maintaining a kosher house to please her father and not having enough time for leisure activities because of her business.


1973 April 13
Box: 2 Reel : 4a - 4b (Master reel [31142054874428])
Box: 3 Reel : 4c - 4d (Master reel [31142054874436])
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Abrams, Mary and Isidore Catchen: Transcript and Index
1973 April 13
Box: 101 Cd : ref6 (Access cd [31142054875417]) Accent, Sedrkk

Biographical Note

Sedrkk Accent was born in Saint Kitts and Nevis. He was a Seventh-Day Adventist and the youngest of his sisters and brothers. He immigrated to the United States on August 2, 1963. He married twice and worked as boxer before working as a coal trimmer and fireman aboard various ships.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Ron Walker on April 25, 1973 at an unknown location. This interview covers Sedrkk Accent's life in Saint Kitts; his work as a boxer and later, a coal trimmer and fireman aboard ships; and his eventual immigration to the United States in 1963. Accent begins by recounting his career as a boxer and how he enjoyed it. He notes that while his first wife was very supportive of his career, often sitting in the front row during many of his matches, his second wife held little love for the sport and his involvement with it. He describes the infidelity of his first wife; the tempestuous nature of their relationship; his discovery of her affair with a local police officer; and the violent dissolution of their marriage. Accent describes his career as both a trimmer and a fireman aboard ships that sailed to a variety of locations including England, Italy, Greece, Canada, the Netherlands, Argentina, and Santo Domingo. He recounts switching from trimmer to fireman because the latter was a less labor intensive job. Despite admitting that he was not the most diligent Seventh-Day Adventist, he spends a good portion of the interview explaining the philosophy of his religion including his view of God as merciful and wonderful; the concept of doing the right thing to each and every human being; the need to lend a helping hand wherever it was needed; and the importance of upholding the Sabbath.

See also: Council Workshop for Senior Citizens I.

Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Seventh-Day Adventist men -- Religious life.


1973 April 25
Box: 3 Reel : 6a - 6b (Master reel [31142054874436])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 3a-3b (Access cassette) Altman, Yetta: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Yetta Altman was born in Poland around 1905. She immigrated to the United States in 1917 and lived in New York, New York. She worked as a dressmaker and was an active member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Laurie Leifer at the offices of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) in Manhattan, New York on an unspecified date. The interview covers Yetta Altman's childhood in Poland, her working life in the United States (US), and her union activity. Altman describes her childhood in Poland, recounting a pogrom that took place in the area where her family lived and the fact that her mother would lock her in the house to protect her from anti-Semitic violence. She discusses the differences in religious observance between Jews in Poland and in the US. She recalls working in different factories, including the Albert Waist Company, and describes how the ILGWU would often send workers into non-union shops in order to unionize them. She recalls strikes in which she participated, including one at which she was arrested for pinching a strikebreaker. Altman describes her happiness in being able to bring her mother and younger siblings over to the US. She discusses her mother's reactions to life in New York City and her pleasure in having running water in their apartment.


Undated
Box: 86 Reel : 850a - 850b (Master reel [31142054875268])
Box: 87 Reel : 850c (Master reel [31142054875276])
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Altman, Yetta: Summary
Undated
Box: 101 Cd : ref9 (Access cd [31142054875417]) Artler, Bea (Gitlin): Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Bea (Gitlin) Artler was born in Poland and immigrated to the United States with her family as a young child. She was one of five children. After immigrating, the family initially stayed with Artler's uncle before moving to Brooklyn, New York, where her father opened a butcher shop. Artler attended school until she was fourteen, moving into the labor force as soon as she was able. She worked predominantly in the garment district, making both children's and ladies' dresses, until shortly after her marriage. Work was seasonally based, so Artler spent part of the year unemployed, varying from a month to half of the year. While working in the factories, she became a member of an unspecified union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union) and participated in both social and union activities.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on March 7, 1975 by Louise Mayo at an unknown location. This interview covers Bea (Gitlin) Artler's childhood in Poland; her immigration to the United States as a young child; and her life and work in the garment industry in New York, New York. Artler briefly discusses her childhood in Poland, noting her father's occupation as a butcher, before moving on to describe her memories of her initial years in New York City living in the back of her father's butcher shop. As business declined in their initial location, Artler recalls the way in which her family moved throughout the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. Artler specifically notes that they moved to better themselves, whether through better rent or living arrangements. She briefly describes her three years of school, placing more emphasis on the various jobs she held in garment factories making feather hat ornaments, children's dresses, and the fronts of ladies' dresses. She describes the conditions of the factories in which she worked as being acceptable, neither exceptionally dirty or crowded. She mentions the worker demographic as being split between Italians and Jews and that the two groups got along well within the workspace. She notes the delineation of work between men, women, and children and the tension between the manager and the employees due to his extravagant lifestyle. Artler notes that while she originally gave all of her wages to her parents in an effort to augment the household's income, she eventually contested this agreement and kept more of the money she earned. She discusses her membership in an unspecified union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union) and her participation in strikes for higher wages, shorter work weeks, and greater job security, all of which the union eventually succeeded in acquiring. She recounts participating in union sponsored social events in order to stay informed about her community and going to movies and shows with the circle of friends that she made through the union.


1975 March 7
Box: 99 Reel : 982b (Master reel [31142054875391])
Box: 1 Folder : 28 Artler, Bea (Gitlin): Summary
1975 March 7
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 4a-4b, 5 (Access cassette) Auerbach, Fanny: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Fannie Auerbach was born in Romania in 1899. She immigrated to the United States in 1913. She worked as a garment worker and made children's clothing and house dresses. She married in 1926 or 1928 and had four children.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Rona Weiss on April 18, 1973 at Fannie Auerbach's apartment on First Avenue in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. The interview covers Auerbach's childhood in Romania, her early experiences in the United States (US), her work in garment factories, and her home life. Auerbach discusses living with an aunt in Romania after her mother immigrated to the US; her aunt mistreating her; listening to her cousins' lessons with a local rabbi; teaching herself to read Hebrew; and attempting to live with another aunt. She describes living with her mother and five siblings in a three room apartment on Allen Street in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan. She discusses her first jobs in factories in the Lower East Side, including learning to use different sewing machines; making children's dresses and house dresses; encountering labor unions during a work stoppage; and working her way up in pay as she gained more experience. She recalls attending Broadway shows and spending the summers in Monticello, New York. She discusses her marriage, including the first time she met her husband; their courtship and early marriage; and their children.


1973 April 18
Box: 76 Reel : 785a - 785c (Master reel [31142054875169])
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Auerbach, Fanny: Transcript and Summary
1973 April 18
Box: 101 Cd : ref12, ref12a-b (Access cd [31142054875417]) Bagno, Morris

Biographical Note

Morris Bagno was born in a town near the Vistula River in Poland (likely Włocławek). His father worked in the timber industry and eventually established his own business. Bagno was one of nine children, with four brothers and four sisters, few of whom left home. He met and married his wife in England in 1917. He worked in a variety of women's garment factories in New York, New York and was an active member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Janice Albert. The date and location are unknown. This interview covers Morris Bagno's childhood in Poland; his immigration to various European countries before, during, and after World War I; his immigration to Canada and the United States (US); and his life and work in the garment industry in New York and California. Bagno begins by describing his childhood in Poland, noting that the industry in his town was much smaller than in the cities that he would encounter in the US. He explains that he received the equivalent of a college education at his local yeshiva while working with his father in the timber industry. He describes his decision to leave Poland in 1912 in order to avoid conscription into the army and to escape his father's orthodox Judaism. He recalls his immigration to various countries in which he lived including England, Belgium, Denmark, and Canada before his immigration to the US in 1920. He recounts the awe he felt at seeing skyscrapers upon his arrival in New York City, which formed a stark contrast to the rural town where he grew up. He recounts working with his uncle for a short time before deciding to find a job on his own and his his uncle's belief that he was indebted to and dependent upon him. He recalls joining the local chapter of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, which he remarked was special for its inclusion of women as members and the fact that women could hold high positions within the union leadership. He discusses his progression from a tailor to union delegate to supervisor and liaison between workers and employers. He mentions that he made sure to keep his home life and his work life separate as he did not want his wife becoming involved in union affairs or interfering in his affairs. He notes that the passage of the Norris-La Guardia Act in 1932 and the National Labor Relations Act in 1935 mitigated the effects of the Great Depression by preventing lockouts and allowing for unionization. He recalls temporarily relocating to Los Angeles, California in 1949 at the behest of the president of the union in order to deal with the rising tension in one of the locals between the Social Democrats faction, of which he was a member, and the Communist faction, who were viewed as dangerous to the union.


Undated
Box: 3 Reel : 12a (Master reel [31142054874436])
Box: 4 Reel : 12b - 12d (Master reel [31142054874444])
Box: 101 Cd : ref14, ref14a-d (Access cd [31142054875417]) Belson, Abraham

Biographical Note

Abraham Belson was born in a small town near Minsk, Russia. He immigrated to the United States during the first decade of the 20th century and married in 1912. He worked as a shoemaker and later moved into garment piecework. He was an active member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Local 1 and Local 17.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Francis Facciolo on February 26 and March 12, 1975. The location is unknown. This interview covers Abraham Belson's childhood in Russia; his immigration to the United States (US); and his life and work in the garment industry in Massachusetts and New York. Belson begins by describing part of his father's history, recounting a time when the Russian government forced the Jewish population to convert to a religion other than Judaism and his father's refusal and subsequent draft into the army for fifteen years. Belson recounts his membership in an unspecified Jewish club (likely the General Jewish Labour Bund of Lithuania, Poland and Russia) aligned against the czar and the feeling that he had to work against an authority that was not concerned with his well-being. He describes immigrating to the US; living briefly in Massachusetts; and moving to New York City where his family and many friends from his hometown lived. He spends the rest of the interview focused on the happenings of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU), which he joined in 1907. He mentions an unsuccessful strike in 1907 that lasted 13 weeks, resulting in landlords evicting families from their homes when they were unable to pay rent and the fact that they had to beg in the streets until the union was forced to compromise. He explains that the union reorganized between 1907 and 1910 and rallied for its first large general strike in 1910. Belson describes the camaraderie that he felt with his fellow union members; the union events they attended together; and the picnics and other outings they had during their free time. He notes that this was common in several tight-knit communities in Brooklyn, Bronxville, and other parts of New York that were populated predominantly by ILGWU members. He recalls becoming a union officer in 1949, emphasizing that this position required that he earn the respect of both workers and management in order to be elected and reelected every year. Belson describes how the conditions of the workplace for garment workers improved due to union influence, noting better wages, better job hours, more job security, and the fact that workers were no longer required to rent their own machines in order to work. He shares an anecdote about a strike in Newark, New Jersey that resulted in a prolonged stalemate between management and the union and how he and other union members strongarmed the management to cooperate with the union liaison.

Antisemitism |z Russia |x History |y 20th century.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 17 (New York, N.Y.)Allgemeyner Idisher arbayṭerbund in Liṭa, Poylen un RuslandInternational Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 1 (New York, N.Y.)


1975 February 26 and March 12
Box: 4 Reel : 14a - 14b (Master reel [31142054874444])
Box: 5 Reel : 14c - 14f (Master reel [31142054874451])
Box: Missing Bialon, Stella: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Stella Bialon was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1895. She attended an unspecified school in Europe. She immigrated to the United States (US) in 1910, sending for her future husband shortly after she immigrated. She worked in the garment industry.

Mr. Bialon's first name is unknown. He was a member of an unspecified hatters' union and an unspecified millinery trade union in the US and a member of a Socialist union in Europe.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Gary Tilzer at the Workmen's Circle Home for the Aged in the Bronx, New York during the spring of 1975. The audio recording for this interview is missing. This interview covers Stella Bialon's life in Poland; her immigration to the United States (US); and her husband's involvement in both an unspecified hatters' union and an unspecified millinery trade union. Bialon describes her childhood in Europe, noting that her family's wealth enabled her to attend school. She discusses her parents' opposition to her marriage because of the economic disparity between herself and her husband. She recounts that her brother owned a garment business in Manhattan, New York. She explains that she came to the US in 1910 originally on a three month trip but stayed there permanently, later sending for her husband. She describes her husband's dedication to Socialism; his position as secretary and later chairman of an unspecified millinery trade union; the dishonest business practices utilized by employers to monopolize both the garment industry and its workers; and the contrast in freedom of speech between Poland and the US.

1975
Box: 1 Folder : 92 Bialon, Stella: Index
1975
Box: 101 Cd : ref16, ref16a (Access cd [31142054875417]) Bolton, Ethel

Biographical Note

Ethel Bolton was born on August 27, 1893 in New Malden, England. Under the care of a stewardess, she immigrated to the United States in 1901. She graduated from grammar school in Elizabeth, New Jersey. She worked as a caretaker for young children and as a switchboard operator and in other capacities at advertising agencies. She married in 1922.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Scott Weir on May 9 and June 10, 1974 at the Florence Nightingale Nursing Home in the East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. This interview covers Ethel Bolton's childhood in England; her immigration to the United States (US) in 1901; and her life and work in New Jersey and New York. Topics regarding Bolton's childhood in England include her mother's death when Bolton was five years old; the subsequent immigration of her father and older siblings to the US while she remained in England with her grandfather; and her father's second marriage in the US. Bolton describes her father's work as a printer, noting that he held various jobs at newspaper companies from the Reynolds's Weekly Newspaper in London, England to the  New York Daily News and the  Wall Street Journal in New York. She explains that he was an active member of Typographical #6 of the International Typographical Union and was involved in various strikes which resulted in food rationing for his family. Bolton describes her dislike for her stepmother, recalling that she often faked illness so that Bolton was required to stay home from school to care for her and attributes the various relocations between New York and New Jersey to her stepmother's antagonism towards neighbors and local ministers.

Bolton explains that she married Joe Bolton in 1922 after an extended courtship due to her desire to remain single and avoid the misery she saw her married friends enduring. She recounts adopting his teenage children as her own. She discusses the fact that her husband tended to treat her as if she were a child due to the age gap between them and that she made a point of following his rules except in voting. She briefly recounts working as a caretaker for young children before working as a switchboard operator at two advertising agencies, the Geland Sumner Company and the Kudner Agency. At Kudner, she describes her work in the checking department, reviewing advertisements from Nebraska to Texas. She notes that the companies she worked for treated her extremely well, giving her bonuses at the end of the month, hosting holiday parties, and paying for a "crying towel" party when all of the employees over sixty-five were forced to retire. She describes some of the jobs her husband held, which included a position at the Dictaphone Company; executive secretary at an unspecified advertising club; and a managerial position at the Empire State Building, granted to him by Alfred Smith when Bolton was unemployed during the Great Depression. Other topics include her sister's missionary work in Africa; parts of her husband's history; her faith and involvement with the Church of Truth at Carnegie Hall in the Midtown neighborhood of Manhattan.

English |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.
Advertising agencies -- New York (State) -- New York.
International Typographical Union. Local 6 (New York, N.Y.)


1974 May 9 and June 10
Box: 5 Reel : 16a (Master reel [31142054874451])
Box: 6 Reel : 16b - 16e (Master reel [31142054874469])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 104 (Access cassette) Bottman, Katy: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Katy Bottman was born in Romania in 1902. She immigrated to the United States (US) in 1914. She lived with a cousin in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and worked in his tailoring shop, before moving to Cleveland, Ohio. In Cleveland she met her husband, who owned a dress factory, and they married in 1917. They divorced in 1937 and Bottman moved to the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. After moving to New York, Bottman remarried and continued working in the garment industry. She was a member of an unspecified garment workers' union.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on March 5, 1975 by Louise Mayo at an unspecified location. Topics include Katy Bottman's family in Romania; her experiences in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; her work in Cleveland, Ohio; her work in New York, New York; her education; and her views on labor unions. She recalls her family in Romania, including her father's work as a businessman; the fact that her mother did not work outside of the home; and her family's wealth. She discusses her early life in the United States (US), including living with her cousin in Pittsburgh and working in his custom tailoring shop; having to hide from inspectors because she was an underage worker; and being perceived as supportive of union members during strikes, while she worked at home for her cousin. Bottman recalls her experiences in Cleveland, including meeting and marrying her husband; keeping house rather than working; and being referred to as a baby by the other wives in the community because of her age. She recounts her husband opening his own dress factory, where he made over 200 dollars a week and employed more than 30 people.

Bottman discusses her experiences in New York, including moving to the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn after her divorce; finding work as a draper and finisher; enjoying piecework over week work because she was a fast worker; marrying her second husband, who owned a laundry and tailoring shop; and fighting with him to gain his permission to work outside of the house. She recalls that while men were often educated, women were not; that younger workers learned from the older workers who had been educated in Europe; and that one's position within the factory was partially determined by their education. She recalls feeling proud that she taught herself to read and write English and feeling disappointed that she did not retain much of her Romanian language skills.

Bottman discusses her views on labor unions, specifically that she would not have joined one if her job had not required it, and her belief that fast workers did not need unions to protect their jobs but that slow workers did. She discusses unions to which she belonged in Cleveland and New York, but does not specify to which union or local she belonged.

Pittsburgh (Pa.) |x Social conditions |y 20th century.
Cleveland (Ohio) |x Economic conditions |y 20th century.


1975 March 5
Box: 87 Reel : 852a - 852b (Master reel [31142054875276])
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Bottman, Katy: Summary
1975 March 5
Box: 101 Cd : ref18 (Access cd [31142054875417]) Brackett, Mary (Molly)

Biographical Note

Mary (Molly) Brackett was born on May 1, 1896 in Millvale, Ireland. She was one of five girls and one boy. She immigrated to the United States (US) when she was eighteen years old, sailing from Queenstown, Ireland to Ellis Island, New York. Once in the US, Brackett moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she earned her nursing degree before returning to New York City to work as a baby nurse for the children of prominent families. Her husband, Jim Brackett, served as a field doctor during World War I (WWI) and worked as a train engineer after the war. They married during WWI.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by John Davenport on May 10, 1974 in the Mary Manning Walsh Nursing Home in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. This interview covers Mary Brackett's childhood in Ireland; her immigration to the United States (US); and her life and work as a baby nurse in New York City. Brackett discusses her early years in Ireland, briefly mentioning her education at Presentation Convent School. Other topics from her childhood include the role of the local priest as an educational, moral, and political leader in the community; the strict morality that he conveyed to his congregation; and his tendency to take the side of the Irish when arbitrating disputes between English authorities and the local Irish population. Brackett mentions the relationship between the Quakers and the Catholics in Ireland, noting that many of the Quaker children attended Catholic schools though they did not participate in their more religious aspects. She discusses the history of her grandfather's life, including his eviction from his farm during the Great Famine (1845-1852) and his time as a woodland ranger.

Brackett discusses moving to the US as a means of bettering herself, pursuing her nursing degree through Magee Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before moving to New York. She describes her work as the baby nurse for the children of the Bentley family, who maintained a large household on West End Avenue in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan. Brackett notes that she and many of the other staff members who cared for the children were treated like family by their employers, often eating and traveling with them. She emphasizes how she kept in touch with the family even when they moved to Larchmont, New York and how she attended one daughter's wedding. She explains that she moved on to care for the children of comedian Fanny Brice, who also treated her as an equal.

Brackett describes how she met her husband, Jim Brackett, during the early years of World War I (WWI), and talks of the two children they had together. She notes that he worked as a train engineer after WWI, on both the Long Island Railroad and the New York City subway, and was a member of the Transportation Workers Union. Other topics include other family members' immigrations to the US; her sister's education; and her initial reaction to New York City.

See also: Life Before Immigration or Migration.


1974 May 10
Box: 6 Reel : 18a (Master reel [31142054874469])
Box: 7 Reel : 18b (Master reel [31142054874477])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 75b-c, 76, 76a-b, 77 (Access cassette) Brawer, Morris: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Morris Brawer was born in 1887 in Polish Galicia. He had nine siblings, all of whom died in World War I and World War II. His father was a businessman. Brawer immigrated to Germany in 1911 in order to avoid conscription into the Polish Army, and immigrated to the United States (US) in 1912. After his immigration he worked in different industries, and owned embroidery shops for a brief time. He was a member of Local 1 of an unspecified waiters' union (likely the Dining Room Employees Local 1).

Scope and Content Note

The interview with Morris Brawer was conducted by Zelda Huhnenberg on March 16 and March 24, 1974 at an unknown location. Both Brawer and Huhnenberg use Yiddish terms throughout the interview with little explanation of their meaning. Topics include Brawer's childhood and family; his work experience; his views on unions, politics, religion, and race; and his romantic relationships. Brawer discusses his childhood in Polish Galicia, including his father's work in real estate and the fact that he was emotionally absent from his family; the Yiddish songs his mother would sing to him; his siblings, all of whom died in World War I and World War II; and his introduction to the Zionist movement. He discusses the anti-Semitism of the working class in Galicia; the segregation of Jews in the community; and his lack of education there. He describes his attempts to avoid the conscription into the Polish Army, including feigning a limp and bribing doctors to say he was injured; and immigrating to Germany in 1911 and to the United States (US) in 1912. He recalls his time in Germany, including working in a kosher grocery store; having trouble finding work because he couldn't speak German; and wasting a majority of his money on entertainment. Brawer recalls his life shortly after his immigration to the US, including the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society assisting with his entrance into the country; and his trouble finding work because he had no skills. He discusses working for Jewish managers in non-union restaurants; owning failed embroidery factories; and working as a salesman in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.

Brawer discusses his social and political ideologies, including his disagreement with the US Constitution regarding equal rights and his belief that criminal proceedings should rely on majority rule. He recalls his enrollment in the Democratic Party despite his dislike of liberals, progressives, and Socialists, and the fact that he was not interested in politics. He discusses his opinions on labor unions, in particular that they take advantage of consumers and employers; force workers to join if they want a job; and allow workers to be disrespectful to both employers and consumers.st.

Zionism and Judaism.
Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society of America


1974 March 16 and 24 and May 5, 9, and 15
Box: 76 Reel : 787a (Master reel [31142054875169])
Box: 77 Reel : 787b - 787f (Master reel [31142054875177])
Box: 78 Reel : 787g - 787k (Master reel [31142054875185])
Box: 79 Reel : 787l (Master reel [31142054875193])
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Brawer, Morris: Transcript and Summary
1974 March 16 and March 24
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 6a-6b, 7 (Access cassette) Brier, Yetta: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Yetta Brier was born on April 12, 1896 near Kolomea, Austria-Hungary and was one of ten children. Her family produced sunflower oil. She immigrated to the United States in 1913. She lived on Rivington Street in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York and later moved to the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. She worked as a seamstress and a draper. She married and had one daughter, who died in 1944 when she was 20 years old. Her husband died in 1967.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Rona Weiss on April 11, 1973 at Yetta Brier's home in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. One of Brier's brothers, who is not identified, participates in the interview. The middle of the interview was not recorded. The interview covers Brier's early life in Austria-Hungary, her immigration to the United States (US), her working life, and her family.

Brier recounts her childhood in the Galicia region of Austria-Hungary, including a fire that destroyed her family's house and business when she was ten years old; her education; and her apprenticeship to a dressmaker. She recalls being dissatisfied with her first apprenticeship and moving to Kolomea to learn pattern making. She recounts starting her own dressmaking business and notes that disagreements with customers led her to think about immigrating to the US. She describes her immigration to the US. and her impressions of New York City, including being scared to walk alone to a job on Bleecker Street in lower Manhattan. She recounts meeting her husband and marrying him in order to gain independence from her older brother. She describes their first apartment together; their three boarders; and her management of the household. She discusses her husband's work as a waiter; different jobs he held in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan; his ownership and management of a restaurant on Brook Avenue in the Bronx; and a liquor store they owned. She discusses her work as a draper and her decision to become an operator as they seemed to have fun while they worked. She recounts the birth of her daughter and her husband's embarrassment over it and his refusal to discuss her pregnancy or birth with anyone. She discusses the death of her daughter; her depression as a result of it; and shock treatments she received as a result of her depression. She recounts being not as dedicated to work after her daughter's death and her supervisor's lenience with her during this period.

Other topics include Brier's experiences during the Great Depression; her participation in fundraising for World War I refugees; her membership in the Labor Zionist Club; and descriptions of the Bronx and the Lower East Side in the 1910s and 1920s.

Depression in women |v Anecdotes.
Children |x Death |x Psychological aspects.
Childbirth |z New York (State) |z New York.


1973 April 11
Box: 79 Reel : 789a - 789c (Master reel [31142054875193])
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Brier, Yetta: Transcript and Summary
1973 April 11
Box: 101 Cd : ref21 (Access cd [31142054875417]) Brown, Ernestine

Biographical Note

Ernestine Brown was born in St. George, South Carolina in 1910, the seventh of 19 children. Her early years were spent on a plantation owned and occupied by her extended family, about 350 people. Brown attended school until third grade in St. George, pursuing a few additional years of education after she moved Charleston, South Carolina. After completing the fifth grade, she joined the labor force in order to support her family. She worked various jobs in South Carolina, including dishwasher, line cook, and welder, before moving to New York, New York to find a better living. She lived in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan with her husband, Clarence Brown, and his family while working as a family nurse. She was an active member of her local church and served as an usher.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Shirley Stow on April 26, 1974 at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center in Manhattan, New York. This interview covers Ernestine Brown's childhood in St. George, South Carolina; her migration to New York, New York; and her life and work as family nurse in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. Brown discusses her childhood on a large plantation in St. George, where she helped grow and harvest peas, corn, cotton, and tobacco. She notes that the plantation, granted to the family by the federal government due to her grandmother's Cherokee heritage, spread for miles and isolated them from the surrounding communities. She explains that in order to keep the plantation self-sufficient, many of her family members assumed various roles within the community, with one of her cousins working as the schoolteacher and her great uncle and father working as preachers in the local church. She discusses her grandmother's role as the matriarch of the family. She recounts her move to Charleston, South Carolina, mentioning that she had never interacted with a white person before arriving in the city. She focuses on the stifled interactions between the racial groups in the city, describing the influence of the Jim Crow laws; and the intense scrutiny that black residents faced from white police officers. She describes the differences between the schools in St. George and in Charleston.

Brown describes her move to New York City, where she was reunited with her husband. She discusses her initial impressions of New York City, conveying the security she felt in living there through anecdotes about sleeping on the roof and fire escapes, and keeping her door open at night. Brown recalls how her husband found work through a Civilian Conservation Corps camp, which resulted in his Army service during World War II. She explains that she was wary of her husband when he came back from the Army, having heard stories of other veterans' changed demeanor and behavior. Brown emphasizes the changes in Harlem as a strong black community developed in the wake of white flight. She spends a considerable amount of time noting the differences among the churches in St. George, Charleston, and Harlem, noting that St. George's preachers focused more on serving the community and the preachers in Charleston and Harlem focused on more secular matters. Brown later describes her husband's brief, but serious illness, which resulted in multiple hospital visits before he died at home by her side.


1974 April 26
Box: 7 Reel : 21a - 21b (Master reel [31142054874477])
Box: 101 Cd : ref22 (Access cd [31142054875417]) Buono, Antonio

Biographical Note

Antonio Buono was born in 1915 in the town of Ischia, Italy. He was one of 10 children. He immigrated to the United States (US) in 1934 with his twin brother to join their father, who had previously immigrated in 1902 and became an American citizen in 1930. He settled in Brooklyn, New York where he worked as a longshoreman and was a member of an unspecified union (likely the International Longshoremen's Association).

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Nina Cobb on April 11, 1975 at an unknown locatione interviewer, date, and location of this interview are unknown. Antonio Buono and an unidentified friend frequently converse in Italian during the interview. This interview covers Buono's childhood in Italy; his immigration to the United States (US) in 1934; and his life and work as a longshoreman in Brooklyn, New York. Buono begins by describing his childhood on a small farm in Italy, recalling his father's immigration to the US in 1902 and his sporadic visits to Italy. He recounts his and his twin brother's decision to immigrate to the US and join their father in Brooklyn, where Buono worked in a small provisions factory. He recounts his decision to work as a longshoreman because of the flexibility of the work hours and the increase in pay. He recalls that though the job was labor intensive, the fresh air, consistent hours, and waterfront view made the job much more bearable than factory work. He describes how joining an unspecified union (likely the International Longshoremen's Association) in 1940 helped to maintain his wages and hours and explains that there were few strikes during World War II in order to maintain the war effort. Buono describes the relationship among the Italians in Brooklyn, many of whom were longshoremen, and notes that although the immigrants from different parts of Italy could be clannish when they socialized, they would present a united front in the workplace. Other topics include his leisure activities and Italian traditions that were kept alive in the United States.


1975 April 11
Box: 7 Reel : 22a - 22b (Master reel [31142054874477])
Box: 101 Cd : ref24, ref24a-d (Access cd [31142054875417]) Burke, William

Biographical Note

William Burke was born in 1905 into a large family in Abbeyknockmoy, County Galway, Ireland. He attended school through the eighth grade. He immigrated to the United States in 1921 and lived in Boston, Massachusetts for three years before settling permanently in New York, New York. He spent the majority of his career as an employee of the New York City Board of Transportation. Burke was also heavily involved in New York City politics as both an elected official and a party member.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by John Davenport on March 26 and April 2, 1974 at an unknown location. Topics include William Burke's early life, his immigrationto the United States (US), his work for the New York City Board of Transportation, and politics in New York, New York during the early 1930s. Burke briefly discusses his childhood in Ireland, explaining how his family farm was passed down to his father; his brief education; and the emigration of his family from Ireland. Other memories include the influence of the clergy in local government; the destruction of a nearby town by the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force; and and the way in which this contributed to his decision to immigrate. His early recollections of the US include his spur of the moment decision to leave Boston, Massachusetts; finding work in New York City hours after arriving; traveling around the US (including Nebraska and Illinois); and his employment with the New York City Board of Transportation. Within his discussion of his time with the Board of Transportation, there is a detailed discussion about the hierarchy of workers and their mobility within the department; the racial integration of the workforce; the guarantee of 48 hours a week once hired; and his position manning a change booth at the 168th Street subway station.

Burke spends the majority of the interview discussing politics in New York City. He discusses becoming interested in American politics in 1928 after hearing a discussion of politics on the street, and the fact that he first ran and was elected for a position on the Civil Service Council in 1935. He discusses in detail his opinions on Tammany Hall and the Fiorello La Guardia administration, which he compares to Richard Nixon's administration. Burke mentions that he had working relationships with a large number of political figures within the city starting in the early 1930s, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt, James Joseph Hines, George Norris, as well as La Guardia.

See also: Unionization.

Subways |x Employees |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.
New York (N.Y.). Board of Transportation


1974 March 26 and April 2
Box: 8 Reel : 24 (Master reel [31142054874485])
Box: 9 Reel : 24 (Master reel [31142054874493])
Box: 101 Cd : ref25, ref25a-d (Access cd [31142054875417]) Burton, Thomas

Biographical Note

Thomas Burton was born in 1897 in the Potsdam District of St. Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica. He was the youngest of three boys and was raised by his mother's parents. Before leaving Jamaica, Burton spent five years as a carpenter's apprentice. In 1919 he moved to Cuba and then to the United States in 1920. He lived in East Orange, New Jersey; Tarrytown, New York; and New York, New York. He worked as a laborer in multiple foundries across New York State and was a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Local 18 in 1926, where he was secretary between 1963 and 1972.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on December 12 and December 22, 1975 and January 21, 1976 by Jay Facciolo at his home in Thomas Burton's home in Brooklyn, New York. Topics include Burton's life in Jamaica, his immigration to the United States (US), his work as a carpenter, and his union involvement. Burton begins by discussing his early life in Jamaica, including his parents dying when he was very young; his grandparents believing his father was an unfit parent; and Burton's father raising his brothers while Burton was raised by his grandparents. He recalls the educational system in Jamaica; and his attendance at school until he was 14 years old. He discusses his work as a carpenter's apprentice; sharecropping and land distribution on his grandfather's farm; and social activities such as cricket and rounders. His first impressions of the US include his feeling of surprise when he first saw snow; his opinion that people worried less in Jamaica than they did in the US; and the fact that he had no intention of living in the US permanently. While discussing his career, Burton mentions working in foundries before joining the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Local 18 in 1926; and working for the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression. He also discusses racial tensions between carpenters, particularly their disputes when black workers earned equal pay.

United States. Works Progress Administration (N.Y.)


1975 December 12 and December 22, and 1976 January 21
Box: 9 Reel : 25a - 25b (Master reel [31142054874493])
Box: 10 Reel : 25c - 25f (Master reel [31142054874501])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 180, 180a (Access cassette) Callens, Susan

Biographical Note

Susan U. Callens was born in 1921 in Florence, South Carolina. She was the youngest of 12 children. Both of her parents were farmers. She attended a small, country school in South Carolina and, at the time of the interview, was working to attain her high school diploma in New York, New York. After completing grammar school, she worked as both a domestic worker and as a farmer, depending on the season. She moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where she met and married her husband. After World War II, they moved to New York, where they settled in the Corona neighborhood of Queens. They later moved to Brooklyn before settling in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, where they resided at the time of the interview. While in New York, she worked as a domestic worker and later as a nurse's aide. She was a member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 420 Hospital Workers. She had four children, two sons and two daughters.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Scott Weir on April 10, 1974 at the District Council 37 Headquarters in the Lower Manhattan neighborhood of New York. Susan U. Callens speaks very softly throughout the interview. The interview covers Callens's childhood and adolescence in South Carolina; her migration to New York, New York after World War II (WWII); and her work as a domestic worker and nurse's aide. Callens recounts some of her family history, noting her paternal grandfather's ownership of 950 acres of land; his dedication to his children's education; and the struggle over his estate after his death. She recalls her childhood on the family plantation before moving around South Carolina in accordance with her father's sharecropping. Despite recounting several instances of segregation, she states that she never felt directly affected by racial discrimination. She describes her work for a family in South Carolina, noting that she split her time between domestic work and farm work depending on the season. She explains that she moved to North Carolina to pursue work and met and married her husband while there.

Callens recalls deciding to move north after her husband returned from WWII and her initial dislike of New York City due to the congestion and lack of safe play areas for her children. She describes the changes in her husband's behavior after WWII, noting that he was withdrawn for a number of years before he returned to his normal behavior. Callens notes that she was employed as a domestic worker for a number of years before pursuing a career as a nurse's aide at the behest of a doctor for whom she had worked. She emphasizes her and her children's conversion to Catholicism, noting that both she and her father believed in teaching their children the tenets of their faith while letting them make their own decision about whether to join a church. Other topics from her time in New York include anecdotes about her children; her husband's relationship with his family and his Army friends; her husband's occupations; the various neighborhoods she lived in; and her father's deteriorating health.


Undated
Box: 10 Reel : 26a (Master reel [31142054874501])
Box: 11 Reel : 26b (Master reel [31142054874519])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 171a (Access cassette) Campanile, Lily: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Lily Campanile was born in 1915 in Louisville, Illinois and was one of three children. Her parents were born in Sicily, Italy. Her father immigrated to the United States (US) in 1905 and worked as a coal miner. Her mother immigrated to the US in 1911 and worked on the family's farm.

The family moved to Benld, Illinois in 1927 and to Chicago in 1930. Campanile met her husband in Chicago in 1940. They married in 1944 and moved to the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Her husband was born in Bari, Italy. He worked as a construction worker, painter, and longshoreman. They had two daughters.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Nina Cobb and Jay Facciolo on May 16, 1975 at an unspecified location. The interview covers Lily Campanile's parents' background and immigration to the United States (US), her childhood in Illinois, her husband's working life, their marriage and family, her personal life, and members of her extended family. Campanile discusses her father's life in Italy, his immigration to the US, and his work as a coal miner in Illinois. She discusses her mother's childhood in Sicily, her work picking fruit as a child, and her immigration to the US. She describes the ethnic composition of Louisville, Illinois, including the fact that hers was one of two Italian families and that most of the people in the town were Russian. She also describes the ethnic composition of Benld, Illinois, which was mainly Polish and Russian, with her family being part of very small Italian minority. She recounts how she met her husband; their engagement; and their decision to move from Chicago to New York. She discusses his work scraping and painting ships in a Navy yard in New Jersey and his decision to become a longshoreman in order to work closer to home. She discusses which piers he worked on in Brooklyn; the type of cargo he would help load; the unreliable nature of the work; and injuries he sustained at work. She discusses her unhappiness at not having worked outside of the home, due to having to care for her mother as a young woman and then caring for her own children, and the isolation she felt as a result. Other topics include not having time or money for leisure activities and her disappointment in missing out on these things as a young woman; double standards set by her parents for her and her brothers; her daughters' marriages and families; and her living situation at the time of the interview.

An electronic transcript of this interview is also available by request.

Family life issues.


1973 May 16
Box: 87 Reel : 854a - 854b (Master reel [31142054875276])
Box: 88 Reel : 854c (Master reel [31142054875284])
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Campanile, Lily: Index
1973 May 16
Box: 101 Cd : ref28, ref28a (Access cd [31142054875417]) Canossa, Bruno

Biographical Note

Bruno Canossa was born near Genoa, Italy in 1904. He immigrated to the United States (US) in 1923 without working papers. He settled in Brooklyn, New York and lived near Union Street and Columbia Street. He married and had four children. Canossa spent his career as a longshoreman and was a member of International Longshoremen's Association Local 1814.

Scope and Content Note

There are two interviews with Bruno Canossa. For the first interview, the interviewer, location, and date are unknown. Topics include Canossa's immigration to the United States (US), the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) Local 1814, his family life, and leisure activities that he participated in. Canossa discusses his immigration to the US in 1923, including not returning to his ship when it made port; immigrating alone because his immigration was not planned in advance; and feeling glad that he immigrated to the US. He discusses the ILA, including the fact that there was always a union on the waterfront; that there were no requirements for joining other than paying dues; and that union benefits did not begin until after World War II. He recalls marrying an American woman; having four children; and the fact that he was married for 42 years at the time of the interview. He discusses leisure activities he enjoyed, such as reading the Daily Mirror and an unspecified Italian newspaper; attending the opera; and traveling to upstate New York and Long Island for vacations.

The second interview was conducted on March 18, 1975 at the Carroll Park Senior Center on Court Street in Brooklyn, New York by John Jentz, Jay Facciolo, and Frank Faragasso. Bruno Canossa was assisted by Mario Cinisomo, who helps Canossa explain his thoughts. Topics include Canossa's childhood, his immigration to the United States (US), his working experience, and his labor union involvement. Canossa recollects his early life in Italy, including his father working in the engine room on ships in a Navy yard and that his family had a comfortable living. His early memories of New York, New York include jumping ship when the boat he worked on arrived in port; getting his first job through friends he met in New York City; having multiple roommates in order to save money; and learning English in night school. Despite the fact that he immigrated on a whim, he did not consider immigrating to New York City a mistake. He discusses socializing predominantly with members of the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) and the Catholic Church; and frequenting cafes to spend time with other Italian immigrants. He also discusses the differences between New York City in the 1920s and at the time of the interview, including money going farther and people acting respectfully. He explains that he joined the ILA because he could not work without being in the union, and that union benefits did not start until after World War II. He discusses working on long term projects out of state; and that longshoremen did not want their children to become longshoremen unless they were not good students.

See also: Cinisomo, Mario; Ferentino, Rosario and Mario Cinisomo; and Passage.


1975
Box: 11 Reel : 28a - 28c (Master reel [31142054874519])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 142 (Access cassette) Cappoletti, Caroline Lavecchia: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Caroline Lavecchia Cappeletti was born in 1908 in a small town in Sicily, Italy. Her parents immigrated to the United States (US) in 1909 and left her in Sicily with her grandfather. She immigrated to the US after her grandfather's death in 1920. Her father was a butcher and owned his own shop in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. Her mother died in 1909 in a fire in the dress factory in which she worked. Her father married an Irish woman, with whom he had two daughters. The family lived on West 10th Street and the butcher shop was on Bleecker Street. Cappeletti attended school on Hudson Street. She worked as a dressmaker in a factory on 34th Street in Manhattan. She married in 1928.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on April 28, 1973 by Joan Granucci at an unspecified location. The interview covers Caroline Lavecchia Cappeletti's childhood in Italy, her parents' immigration to the United States (US), her marriage, her extended family, and her social life. Cappeletti discusses her childhood, including her parents' immigration to the US; her life in Italy with her grandfather; and her immigration to the US after his death. She describes being introduced to her husband and having to meet him secretly because of the strict rules her father set for her behavior. She describes the buildings and people in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York, including the fact that few Italians lived there. She discusses her work in a dress factory; modeling dress samples while the manager altered them; and sewing buttons by hand and other pieces on sewing machines. She also discusses her salary and the fact that the factory was not unionized. She describes her living situation after her marriage: she and her husband lived with his four brothers and their wives, and the group bought two apartment houses. She discusses financial difficulties they had and the fact that all of the women had to work in order for the group to afford the mortgage payments on the buildings. She discusses her social life before and during her marriage, including taking boat trips along the Hudson River and dancing at the Roseland Ballroom.

See also: Life Before Immigration or Migration, and Unionization.

An electronic transcript of this interview is also available by request.


1973 April 28
Box: 88 Reel : 856a (Master reel [31142054875284])
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Cappoletti, Caroline Lavecchia: Summary and Index
1973 April 28
Box: No Master Caravello, [Unknown] and Lindsey Gaetana

Biographical Note

Mr. Caravello was born in Italy and was one of five children. He attended high school and worked in a vineyard with his father and one of his brothers. He immigrated to the United States when he was 19 years old. He lived in New York, New York and Madison, Wisconsin. In New York he worked in a nickel-plating factory. He married and had at least one child.

Scope and Content Note

The first minute of this recording contains the beginning of an interview with Lindsey Gaetana who explains that he was born in Palermo, Italy in 1885 and immigrated to the United States (US) in 1905. The rest of the recording contains the interview with Mr. Caravello.

This interview was conducted by Bau Morrow at the Kingsbridge Heights Nursing Home in the Bronx, New York on May 4, 1973. The first name of the narrator is unknown. Mr. Caravello is sometimes hard to understand due to his Italian accent. The interview covers his working life in Italy and the United States (US). Caravello discusses working with his father and older brother in a vineyard in Italy and grafting vines from France onto native vines. He explains that a disease killed off the majority of the vines before his immigration to the US, but does not say whether this led to his decision to immigrate. He explains that his father was the foreman of the vineyard; that a director and inspector would come from Rome every two weeks to oversee their work; and that they arranged for Caravello to attend high school. He recounts his achievements in school proudly. He discusses the fact that he immigrated to the US in order to work in vineyards in California but that his family and a good job in a nickel-plating factory kept him in New York City. He recounts moving with his wife and baby to Madison, Wisconsin after five or six years in New York and working as a machinist.

Other topics include the nursing home at which Caravello lived at the time of the interview and the care he received; his mother's sense of style; and his siblings' lives after his immigration.

Vineyards |z Italy.


1973 May 4
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 105 (Access cassette) Chinoy, Belle: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Belle Chinoy was born in Russia. She lived in Saint Petersburg before immigrating to the United States. She worked as a draper in the garment industry in New York, New York before her marriage. She was a member of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. She married and had two sons and one daughter. Her husband worked as a paperhanger and a painter. They owned a grocery store in Manhattan and a vegetable store in Newark, New Jersey.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Louise Mayo at the Daughters of Israel nursing home in West Orange, New Jersey on February 25, 1975. The interview covers Belle Chinoy's early life in Russia, her working life in the United States, and her family. Chinoy discusses her early life in Saint Petersburg, Russia, including anti-Jewish laws that dispossessed her father of his property and the dispersal of her and her siblings to different family members in Saint Petersburg. She describes different jobs she held in the garment industry in New York, New York, including operator and draper; her salary as a piece worker; the difference in salaries between union and non-union factories; the ethnic demographics of the garment workers; and the division of jobs between men and women. Other topics include her living arrangements before her marriage; her continuation of her education at night school; the fact that she learned Yiddish in the garment factories; and her husband's occupations, which included painter and paperhanger.


1975 February 25
Box: 88 Reel : 859a (Master reel [31142054875284])
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Chinoy, Belle: Summary
1975 February 25
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 252, 252a (Access cassette) Christianson, Victor: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Victor Christianson was born in 1884 in an unspecified European country (likely Denmark). He and his parents immigrated to the United States in 1885. He was an only child. He graduated from high school and trained as an electrician. He worked at the American Smelting and Refining Company in Perth Amboy, New Jersey and with Thomas Edison in his laboratory in Orange, New Jersey. He moved to New York and attended classes at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and Stewart's Automobile School on 57th Street in Manhattan. He owned an automotive repair shop. He married around 1921 and had one son.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Mary B. Alexander at the Kingsbridge Heights Nursing Home in the Bronx, New York. The date of the interview is unknown. The interview covers Victor Christianson's childhood in Perth Amboy, New Jersey; his working life as an electrician and automotive repairman; and his family. Christianson discusses his childhood; his parents; and the ethnic demographics of Perth Amboy. He recounts working as an electrician for the American Smelting and Refining Company in Perth Amboy; with Thomas Edison in his experimental laboratory in Orange, New Jersey; and his decision to move to New York in order to gain better opportunities. He recounts his interest in cars, including driving a car for the first time in 1906; learning automotive repair at Stewart's Automobile School on 57th Street in Manhattan; and opening his own repair shop in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. He discusses his family, including his unhappiness about his estrangement from his son; his wife's health; and the deaths of his parents. Other topics include his opposition to unions; his opinions on politics; and a visit to Copenhagen, Denmark with his mother when he was six years old.

Electricians |z New York (State) |z New York.
Family life issues.


1973 April 5
Box: 88 Reel : 861a - 861b (Master reel [31142054875284])
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Christianson, Victor: Index
1973 April 5
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 143, 177 (Access cassette) Cinisomo, Mario: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Mario Cinisomo was born in 1913 in Brooklyn, New York to Italian immigrants. He worked as a longshoreman from 1932 until his retirement. He was a member of the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1814, and held the position of Secretary-Treasurer at the time of the interview.

Scope and Content Note

One interview with Mario Cinisomo was conducted by Frank Farragaso at the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) Union Hall on Court Street in Brooklyn, New York. The date of the interview is unknown. A second interview was conducted by Leon Fink at the International Longshoremen's Association Union Hall on Court Street in Brooklyn, New York on April 4, 1973. The main topics of these interviews include the lives of Cinisomo's parents; his employment prior to his involvement with the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) Local 1814; social issues within the ILA; and social activities in which he participated outside of the ILA. Cinisomo discusses his father, including his positions as sergeant major in the Italian Navy and as a sailor on a Swedish merchant marine ship, and difficulties he had while working in the US due to his height, health issues, and illiteracy. He discusses his mother being a housewife; her work assisting other Italian immigrants in the United States (US) with their paperwork; and his parents' arranged marriage in Italy. Cinisomo discusses his educational experiences, including graduating from public school; attending high school at night; and taking some college classes sponsored by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). He describes his employment before the ILA, including working in a laundry, a paper box factory, and as a grocery clerk, and his employment as an organizer in the WPA from the early 1930s until the start of World War II. He recalls social issues within the ILA, including the fact that the Irish and Germans controlled the union; that Italian workers were confined to working in the holds of the ships; and that striking was difficult because the Irish controlled the ILA and the police department. Cinisomo discusses leisure activities in which he participated, including attending church every Sunday; playing cards on his days off; and not playing sports because he was exhausted after his shifts.

See also: Canossa, Bruno; Ferrentino, Rosario and Mario Cinisomo; and Passage.

International Longshoremen's Association. Local 1814 (New York, N.Y.)United States. Works Progress Administration (N.Y.)


1973 April 4 and Undated
Box: 11 Reel : 32a (Master reel [31142054874519])
Box: 12 Reel : 32b - 32d (Master reel [31142054874527])
Box: 101
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Cinisomo, Mario: Index
1973 April 4
Box: 101 Cd : ref33, ref33a (Access cd [31142054875417]) Clanton, Elizabeth

Biographical Note

Elizabeth Clanton was born in Atmore, Alabama in 1901. Her grandparents were freed slaves and her father was a laborer on the railroad and in a saw mill. She married in 1920, had two sons, divorced, and remarried later in life. She worked in Illinois, Ohio, and California, before moving to New York, New York, where she worked as a nurses' aid and was a member of Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Leon Fink on October 24, 1975 at Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union in Manhattan, New York. This interview covers Elizabeth Clanton's childhood in Alabama; her migration throughout the United States (US); her work as a nurses' aide; and her union activity. She begins by describing her childhood in Atmore, Alabama. She focuses on how Atmore was divided along racial lines, describing segregation in neighborhoods, schools, churches, and the movies; and the limited, strained social contact between members of the white and black communities. She also describes learning how to read in school, which enabled her to read the newspaper for her parents, neither of whom were literate. Other topics from her childhood include her close relationship with her father; some of her grandparents' history; leisure activities; holiday traditions; the type of music to which she listened; and her religious traditions and values.

Clanton explains that it was typical for parents to decide who was an appropriate match for their daughters and describes the strict rules that governed interactions between young men and women. She describes meeting and marrying her first husband in Alabama despite her family's reservations about her being too young and her occupation as a domestic worker for various families in Atmore, a position that she acquired from her mother when the latter became ill. She spends a great deal of time discussing her movement throughout the US, including moving to Cleveland, Ohio in order to find domestic work to support her children, whom she had left with her parents after she separated from her husband; receiving a certificate in practical nursing in Chicago, Illinois; and moving to Brooklyn, New York to live with one of her sons. She recalls sending much of the money she earned back to her family and writing letters to her mother and children to accompany each paycheck. Clanton discusses her union involvement, including being introduced to the idea of unions by organizer Jesse Olson while working at Beth Israel Hospital, as a nurses' aide, in Manhattan; going to various hotels in New York City for union meetings; discussing union activities with co-workers only on breaks or after work; and participating in a hospital workers' strike in 1959. Clanton discusses her opinion that despite the union not supporting striking workers sufficiently she realized the benefits of belonging to a union; her appreciation of Local 1199 after her retirement; and the educational programs and social activities that Local 1199 provided.

African Americans -- Relations with Jews.
Cleveland (Ohio) |x Economic conditions |y 20th century.
Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union (New York, N.Y.)


1975 October 24
Box: 12 Reel : 33a - 33b (Master reel [31142054874527])
Box: 13 Reel : 33c - 33e (Master reel [31142054874535])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 203 (Access cassette)
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 8 (Access cassette) Cohen, Arthur: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Arthur Cohen was born in New York, New York around 1886 and was the youngest of seven sons. His father was a butcher on Hamilton Street in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan. The family moved to the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan in 1891. Cohen attended the Hebrew Technical Institute and graduated as an electrician's helper.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Edmund Lake on April 27, 1973 at the Council Workshop for Senior Citizens on 125th Street in Manhattan, New York. It covers Arthur Cohen's childhood, his work as an electrician, and his career as a semi-professional baseball player. Cohen discusses growing up in a predominantly Irish section of the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, in which his family was one of two Jewish families, and how his mother would be protected on her way home from local poker games by neighborhood ruffians. He describes his work at the Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe Company, attaching safe doors and setting the combinations. He describes his work as an electrician for industrial companies and being forced to leave this work due to his wife's illness. He recounts his years playing baseball as a catcher and traveling with two teams, the Colonials and the Chambers Arrows.

Lower East Side (New York, N.Y.) -- Ethnic relations.
Semi-professional baseball |z New York (State)
Electricians |z New York (State) |z New York.


1973 April 27
Box: 79 Reel : 791a (Master reel [31142054875193])
Box: 80 Reel : 791b (Master reel [31142054875201])
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Cohen, Arthur: Transcript; Index; and Subject Cards
1973 April 27
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 9 (Access cassette) Cohen, Rose: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Rose Cohen was born in Russia and was one of six children. She immigrated to the United States in 1912, where she worked in the garment industry. She was a member of the Socialist Party of America, the Workmen's Circle, and an unspecified labor union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union).

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Wendy Fisher on March 30, 1973 at an unspecified location. The interview covers Rose Cohen's early life and education in Russia, her immigration to the United States (US), her political activity, her working life, and her union activity. Cohen discusses her childhood in Russia, in particular, convincing her father to allow her to attend public school. She discusses immigrating to the US and living with her sisters on Orchard Street in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. She discusses her first job in a shirtwaist factory; her attempts at unionizing the shop; and her attempts at recruiting workers into the Socialist Party of America. Other topics include brief histories of the Russian Revolution and the Workmen's Circle and the importance of socialism in Cohen's life.

Women socialists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews.
Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring


1973 March 30
Box: 101 Cd : 9 (Access cd [31142054875417])
Box: 80 Reel : 793a - 793b (Master reel [31142054875201])
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Cohen, Rose: Transcript; Index; and Subject Cards
1973 March 30
Box: Missing Coker, Cora: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Cora Coker was born in Hammond, Louisiana in 1904 and was one of eight children. Her father was a railroad worker. She attended school in both Hammond and Chicago, Illinois, where she graduated from eighth grade and attended a pre-vocational training program at Wendell Phillips Academy High School. She worked in domestic service in New York and in factories in Chicago, where she sewed and made box springs and cushions. She lived in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York before settling in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan after her marriage. She had four children. She organized the Harlem Mothers Community Club.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Cenen Moreno at the A. Philip Randolph Houses in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York on April 25, 1974. The audio recording for this interview is missing. This interview covers Cora Coker's childhood in Louisiana and Illinois; her migration to New York, New York; her jobs in domestic service and in factories; and her family. Coker recounts her childhood in Hammond, Louisiana, noting that strawberry picking season interfered with her education. She recalls Klu Klux Klan activity in her city; that white people owned many of the farms and businesses in the area; and the lynching of a woman named Emma Hooker. She explains that her family generally had friendly relationships with white people, recalling that they lived on property owned by white people before her father built her family a house; that many people in her family were named after the family that owned the property on which they lived; and that that family sent them a wagon full of toys at Christmas. She explains that her family moved from Hammond to Chicago, Illinois after her father lost his job for walking through a segregated railroad station and then fighting with the man who chastised him for it. She compares Hammond and Chicago, noting that her neighborhood in Chicago was split between black residents and Polish residents but that there was no animosity between the groups. She explains that she quit school because she saw no future in it.

Coker explains that she migrated to New York, New York and settled in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York with her fiance's friends. She describes her husband's occupation as a boxer and notes that, although he excelled in his sport, there were few chances for him to fight in big matches because of discrimination against black contenders. She explains that she found various domestic worker positions through an employment agency and that she worked less frequently after having children. She recalls a contrast between being content and in love and struggling to make ends meet during the Great Depression. She describes the differences between her relationship with her mother and her children's relationship with her, focusing on her efforts to communicate with them, including having monthly family meetings. Other topics include her leisure activities and traditions; her father's occupation and income; her husband's death in 1943; her children's education and occupations; and a comparison between life in the northern United States (US) and the southern US.

1974 April 25
Box: 1 Folder : 93 Coker, Cora: Summary
1974 April 25
Box: No Master Cole, Annie

Biographical Note

Annie Cole was born in Forest Home, Alabama on January 25, 1924. She graduated from the Tuskegee Institute with an associate degree in dietary health. She migrated to New York, New York and worked at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx. She was a member of Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Sasha Silverstein on November 13, 1975 at Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union in Manhattan, New York. Topics of discussion include Annie Cole's childhood, education, work experience, and union involvement. Cole briefly discusses her early life in Alabama and Texas; her education at the Tuskegee Institute; and the hardships she endured in attending college, including working long hours during the day and being too tired to study at night. She spends a majority of the interview discussing her working life, including a 6 month internship at an unspecified hospital on 125th street in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York and her job as a dietary aide at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, New York, which she began in 1952. She discusses in detail her reasons for joining Local 1199, including speaking with a strike organizer about her frustrations regarding taking on the work of the striking workers, in addition to her own. Cole discusses issues that she faced once she was a member of the union, including not receiving the same pay as hospital employees with different job titles, even though they did the same work, and unfair scheduling and benefits. She also discusses her struggles against management regarding workplace and pay discrimination throughout her career.

Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union (New York, N.Y.)


1975 November 13
Box: 101 Cd : ref37 (Access cd [31142054875417])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 181, 181a (Access cassette) Council Workshop for Senior Citizens I

Scope and Content Note

This group interview was conducted by student interviewers, Edmund Lake and Ron Walker, and an unknown moderator on March 29, 1973. This interview contains a roundtable discussion with at least eight individuals who reflect on their immigration or migration to the United States (US) and New York, New York. The narrators tend to speak over one another, making it difficult to distinguish who is speaking; some narrators contribute more to the conversation than others; and the volume fluctuates throughout the interview.

Topics covered in this interview include reasons for immigration or migration; family situations both before and after immigration or migration; living conditions in New York City, especially during the Great Depression; race relations within the US; jobs and working conditions; the comparison between New York City neighborhoods in the past and at the time of the interview; and student riots over rising college tuition costs at the time of the interview. The interview ends with the unknown moderator addressing the logistics of individual interviews for those who are interested.

See also: Accent, Sedrkk; Johns, Ponnie; Manar, [Unknown]; and Meeks, Danny.


1973 March 29
Box: 72 Reel : 215a (Master reel [31142054875128])
Box: 73 Reel : 215b (Master reel [31142054875136])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 180, 180b (Access cassette) Council Workshop for Senior Citizens II

Scope and Content Note

This group interview was conducted by student interviewers, Edmund Lake and Karin Young, and an unknown moderator at the Council Workshop for Senior Citizens on 125th Street in Manhattan, New York on March 27, 1973. This interview consists of a roundtable discussion with at least eight individuals, who all reflect on their immigration or migration to the United States (US) and New York, New York. The narrators tend to speak over one another, making it difficult to distinguish who is speaking, and some narrators contribute more to the conversation than others.

Topics covered in this interview include reasons for immigration or migration; family situations before and after immigration or migration; living conditions in New York, New York; native New Yorkers' views of and relationships with the increasing immigrant population; race relations within the US; immigration journeys and conditions; jobs and working conditions; and the comparison between New York City neighborhoods in the past and at the time of the interview. The interview ends with the moderator addressing the logistics of individual interviews for those who are interested.

See also: Howard, Clara; Sunderman, [Unknown]; Walters, [Unknown].


1973 March 27
Box: 73 Reel : 216a - 216b (Master reel [31142054875136])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 180a, 180a.1 (Access cassette) Council Workshop for Senior Citizens III

Scope and Content Note

This group interview was conducted by student interviewers, John Salerno and Karin Young, and an unknown moderator at the Council Workshop for Senior Citizens on 125th Street in Manhattan, New York on March 29, 1973. This interview contains a roundtable discussion with at least ten individuals, all of whom provide a brief summary of where they were born and when they immigrated or migrated to the United States (US) or New York, New York. The narrators tend to speak over one another, making it difficult to distinguish who is speaking, and some narrators contribute more to the conversation than others. Topics covered in this interview include reasons for immigration or migration; family situations before and after immigration or migration; memories of Ellis Island; native New Yorkers' views of and relationships with the increasing immigrant population; race relations within the US; a comparison of union and non-union jobs and conditions; and a comparison of the generations of the interviewers and the narrators. The interview ends with the moderator addressing the logistics of individual interviews for those who are interested.

See also: Jackson, [unidentified]; and Tannenbaum, Rose.


1973 March 29
Box: 73 Reel : 217a - 217b (Master reel [31142054875136])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 182 (Access cassette) Council Workshop for Senior Citizens IV

Scope and Content Note

This group interview was conducted by student interviewers, John Salerno and Victor Scheluchin, and an unknown moderator at the Council Workshop for Senior Citizens on 125th Street, Manhattan, New York on March 26, 1973. This interview contains a roundtable discussion with at least eight individuals, who reflect on their immigration or migration to the United States (US) and New York, New York. The narrators tend to speak over one another, making it difficult to distinguish who is speaking, and some narrators contribute more to the conversation than others. Topics covered in this interview include reasons for immigration/migration; family situations before and after immigration or migration; conditions during immigration, including memories of Ellis Island; native New Yorkers' views of and relationships with the increasing immigrant population; race relations within the US and other countries; the comparison between union and non-union jobs and conditions; and the comparison between New York City neighborhoods in the past and at the time of the interview. The interview ends with the moderator addressing the logistics of individual interviews for those who were interested.

See also: Fields, [unidentified].


1973 March 26
Box: 74 Reel : 330a - 330b (Master reel [31142054875144])
Box: 101 Cd : ref39 (Access cd [31142054875417]) Cowen, Maud

Biographical Note

Maud Cowen was born in 1880 in Jamaica. She was the oldest of 12 children. Her mother managed the household while her father worked their farm. Cowen immigrated to the United States in 1916, settling in New York, New York. She held a number of jobs, including laborer in an ammunition factory during World War I; dressmaker; kosher cook; and as a maid and companion. She was married and had two daughters.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Manfred Putzka at the Kingsbridge Heights Nursing Home in the Bronx, New York on April 9, 1973. Topics include Maud Cowen's childhood, her immigration to the United States (US), her first impressions of the US, her employment, and her family. Cowen recounts her early life in Jamaica including her large family; her father owning a farm and her recollection of shipping oranges in barrels and raising animals; and teaching herself how to make dresses. She recounts immigration officials in the US not wanting Cowen to leave with her black cousin when she arrived in New York, New York. Cowen discusses her negative first impressions of the US, including feeling out of place and crying every night; feeling that people were unfriendly; and that she never had enough money. She recalls the US attempting to deport her to Jamaica or Great Britain during World War I and fighting the deportation. Cowan discusses her employment, including working at an ammunition factory in New Jersey; working in a laundry pressing soldiers' uniforms; sewing dresses as part of a display in a shop window in the Garment District neighborhood of Manhattan; working as a kosher cook; and being a maid and companion in a hospital. Cowen discusses her kosher cooking, including learning the skill from a friendly Jewish woman for whom she worked; cooking for individuals as well as catering parties; and leaving this line of work after being severely burned lighting an oven. She discusses her daughters in detail, including the fact that they were both well educated and married, that both wanted her to move back to Jamaica at the time of the interview; and that one daughter owns 40 acres of land with a large house and a maid.

See also: Immigration, Migration, and First Impressions of New York, New York and the United States; and Neighborhood.


1973 April 9
Box: 14 Reel : 39a - 39b (Master reel [31142054874543])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 10 (Access cassette) Cramer, Paul: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Paul Cramer was born in 1876 in Germany. He was a member of the German merchant marine. He held a number of jobs after his immigration to the United States, including furnace maintainer, grocery clerk, gardener, and window cleaner. He married twice and had two children with his first wife.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on April 2, 1973 by Kathleen Gimblet at the Kingsbridge Heights Nursing Home in the Bronx, New York. The interview covers Paul Cramer's working life in Germany and the United States (US) and his personal life. Cramer discusses being drafted into the German Army in 1890; joining the German merchant marine two years later; and traveling to Australia and Japan in the merchant marine before immigrating to the US. He briefly mentions his first marriage before discussing his second marriage to a woman who had been a vaudevillian. He describes his work maintaining furnaces in 13 houses in Manhattan, New York. Cramer also describes working as a butler in Lake George, New York; making good money as a window cleaner; and finding work at unemployment offices and through window advertisements.

Germans |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.


1973 April 2
Box: 81 Reel : 796a - 796b (Master reel [31142054875219])
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Cramer, Paul: Transcript and Index
1973 April 2
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 158 (Access cassette) Crupi, Carolina: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Carolina Crupi was born in 1897 in a small town near Palermo, Italy. Her mother died when Crupi was a year old. Her father would alternate working in the United States (US) and in Italy. Crupi remained in Italy with her grandmother until 1911, when she immigrated to the US. She worked as a seamstress in garment factories in Utica, New York and New York, New York. She married when she was 16 years old. Her husband worked in a foundry, as a security guard, and owned a laundry and a produce store in New York City. They had seven children.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Joan Granucci on May 8, 1974 at the Congress of Italian Americans Organization (CIAO) in Brooklyn, New York. The interview covers Carolina Crupi's childhood in Italy, her immigration to the United States (US), her marriage and children, her working life, and her life at the time of the interview. Crupi discusses her childhood in Italy; her education; her father's pattern of working for a time in the US and returning to Italy; and her aspiration to become a teacher. She discusses her immigration to the US, in particular securing a chaperone to accompany her on the voyage. She describes her life with her father in Utica, New York; the different ethnic groups in the city; and the factory in which she worked. She discusses moving to New York City and living with her aunt's family in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan. She recounts the different factories in which she worked before her marriage and her departure from the workforce to manage the household and care for her children. She discusses her husband, including his laundry business and produce store, his jealous nature, and the fact that he would not allow her to leave the house. She discusses their move to Brooklyn and that most of the people in their neighborhood were Jewish. She describes her life at the time of the interview, including enjoying her independence. She discusses her children; their education; and their spouses and children. She discusses her Catholicism, including not attending church because she had too much work to do at home; ensuring that her children attended church; and being disappointed in one of her children for marrying a person who was not Catholic.

An electronic transcript of this interview is also available by request.


1974 May 8
Box: 89 Reel : 865a - 865b (Master reel [31142054875292])
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Crupi, Carolina: Index and Subject Cards
1974 May 8
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 196, 196a (Access cassette) Cunningham, Carrie B.: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Carrie B. Cunningham was born around 1903 on a farm in Colleton County, South Carolina. She had two sisters and two brothers. When she was 21 years old, she worked in restaurants in Waycross, Georgia and Savannah, Georgia, returning to Colleton County after a few months in each place. She migrated to New York, New York in 1929 and lived with an aunt. She was employed as a domestic worker until 1939 when she went to work at a factory owned by the Ideal Toy Company. She worked there for eight years before returning to domestic work. In 1953 she took a job as a dietary aide at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, where she worked for 15 years, retiring in 1970. She was a member of an unspecified union while working in the toy factory, and of Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union while at Mount Sinai. She was a member of the Daughters of the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World.

Cunningham married in the early 1920s and had two children. Her husband worked for the New York Central Railroad from the 1920s until his retirement at an unspecified time.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by John Jentz on October 24 and October 31, 1975 at Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union in Manhattan, New York. The interview covers Carrie B. Cunningham's childhood in Colleton County, South Carolina; her working life in the southern United States and New York, New York; her union activity; her family; and her religion.

Cunningham describes the farm on which she grew up including the family members who lived on the farm and the stories they told her as a child; her dislike of farm work; and her decision to find work in cities. She discusses the migrations of her siblings, two of whom left Colleton County for New York and describes her own decision to migrate to New York with an aunt. She discusses her employment as a domestic worker for ten years and the ways in which she found jobs every year or two. She discusses changing to factory work because it was less physically demanding and had regular hours; working for the Ideal Toy Company for about eight years; and returning to domestic work. She recounts taking a job as a dietary aide at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan in 1953 and describes her responsibilities preparing food and food trays for patients. She discusses the organization of the hospital workers at Mount Sinai into Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union in 1958 and 1959; an eight week strike at the end of 1958 and the beginning of 1959; an election between Local 1199 and an unspecified union; and her decision to vote for Local 1199 despite not knowing what they would be able to do for the workers. She discusses her desire for respect from other people and, in particular, her employers and coworkers and gives examples of conflicts she had with people who did not treat her with respect.

Cunningham discusses different living arrangements she and her husband had after migrating to New York in different sections of the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan and in the Bronx. She discusses her son and daughter, including their upbringing by their paternal grandparents in South Carolina; her annual visits with them; their decisions to migrate to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and their spouses, children, and grandchildren. She explains that it would have been harder to her children live in New York with her and leave them alone while she worked. She discusses her social life, her friends, and the ways in which she met people. She discusses her religion in detail, including her attendance of different Protestant churches throughout her life; her membership in the Greater Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Mount Olivet Baptist Church in Harlem; and her feelings about her faith.

Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union (New York, N.Y.)


1975 October 24 and October 31
Box: 89 Reel : 869a - 869b (Master reel [31142054875292])
Box: 100 Cassette : 869 (Master cassette [31142054875409])
Box: 101 Cd : ref869b - ref869c (Access cd [31142054875417])
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Cunningham, Carrie B.: Summary
1975 October 24 and October 31
Box: 101 Cd : ref43 (Access cd [31142054875417]) Currieri, Leonard (Leo)

Biographical Note

Leonard (Leo) Currieri was born on September 14, 1905 in the town of Sciacca, Italy. He had three brothers. His father owned a shipping business and his mother was a school teacher before their marriage. Currieri attended the Royal Technical High School in Italy, where he received a general education with a special emphasis in English. After his father's death, he and his mother immigrated to the United States in 1920, where he met and married his wife, Rose, in 1929. They had two sons. He worked primarily in the garment industry and joined the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Local 89 in 1932.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Nina Cobb on April 27, 1975 at an unknown locatione interviewer, location, and date of this interview are unknown. Leonard Currieri's wife, Rose, occasionally contributes to the interview. This interview covers Currieri's childhood in Sciacca, Italy; his immigration to New York in 1920; and his life and work in the garment industry in Brooklyn, New York up to the time of the interview. Currieri begins by describing his childhood and education in Italy. He notes his family's long history in maritime trade; his father's medal of honor in recognition of his 24 years of navigation service; and his own desire to become a marine officer. He explains that he and his mother immigrated to the US in 1920, where they settled on North Portland Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. Currieri recounts working for different companies, including Klein Brothers and Metro Candy Company, before learning the pressing trade from his brother. He recounts working as a presser in different factories in the garment industry, including Levine Dress Company, Henry Goldstein, Glassman and Prince, and Geoffrey Beene, before opening his own factory.

Currieri recalls joining the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) Local 89 in 1932 and organizing strikes with his brother in order to acquire better wages and working conditions. He especially emphasizes the contrast between the ideal of the American melting pot and the reality of the discrimination he and many other immigrants faced, recalling tension among the various European nationalities that settled in Brooklyn. He explains that the membership of some ILGWU locals consisted exclusively of a particular nationality. He notes that union educational and social activities alleviated tension between ethnic groups. Currieri and his wife discuss the role of women in the factories; the different jobs that they held; and the unemployment gaps that permeated their careers due to marriage and caring for their children.

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 89 (New York, N.Y.)


1975 April 27
Box: 14 Reel : 43a - 43c (Master reel [31142054874543])
Box: 15 Reel : 43d (Master reel [31142054874550])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 11 (Access cassette) Davidson, Ethel: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Ethel Davidson was born in Belarus, Russia and was the eldest of eight children. She immigrated to the United States in 1913. She worked as a dressmaker and was a member of an unspecified union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union).

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Wendy Fisher and an unknown male interviewer on April 14, 1973. The location is unknown. Two unidentified people interject comments throughout the interview. The interview covers Ethel Davidson's immigration to the United States (US); her working life; and her union activity. Davidson describes her unpleasant experience traveling in steerage to the US and her pride in being able to save enough money to buy first class passage for her mother and seven siblings. She recalls working in different garment factories in New York, New York; learning to use a sewing machine; working with Jewish and Italian women; and overcoming the language barrier between herself and the Italians. She discusses her membership in an unspecified union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union), including participating in strikes and organizing shops for the union. Other topics include Davidson's attempts to attend an unspecified night school in the US, despite multiple physical attacks by anti-Semitic boys at the school; wrapping candy and picking apples as a child in Belarus; and attending the opera and concerts at the Metropolitan Opera House and Carnegie Hall in Manhattan.

Antisemitism |z United States.


1973 April 14
Box: 81 Reel : 798a (Master reel [31142054875219])
Box: 1 Folder : 17 Davidson, Ethel: Transcript; Index; and Subject Cards
1973 April 14
Box: 101 Cd : ref2 (Access cd [31142054875417]) DeCaro, Anna; Christine DeMatate; and Angela Santa Maria (formerly 3 Italian Women)

Biographical Note

Christine DeMatate was born in Il Catta, in the province of Vincenza, Italy and was one of five children. She immigrated to the United States in February 1914 and settled in Brooklyn, New York. She worked in the garment industry doing section work and was involved in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Local 89.

Angela Santa Maria was born in Il Catta, in the province of Vincenza, Italy. She had eight sisters and one brother. She immigrated to the United States in 1933 when she was 21 years old and lived on Union Street in Brooklyn, New York. She made dresses in the garment industry and was involved in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Local 89.

Anna DeCaro was born in Palermo, Italy. She immigrated to the United States in 1932 when she was 23 years old. She attended school in Italy.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on May 13, 1975. The location is likely the Carroll Gardens Senior Center at 380 Court Street in Brooklyn, New York. The interviewers are unknown. Christine DeMatate, Angela Santa Maria, and Anna DeCaro are all interviewed at the same time and frequently speak Italian. Anna DeCaro leaves the interview after about ten minutes. This interview covers DeMatate's and Santa Maria's childhoods in Italy, their immigration to New York, and their work in New York City's garment industry.

Christine DeMatate describes her childhood in Italy, noting that her father was a longshoreman; that her parents immigrated to the United States (US) with her siblings; and that her immigration was delayed due to an unspecified eye disease. She worked in the garment industry doing piecework on Henry Street in Brooklyn, New York and continued to work even after she gave birth to her son, which displeased her husband. She joined the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) Local 89 in 1933 and describes how the union alleviated poor working conditions and promoted better wages. She notes that although the ILGWU decreased the number of hours she had to work overall, some weekend work was mandatory, which conflicted with church services on Sunday.

Angela Santa Maria describes her childhood in the same town as DeMatate, noting that most of the people in the town were employed as fishermen or longshoremen. She recounts that her husband immigrated to the US before returning to Italy to marry her and bring her to the US. She describes how she made garments at home but moved on to factory work when her children grew older; how she joined the ILGWU Local 89; and how her children worked with her once they finished school.

An electronic transcript of this interview is available by request.

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 89 (New York, N.Y.)


1975 May 13
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 172 (Access cassette)
Box: 2 Reel : 2a (Master reel [31142054874428])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 163 (Access cassette) DeMatteis, Vincent: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Vincent DeMatteis was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1909. He had one brother and four sisters. His parents and his four sisters were born in Naples, Italy. Their father worked for the Bank of Naples in the real estate department before immigrating to the United States (US) in 1905. He settled in New York and worked as a longshoreman.

DeMatteis completed elementary school and was apprenticed to a jeweler in 1924. He had to halt his apprenticeship in 1929 due to the start of the Great Depression and his inability to find work as a jeweler. He worked odd jobs until becoming a longshoreman in 1936 and remained in that profession until his retirement around the time of the interview. He served in the United States Army during World War II. As a longshoreman, he worked mainly on Pier 1 on the Erie Basin in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn starting in 1945. He was a member of an unspecified union (likely the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1814).

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Santa Cigliano. The date is unknown, and the location is likely the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1814 Union Hall in Brooklyn, New York. The interview covers Vincent DeMatteis' family and his working life. DeMatteis discusses his father, including his work as a real estate agent in Italy; his immigration to the United States (US); and his work as a longshoreman. DeMatteis describes his own apprenticeship to a jeweler, including some of the training he received. He discusses his decision to become a longshoreman, against his father's wishes, as he was unable to find work as a jeweler during the Great Depression. He describes different jobs longshoremen performed, including unloading, checking, and sorting goods from ships. He discusses differences on the waterfront between the 1930s and the time of the interview, many of them being the result of the the creation of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor in 1953 and the success of the International Longshoremen's Association in the 1960s in organizing the workers. He discusses the structure of the work day; the way in which jobs were distributed; the way men obtained jobs as longshoremen; and the way ships were unloaded. He discusses the ways in which longshoremen kept busy on days when there was no work; DeMatteis' household chores on those days; and the ethnic demographics of the piers in New York, most of which were controlled by Italians. He discusses attempts at unionization on the waterfront; workers who wished for stronger unions being labeled communists; and the success of the ILA in the 1960s.

International Longshoremen's Association. Local 1814 (New York, N.Y.)


Undated
Box: 89 Reel : 870a (Master reel [31142054875292])
Box: 90 Reel : 870b (Master reel [31142054875300])
Box: 1 Folder : 18 DeMatteis, Vincent: Subject Cards
Undated
Box: 101 Cd : ref46 (Access cd [31142054875417]) DePalo, Vincent

Biographical Note

Vincent DePalo was born near Bari, Italy in 1900. His family members were stonecutters. In 1913, DePalo and his father immigrated to the United States where they lived with his grandmother in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. DePalo attended night school at the Cooper Union, in Manhattan, New York, for mechanical drawing. He worked for many years in a macaroni die factory before opening his own. He married when he was 24 years old and had two sons.

Scope and Content Note

The interview with Vincent DePalo was conducted by Joan Granucci at the Congress of Italian Americans Organization (CIAO) Center in Brooklyn on May 7, 1974. Topics discussed include Vincent DePalo's childhood, his immigration to the United States (US), his family life, and his work experiences. DePalo discusses his early life in Italy, including being forced to leave school in order to learn stone cutting from his grandfather, and working building sidewalks and mansions. His earliest memories of New York, New York include living with his grandmother; his father working out of town; lying about his age to get his first job making macaroni dies; and being surprised at the ready availability of food. DePalo discusses owning a macaroni die company and the other good opportunities he found in America. DePalo discusses in great detail his family life including meeting his wife; gaining permission to court her; enduring miscarriages and other problems concerning children; having two sons; and attending the Italian Opera every week. He briefly discusses the CIAO Center, including his enjoyment at being able to talk to the people there and the reasons that he joined.

Mechanical engineers |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.
Pasta factories |z New York (State) |z New York.
Pasta industry |z New York (State) |z New York.
Entrepreneurship.


1974 May 7
Box: 15 Reel : 46a - 46b (Master reel [31142054874550])
Box: Missing DeRosa, Vincenzo: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Vincenzo DeRosa was born in Naples, Italy in 1889 and was one of eight children. He immigrated to the United States (US) in 1903 and settled in Brooklyn, New York. He worked as a longshoreman and joined an unspecified union (likely the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA)). He married in 1909 and had four children.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Joan Granucci in Brooklyn, New York on April 12, 1973. The audio recording for this interview is missing. This interview covers Vincenzo DeRosa's childhood in Italy; his immigration to the United States (US) in 1903; and his work as a longshoreman in Brooklyn, New York. DeRosa begins by describing the beautiful landscapes of his hometown. He recalls that he immigrated to the US in order to make a fortune and traveled with one of his cousins because he was too young to go by himself. He settled in Brooklyn with his brother and other countrymen from Naples. He describes the development of the longshoremen's union to which he belonged (likely the likely the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA)); the ethnic composition of the longshoremen; and the tension between Irish and Italian immigrants. Other topics include a comparison between Brooklyn in the past and at the time of the interview; his children's occupations; his religious and political affiliations; his regret at never having returned to Italy; and his love for America.

1973 April 12
Box: 1 Folder : 94 DeRosa, Vincenzo: Index
1973 April 12
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 78, 106a-b, 107 (Access cassette) Diamond, Moe: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Moe Diamond worked in the garment industry and was a business agent in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union in New York, New York in the early 20th century.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Frank Faragasso on March 13, 1975 at an unspecified location. The interview covers Moe Diamond's career as a garment worker and a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU). Diamond discusses the history of the ILGWU, beginning with a strike of needleworkers in 1910 and the conditions that led to the strike; the conditions at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company that contributed to the high casualty rate in the fire in 1911; the ways in which conditions in factories changed after both of these events; and the ways in which Meyer London and Morris Hillquit helped to strengthen the ILGWU. Other topics include garment factories in which Diamond worked and the workers in the factories; the importance of the Educational Alliance in Manhattan, New York to union members in the early 20th century; changes in the garment industry between the 1910s and the 1970s; and the changes in the Garment District neighborhood of Manhattan, New York.

Triangle Shirtwaist Company |y Fire, 1911.


1975 March 13
Box: 81 Reel : 800a - 800b (Master reel [31142054875219])
Box: 82 Reel : 800c (Master reel [31142054875227])
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Diamond, Moe: Transcript
1975 March 13
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 233, 233a (Access cassette) Duffy, Eugene R.: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Eugene R. Duffy was born in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. His parents were both born in County Monaghan, Ireland and immigrated to the United States (US) before he was born. His father was a stonemason. Duffy worked in a wallpaper factory and on tugboats and yachts.

Scope and Contents

The interviewer, date, and location of this interview are unknown. The recording begins with an unidentified woman discussing issues of racial differences and tensions in the United States (US) and appears to have no relation to the interview that follows. The interview covers Eugene R. Duffy's childhood; work; and leisure time in New York, New York. The volume of the recording fluctuates throughout the interview, and background noise sometimes makes Duffy hard to hear. Duffy recounts his parents' immigration to the US from Ireland in order to better themselves; that they were the first members of their family to immigrate; and that they aided the rest of their family in immigrating and finding work in New York. He recalls working in an unspecified wallpaper factory and on tugboats and yachts, explaining that there were few if any strikes in either industry. Other topics include his family's religious and political affiliations; his visits to vaudeville shows and Central Park during his leisure time; and a comparison of the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan in the past and at the time of the interview.


1973 April 4
Box: 100 Cassette : 49 (Master cassette [31142054875409])
Box: 101 Cd : ref49 (Access cd [31142054875417])
Box: 1 Folder : 95 Duffy, Eugene R.: Index
1973 April 4
Box: No Master Duffy, John

Biographical Note

John Duffy was born in an unspecified town in Ireland and grew up in the town of Dundalk. He had two brothers and two sisters. His father worked as an engine driver on the railroad and was a member of an unspecified railroad workers' union. Duffy immigrated to the United States in June 1929 when he was 19 years old via the SS Leviathan. He attended Washington Irving High School in the Union Square neighborhood of Manhattan, New York and lived in a boarding house on East 49th Street and 3rd Avenue in Manhattan. Duffy began working in the supply department of Bloomingdale's in 1929 and remained there until 1943 when he became a transportation worker. He was an active member and elected official of Local 65 of an unspecified retail workers' union (likely the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union) and was later a member of the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU).

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on April 26, 1974. The location and interviewer are unknown. An unidentified man interjects comments throughout John Duffy's interview. This interview covers Duffy's childhood in Ireland; his immigration to the United States (US) in 1929; and his life and work in the retail and transportation industries in New York, New York. Duffy begins by describing his hometown of Dundalk, Ireland, emphasizing the town's position as a thriving railroad junction and its various industries including shoe and tobacco manufacturing (specifically P.J. Carroll & Company Limited). He recalls the railroad being the major source of commerce and both his father and his grandfather working on the railroad. He describes patterns of Irish immigration to the US, noting that many of the immigrants came from the western and southern towns in Ireland; that the Irish did not often immigrate as a family unit; the effects of religious and political conflicts on immigration; and the often contentious relationship between the Irish people and the English authorities.

Duffy describes immigrating to the US in June 1929 via the SS Leviathan, noting that he was able to bypass Ellis Island, New York due to his immigration paperwork being processed by the consulate in Dublin. He explains that he immigrated because he had a desire to travel and he recounts living with an uncle before moving to a boarding house on East 49th Street and 3rd Avenue in Manhattan. He focuses on his work in the supply department at Bloomingdale's in Manhattan, emphasizing the mistreatment of workers in other departments in the store; the lack of job security; and the lack of stable promotion tracks for workers. He explains that all of these factors contributed to the union organization of retail workers in the store, specifically through Local 65 of an unspecified retail workers' union (likely the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union). He emphasizes the fragility of the early years of the union, describing tension among members when Bloomingdale's gave the workers a raise and had the union disperse the raises from a lump sum.

Duffy recalls leaving Bloomingdale's in 1943 and becoming a transportation worker and joining the Transport Workers Union of America. He emphasizes the union's slow organizational growth over the course of the 1940s and 1950s; the conflict between Communist and non-Communist factions in the union; and the way in which the union's president, Michael Quill, dealt with the Communists' attempts to gain power. Other topics include religious, ethnic, and racial divisions in the workforce, particularly in the retail industry, and the negative relationship between Duffy's parish church and the Communist Party of the United States of America.

Transport workers |x Labor unions |z New York (State) |z New York |x History.
Bloomingdale's (Firm)


1974 April 26
Box: 101 Cd : ref331 (Access cd [31142054875417]) Edwards, James

Biographical Note

James Edwards was born in the early 1900s in North Carolina. His father was a preacher and a farmer. Edwards left the farm when he was about 16 years old and worked a number of jobs over the next six years, eventually settling in New York, New York. In New York, he worked odd jobs and married. At the time of the interview, he was 72 years old and working as a doorman.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted while James Edwards was on duty as a doorman at an unspecified location in New York, New York. The interview was conducted by Jimmy Torres on March 27, 1974. Topics covered include Edwards' childhood in North Carolina and his work experience. He discusses at length his childhood on a farm in North Carolina, including growing watermelons; his father being a preacher and enforcing strict rules for the family; and wishing he was still able to work on the farm at the time of the interview. When discussing his employment, he recounts leaving North Carolina for no particular reason and working his way north by taking odd jobs, including positions as a bellhop at the Richmond Hotel in Virginia and being a busboy at the University of North Carolina.


1974 March 27
Box: 74 Reel : 331a - 331b (Master reel [31142054875144])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 206, 206a-b (Access cassette) Ellison, Charlie

Biographical Note

Charlie Ellison was born in North Carolina in 1923, where he worked in a textile plant and was a member of the Textile Workers Union of America Local 265. He migrated to New York, New York in 1960, where he worked at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, and was a member of Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union. He married and had one daughter

Scope and Content Note

This was conducted by Nina Cobb at Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union in Manhattan, New York on October 24, 1975. Topics discussed include Charlie Ellison's childhood, his work experience, and his union activities. Ellison discusses his early life in Henderson, North Carolina, including his household chores and family gatherings. He recalls his work experience, including working at a textile factory from the age of twelve; describing his responsibilities; working to organize the workers into the Textile Workers Union of America Local 265; and leaving Henderson because his plant closed and he could not find another job.

Ellison's first impressions of New York, New York include being surprised at the amount of discrimination he faced there; having trouble finding a job; and his wife refusing to work. He explains that he initially enjoyed living in New York City, but disliked the way the city had changed and wanted to move back to North Carolina. His work in New York was primarily as a dishwasher at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, and he explains in detail all aspects of his work. He discusses his union involvement in North Carolina and New York; the fact that he was involved with the organization of both unions; that white textile workers refused to join the Textile Workers Union of America Local 265 in North Carolina; and difficulties he faced unionizing Columbia Presbyterian Hospital prior to 1973.

Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union (New York, N.Y.)


1975 October 24
Box: 15 Reel : 51a - 51b (Master reel [31142054874550])
Box: 16 Reel : 51c - 51d (Master reel [31142054874568])
Box: 100 Cassette : 341a - 341b (Master cassette [31142054875409]) Ethnicity

Scope and Content Note

This recording contains excerpts from various interviews in this collection, regarding ethnicity and relations between different racial and ethnic groups. The volume and sound quality of the recording fluctuate between excerpts, and there are sometimes long spaces of dead air between excerpts. These excerpts cover the presence of particular ethnic groups in certain neighborhoods and occupations; conflict and polarization among ethnic groups; and the development of understanding and friendly relations among these groups.

See also: Crupi, Carolina; Hyman, Bella; Lewis, Ivan; Sutton, Kathleen; and Torres, Tony.

Puerto Ricans |x Cultural assimilation |z New York (State) |z New York.


Undated
Box: 101 Cd : ref341a (Access cd [31142054875417])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 241 (Access cassette) Family

Scope and Content Note

This recording contains excerpts of different interviews regarding the concept of family. The volume and sound quality of the recording fluctuate between excerpts. These excerpts cover the relationships between parents and their children and among siblings. They cover topics relating to how immigration to the United States (US) affected the family unit including the struggle between Americanization and the desire to uphold tradition; the ways in which immigrants learned English; family rules; the differences in child rearing between generations; the sequence of immigration among family members; the influence of religion in the US; the impact of education on a family's quality of life; and the delineation of the woman's sphere of the home and the man's sphere of work.

See also: Fischetti, Maria; Hyman, Bella; Lewis, Ivan; and Torres, Tony.


Undated
Box: 16 Reel : 52a - 52b (Master reel [31142054874568])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 81a-b (Access cassette) Farber, Sonia: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Sonia Farber was born in a small town in Ukraine, Russia. Her family moved to Kiev when she was an infant. Farber immigrated to the United States in 1907. She was a garment worker and a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. She married and had at least one child.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Bruce Trigg at Sonia Farber's home at the Cooperative Apartments of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. The date of the interview is unknown. The interview covers Sonia Farber's early life in Kiev, Russia; her political activity; her immigration to the United States (US); her first impressions of New York City; and her working life. Farber describes her childhood in Kiev, including her education at a private school and obtaining the patronage of a wealthy neighbor who paid her tuition. She describes the Pale of Settlement in Russia, explaining in which cities Jews were allowed to live. She discusses her involvement as a teenager in an anarchist movement in Kiev and the terrorist and syndicalist movements within it. She describes her immigration to the US, including being delayed and having to travel back into eastern Europe due to illness; losing tickets and luggage due to the delays and backtracking; and traveling in first and third class. She describes her first jobs in New York City, including pretending to know how to sew in order to secure a job and working as a finisher in a skirt factory. In describing her union activity, she recounts attempting to organize the skirt factory and joining the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU). She relates the early history of the ILGWU and mentions being a member of the Executive and Joint Boards of the ILGWU.

Women labor union leaders |z United States.
Women anarchists |z Russia.
Labor unions |x Officials and employees |z United States.


Undated
Box: 82 Reel : 802a - 802b (Master reel [31142054875227])
Box: 1 Folder : 20 Farber, Sonia: Transcript and Summary
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 42a-b (Access cassette) Farkas, Bella: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Bella Farkas was born in Poland in 1902. She was one of four children. Her father owned a general store. She immigrated to the United States in 1920 and settled in New York, New York. She lived in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan and in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. She worked as a dressmaker and was a member of an unspecified union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union).

Scope and Content Note

This interviewed was conducted by Martin Lesser on March 28, 1973 at Bella Farkas' home in the Kew Gardens neighborhood of Queens, New York. The interview covers Farkas' early life in Poland, her immigration to the United States (US), her working life, and her union activity. She describes life in her town during and after World War I, including occupation by German soldiers and rising anti-Semitism in the town after Poland gained its independence from the Russian Empire in 1918. She describes her immigration to the US and her happiness in coming to the US. She recalls living in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan and in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn and her preference for Harlem. She discusses working for private dressmakers and traveling from Williamsburg into lower Manhattan to work. She discusses her membership in an unspecified union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union); the differences in working for a union shop and a non-union shop; and strikes in which she was involved during the 1930s.

See also: Neighborhood, and Passage.


1973 March 28
Box: 82 Reel : 804a - 804b (Master reel [31142054875227])
Box: 1 Folder : 21 Farkas, Bella: Transcript; Summary; and Subject Cards
1973 March 28
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 13a-b (Access cassette) Feldstein, Sylvia: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Sylvia Feldstein was born in Russia in 1896 and graduated from a secondary school in Odessa in 1914. She emigrated from Russia with her mother and some of her siblings in the 1920s. She lived in Paris, France between 1921 and 1930 and worked as a cap maker. She met her husband and gave birth to their first son in Paris. The family immigrated to the United States in 1930 and settled in New York, New York. They lived in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan and the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. Her second child was born in the 1930s. After her elder son enlisted in the United States Navy in 1945, she returned to work as a machine operator in garment factories. She was a member of an unspecified union (likely the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America or the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union). Her husband worked as a printer and was a member of an unspecified printers' union (likely the International Typographical Union).

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Rona Weiss on April 19, 1973 at Sylvia Feldstein's home in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. The interview covers Feldstein's life in Russia and France, her immigration to the United States, her working life, and her family. Feldstein recounts some of her family's experiences during the First Balkan War, World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the pogroms in 1919, and the fact that these events led to her family's emigration from Russia. She recounts the route through which they fled Russia, including waiting in Warsaw, Poland for visas. She describes her life in Paris, France, including meeting her husband and working in a cap factory. She recalls her first impressions of New York, New York as unfavorable, particularly in comparison to Paris. She describes her apartments in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan. She discusses her work as a machine operator in garment factories in Brooklyn and New Jersey. Other topics include traveling to Moscow, Paris, and Israel after her retirement and reading the works of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

Millinery workers |z France.


1973 April 19
Box: 83 Reel : 806a - 806b (Master reel [31142054875235])
Box: 1 Folder : 22 Feldstein, Sylvia: Transcript; Summary; and Subject Cards
1973 April 19
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 166 (Access cassette) Ferrentino, Rosario and Mario Cinisomo: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Rosario Ferrentino and Mario Cinisomo were both longshoremen of Italian descent and members of the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1814.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by David Lightner on April 4, 1974 at the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) Union Hall on Court Street in Brooklyn, New York. Topics of discussion include the availability and types of work for longshoremen; the hiring process and wages; and accidents on the waterfront. Mario Cinisomo and Rosario Ferrentino discuss the different types of work done by longshoremen; the fact that each job had different levels of danger; that some jobs were dependent on the weather; and that all jobs were supervised differently by the foremen. They recall that in the early 1920s, workers usually worked one or two days a week, increasing to three or four days a week before the Great Depression; that during the Great Depression employment opportunities were limited; that work was steady after the Great Depression; and, at the time of the interview, there was more stability in the field because of rules implemented by the ILA. Cinisomo recalls standing on the corner of Columbia Street and President Street at five in the morning in an attempt to be hired each day, and going to each dock if he was not hired on the corner. He explains that some workers were hired as a group rather than individually. Ferrentino discusses occasionally working a full day but only getting paid for half and making 36 cents an hour. Cinisomo and Ferrentino discuss workplace accidents, including winches falling out of gear and boxes falling on workers. They discuss their belief that accidents were unavoidable in the industry and the fact that there was little or no injury compensation.

See also: Canossa, Bruno; Cinisomo, Mario.

Depressions |y 1929 |z New York (State) |z New York.


1974 April 4
Box: 90 Reel : 872a - 872b (Master reel [31142054875300])
Box: 1 Folder : 23 Ferrentino, Rosario and Mario Cinisomo: Subject Cards
1974 April 4
Box: No Master Fields, [Unknown]

Biographical Note

Mr. Fields was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands in the early 1900s and grew up in Vienna, Austria-Hungary. In Vienna he was an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army and employed as a banker. He immigrated to the United States (US) in 1929, where he worked in multiple industries.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted at the Council Workshop for Senior Citizens on 125th Street in Manhattan, New York. The interviewer and date are unknown, as is the first name of the narrator. The main topics of the interview include Mr. Fields' life in Austria-Hungary; his immigration to, first impressions of, and early experiences in the United States (US); his employment; his leisure activities; and his living situation in the US. Fields recalls his early life in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, including his father's employment with the Hamburg America Line; his memories of the 1918 flu epidemic; his employment by two of the major banks in Austria; and the effects of the 1929 stock market crash on his work in Vienna. He discusses his immigration to the US, including his loneliness and seasickness during the voyage, and his belief that he would have died in the Nazi concentration camps had he not left Austria-Hungary. Fields' first impressions of the US include feeling comfortable in New York, New York because he had seen it in movies; realizing that his immigrant status would prevent him from finding employment commensurate with his experience; and prioritizing finding a job and a place to live.

Fields discusses his employment, including working for an antique fabric dealer; teaching German and French through the Works Progress Administration; censoring the letters of German prisoners of war for the US War Department; and working in a factory. Fields discusses leisure activities in which he participated, including hiking, rock climbing, and cycling; reading On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin; watching Charlie Chaplin's propaganda films and his belief that Chaplin was one of the greatest comedians of all time; and enjoying music and the theater. He discusses his living situation at the time of the interview; feeling that he never found a decent place to live; being convinced that his landlords were mentally ill; and believing that if he wrote a book about his experiences living in furnished rooms he would make a lot of money.

See also: Council Workshop for Senior Citizens IV.

United States. Works Progress Administration (N.Y.)


Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 157 (Access cassette) Fischetti, Maria: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Maria Fischetti was born in 1901 in Sant'Angelo de Lombardi, Italy. She married in 1916. Her husband immigrated to the United States (US) about a year after their marriage and she immigrated to the US in 1920. They lived in the South Brooklyn area of Brooklyn, New York and had six children. She worked in the garment industry and was a member of an unspecified union (likely the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America).

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Joan Granucci at the Congress of Italian Americans Organization (CIAO) in Brooklyn, New York on May 8, 1974. The interview covers Maria Fischetti's early life in Italy, her immigration to the United States (US), her working life, and her family. Fischetti discusses her early life in Sant'Angelo de Lombardi, Italy, including her family's vineyard and her courtship and marriage. She discusses her husband's immigration to the US; his work as a peddler and construction worker in the US; and her life with his parents before her immigration in 1920. She discusses joining the workforce after her children were grown and working in garment factories making sweaters, ladies' coats, and men's suits. She discusses her husband's illness after she returned to work and his willingness to do housework while she was at work. Other topics include her religion; her children; differences in South Brooklyn over the 50 years she lived there; and her volunteer work at CIAO.

See also: Family, and Neighborhood.

An electronic transcript of this interview is also available by request.


1974 May 8
Box: 90 Reel : 874a (Master reel [31142054875300])
Box: 1 Folder : 24 Fischetti, Maria: Index
1974 May 8
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 46a-b, 47 (Access cassette) Fox, Abe: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Abe Fox was born in Russia in 1890. He was one of eight children, with four brothers and three sisters. His father made and sold glass windows. Fox attended school in Russia for two years before apprenticing to a tailor. He immigrated to the United States in 1906 and lived on the East Side of Manhattan, New York before moving to the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1916. He married when he was around 20 years old and had three children. He worked as a tailor in various shops in New York City and was an active member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Local 23.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Mark Hirsch on July 3, 1973 at Abe Fox's home. Fox's accent, his tendency to mumble, and the fluctuation of volume over the course of the interview make him hard to understand. The interview covers Fox's childhood in Russia; his immigration to the United States (US) in 1906; and his work in the garment industry in New York, New York. Fox begins the interview by describing his childhood in Russia, focusing on anti-Semitism in his hometown, which included pogroms and abuse by the police. He recounts not being paid during the three years of his tailoring apprenticeship and receiving meager pay for his long hours of work after his apprenticeship. He recounts the Socialist Revolutionary Party meeting at his house and learning more about Socialism at the library until his library card was destroyed when it was learned that he was Jewish.

Fox explains that he immigrated to the US in 1906 after several failed attempts to illegally cross the border into Austria in order to sail from a port in Poland. He discusses living with his aunt's family on the East Side of Manhattan, recalling his acclimation to the spring weather and the low cost of food in New York City. He describes his first job in a garment shop in New York City and explains that, in the beginning, he had to bring his own machine to work. He notes that although he joined the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) Local 23 in order to fight for better wages, hours, and working conditions, change was slow due to factions within the union and corruption among the union leaders. He recalls a strike that occurred in the early 1950s, through which workers acquired a twenty percent wage increase despite conflicts with strikebreakers brought in from Chicago, Illinois. He discusses the ILGWU opening a school to train machine operators and the union becoming more inclusive, particularly in terms of the Italian population's involvement. He explains that different skill levels and job types had different wage standards in the union and discusses working conditions in the garment shops. He recounts that he established a ready-made garment store on Pitkin Avenue in Brooklyn with his brother and step-father, noting that the people paid to guard the store broke in and stole all the merchandise.

Other topics include a comparison of his impression of the US before and after his immigration; his tumultuous relationships with his father and step-father; his lack of knowledge regarding pregnancy and sex prior to his marriage; his leisure activities, including reading the newspaper, playing pinochle, and attending shows at the Jewish theater; and his views on the birth control movement, the rise of political power among the Cuban and black populations, and the migration of Jews to the suburbs.

See also: Life Before Immigration or Migration; Interview Compilation for Radio Broadcast; and Passage.

Antisemitism |z Russia |x History |y 20th century.
Pogroms |z Russia |x History |y 20th century.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 23-25 (New York, N.Y.)


1973 July 3
Box: 90 Reel : 876a (Master reel [31142054875300])
Box: 91 Reel : 876b - 876d (Master reel [31142054875318])
Box: 1 Folder : 25 Fox, Abe: Subject Cards
1973 July 3
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 214, 214a (Access cassette) Fox, Gladys

Biographical Note

Gladys Fox was born on the island of Nevis in Saint Kitts and Nevis. She worked as a teacher until she immigrated to the United States in 1947. After her immigration, Fox worked in a dry cleaners and as a pediatric nurses' aide before studying early childhood development at Fordham University in the Bronx, New York. She worked at Morrisania Hospital in the Bronx until she retired in 1972 and was a member of Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union.

Scope and Content Note

The interview with Gladys Fox was conducted by Jay Facciolo at the offices of Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union in Manhattan, New York in 1975. The main subjects of this interview include Fox's life and career in the British West Indies, her immigration to the United States (US), and her work in the US healthcare system after her immigration. Fox discusses her life in Saint Kitts and Nevis, including being the youngest of seven children; her father working as a carpenter and being away from the family because of his work; and learning to read, write, and perform multiplication and division by the age of four. She recalls beginning the process of becoming a teacher in the British West Indies at 15 years old, and becoming frustrated with her lack of advancement after teaching for over 20 years. She mentions her immigration; the fact that she initially came to the US with no intention of staying permanently; and the fact that she was required to leave the country through Canada before she could become a citizen. She recounts living with her two older sisters in the US, and feeling that she was imposing because she was over 40 years old when she immigrated. She discusses having trouble finding well paying work; receiving a certificate to be a pediatric nurses' aide; and studying early childhood education at Fordham University in the Bronx. She discusses working for hospitals such as the Flowers Fifth Avenue Hospital in Valhalla, New York; St. Luke's Hospital in Manhattan, New York; and Morrisania Hospital in the Bronx, New York.

Fox elaborates on her time at Morrisania Hospital, including the fact that she was quickly given a supervisory position. Fox recalls that there were disagreements between the staff at Morrisania Hospital and workers contracted from Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, because of differences in pay; and becoming a member of the Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union. She also mentions that she still worked for the Local 1199 at the time of the interview as a corresponding secretary, sending birthday cards to retirees; attending conferences; and serving on a number of committees.

Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union (New York, N.Y.)


1975
Box: 16 Reel : 59a (Master reel [31142054874568])
Box: 17 Reel : 59b - 59c (Master reel [31142054874576])
Box: 101 Cd : ref60 (Access cd [31142054875417]) Frasca, Corrado

Biographical Note

Corrado Frasca was born in Pollago, Italy on February 6, 1908. His father died when he was six months old and his mother remarried. He had two sisters and one step-brother, all of whom remained in Italy. Frasca married and had one son. He spent most of his life as a longshoreman but also worked as peddler, grocer, and brewer of moonshine.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by John Jentz and Frank Farragaso at a senior citizen center on Court Street in Brooklyn, New York (likely the Carroll Park Senior Center). The date of the interview is unknown. This interview covers Corrado Frasca's childhood in Pollago Italy; his illegal immigration to the United States (US) in 1926; and his life and work as a longshoreman in Brooklyn. Frasca begins this interview by describing his childhood in Pollago, Italy, recalling doing simple jobs for the local fishermen and seamen when he was eight years old. He explains that he moved to Genoa when he was twelve and worked for several years aboard a passenger ship. He discusses an uncle in New York encouraging him to come to the United States, and Frasca jumping ship in Norfolk, Virginia in 1926. He describes traveling to Baltimore, Maryland to avoid the authorities and locals who spoke Italian coming to his aid by giving him room and board free of charge. Frasca explains that his uncle brought him to Brooklyn where he began working as a longshoreman. He describes shifting occupations depending on the seasons; working on ships going to South America in the winter; working as a longshoreman in Brooklyn during the rest of the year; and later establishing his own business as a peddler and fruit seller. Frasca mentions joining a club established by immigrants from his hometown and the club providing social and fiscal support to its members during hard times. He describes how he met his wife, an American citizen, through his uncle, who served as a matchmaker in their apartment building.

Throughout the interview, Frasca describes a tension between his Italian heritage and his new life in the US, including his refusal to be stationed in Italy during World War II for fear of fighting his family and the way in which he gradually learned English through his wife and conversations he had with non-Italian longshoremen with whom he worked. He describes the differences between his generation and his son's generation, noting his opinion that the younger generation is less social and less attached to traditional family values.


Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 175 (Access cassette)
Box: 17 Reel : 60a - 60b (Master reel [31142054874576])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 205 (Access cassette) Fulwood, Ophelia

Biographical Note

Ophelia Fullwood was born in Morganton, North Carolina. She migrated north in 1941 and worked in Dover, Delaware and New York, New York. She worked in an ammunition factory and as a maid in private homes and hotels. She was employed as a maid at the time of the interview. She was a member of the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees International Union Local 6.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted in the Bronx, New York by Sasha Silverstein on December 7, 1975. Main topics include Ophelia Fulwood's life in North Carolina, her migration north, her work as a maid, and her union activities. Fullwood recalls her early years in North Carolina including being raised by her mother's cousin; giving water to the workers on her grandfather's farm during the harvest season; leaving school in eighth grade to work as a maid; and learning about sex. Some of her first impressions of New York, New York include being shocked by the segregation in the US; not having warm clothes; and being afraid to be alone in New York City. She discusses her work as a maid, including her work schedule; the fact that she quit her job when her employers had marital problems; and that employment opportunities often came by word of mouth. When discussing her feelings on being a maid, Fulwood mentioned preferring day labor over sleep-in positions; that she loved being able to control her own schedule at the time of the interview; and that she was firm during the hiring process about what type of work she would do and how much she should be paid for it.

African American women household employees |v Interviews.
Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees International Union. Local 6 (Hotel, Restaurant and Club Employees Union) (New York, N.Y.)


1975 December 17
Box: 17 Reel : 61a (Master reel [31142054874576])
Box: 18 Reel : 61b (Master reel [31142054874584])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 225 (Access cassette) Galinas, Mary MacCarthy: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Mary MacCarthy Galinas was born on a farm in the late 1890s in County Kerry, Ireland and was the eldest of six children. She lived in Dublin, Ireland and London, England before immigrating to the United States in 1926, where she lived in Boston, Massachusetts and New York, New York. She worked as a waitress and married a French Canadian cook, with whom she had one daughter.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was recorded on April 16, 1973 at the Kingsbridge Heights Nursing Home in the Bronx, New York. The interviewer is likely Mary B. Alexander. The interview covers Mary MacCarthy Galinas' early life in Ireland and Great Britain, her immigration to the United States (US), her working life, and her family. Galinas recounts leaving her home in County Kerry, Ireland to care for her uncle's family in Dublin; moving to London, England to live with her sister; and remembering London as a place where British, Irish, and Scots all lived together harmoniously. She recounts her pride in being able to save a great deal of money before immigrating to the US. Topics regarding her life in Boston, Massachusetts include meeting her husband in one of the restaurants where she worked; continuing to work after her marriage and the birth of her daughter; and being unable to continue to save money after her marriage and the theft of her savings. Her discussion of New York, New York includes her decision to move there in the 1940s to gain better education opportunities for her daughter.


1973 April 16
Box: 83 Reel : 808a - 808b (Master reel [31142054875235])
Box: 1 Folder : 26 Galinas, Mary MacCarthy: Transcript
1973 April 16
Box: 101 Cd : ref62 (Access cd [31142054875417]) Gavin, Jimmy

Biographical Note

Jimmy Gavin was born in 1901 in Ballyvary, County Mayo, Ireland. He was one of eight children. His father was a building contractor, and his mother was a teacher until her marriage. Gavin attended an English national school in Ireland. He was a member of Irish Republican Army (IRA) and fought in both the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War. He immigrated to the United States (US) during the mid-1920s. Gavin worked as a boatswain for the United States Coast Guard as well as for various commercial vessels. He was a member of the International Seamen's Union of America (ISU), a representative for the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), and an organizer for both of the aforementioned organizations.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by David Rosenberg and Mark Hirsch on two different dates in May 1974. The first interview was conducted by Rosenberg and Hirsch at an unknown location. A man identified as John also contributes to the interview. The second interview was conducted by Rosenberg at Jimmy Gavin's home in Brooklyn, New York. The volume of the recording fluctuates throughout the interview. This interview covers Gavin's childhood in Ireland; his involvement in the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War; his immigration to the United States (US); and his work as a boatswain and an organizer for both the International Seamen's Union of America (ISU) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Gavin begins by explaining that he does not believe that the working class knows its own history, providing a timeline of events that he considers important to the development of the working class. He describes his childhood in Ireland, recalling his attendance at an English national school; his love of the Gaelic language and Irish history and literature; fishing and hunting trips; and the contrast between his father, who was a Marxist and anti-religion, and his mother, a devout Catholic. He describes joining the Irish Republican Army (IRA); leaving home at his father's behest in order to protect his family; not having a permanent home; learning how to use a gun; switching sides various times over the course of both the the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War; and returning briefly to his home after he was declared dead.

Gavin recounts traveling through England and deciding to immigrate to the US because the English police knew him to be a member of the IRA. He recalls writing to an aunt in the US who sent him the money to immigrate. He explains that he initially settled in Chicago, Illinois, where he worked transferring freight from boats. He describes his time working for the United States Coast Guard; the development of the ISU; his move to New York, New York; his contribution to organizing the Seamen's Unemployment Council in 1932; and various strikes for better conditions, particularly in terms of food quality and working hours. Other topics include his opinions on politicians and journalists; his political views; his work dissuading strikebreakers from occupying positions that union workers had vacated while on strike; and his trips across the US to organize labor unions.

See also: Immigration, Migration, and First Impressions of New York, New York and the United States; and Unionization.

Related Materials

New Yorkers at Work Oral History Collection, OH.001--Jimi Gavin.

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives Labor and Radicalism Photograph Collection, PHOTOS.001--Gavin, D. J. ("Jimi").

Marine Workers Historical Collection, TAM.125--Gavin, James (Jimmy): Memoirs and Poetry (unpublished).

Ireland |x History |y Civil War, 1922-1923.
Ireland -- History -- War of Independence, 1919-1921
International Seamen's Union of AmericaCongress of Industrial Organizations (U.S.)Irish Republican Army


1974 May
Box: 18 Reel : 62a - 62d (Master reel [31142054874584])
Box: 19 Reel : 62e - 62g (Master reel [31142054874592])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 246 (Access cassette) Geiss, Amelia

Biographical Note

Amelia Geiss was born in Hanover, Germany in 1909. She immigrated to the United States in 1929. She settled in New York, New York, where she met and married her husband. She worked mainly in restaurants and volunteered at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center in Manhattan after her retirement.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on April 19, 1974 by Scott Weir at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center in Manhattan, New York. The majority of this interview, covering the first 25 years of Amelia Geiss' life, was not recorded. Topics covered include Geiss' relationship with her husband; her experiences during the Great Depression; racial and ethnic tensions in her community in New York, New York; and her work at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center. Geiss spends the majority of the interview discussing her relationship with her husband, Bill, including how he was separated from his first wife when they first began their relationship; the fact that his estranged wife stalked Geiss; and the fact that she moved multiple times to escape this harassment. She discusses her husband's work as an electrician at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. She recalls that they survived the Great Depression due to the fact that they both were able to work. She discusses the community she lived in at the time of the interview, including how ethnic discrimination had gotten worse over time, and that the community had more problems at the time of the interview because it was no longer predominantly German. She discusses her volunteer work at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center, including the fact that she joined so that she and her husband would not fight after they retired; her fundraising efforts; both she and her husband being recognized by New York City for their work at the Center; and her participation on the Board of Directors.


1974 April 19
Box: 19 Reel : 63a - 63b (Master reel [31142054874592])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 83, 84a-b (Access cassette) Geller, Bessie: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Bessie Geller was born in a small town in the Kiev region in Russia in the late 1890s. She was one of five children. Her father ran an unspecified business. Her mother helped Geller secretly hire a tutor for lessons in Russian literature, language, history, and geography. She was apprenticed in an unspecified trade in Russia and worked in an unspecified industry in the United States (US). She immigrated to the US with her sister and a friend in 1912, and the rest of her family immigrated the following year. She initially stayed with an uncle in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and later lived in both Chicago, Illinois and New York, New York. She attended an unspecified preparatory school in order to learn English. She married and had three daughters. Geller was an active Socialist and Anarchist and attended lectures, clubs, and meetings in order to learn more about radical political ideologies.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted on April 12 and April 22, 1974 by an unknown interviewer at an unknown location. The volume of the recording fluctuates, and there are large spaces of dead air between some sections. This interview covers Bessie Geller's childhood in Russia; her immigration to the United States (US) in 1912; and her participation in Socialism, Anarchism, and other radical political movements. Geller describes her father's reluctance to let her attend school in Russia, explaining that he believed that she would never find a husband if she was educated. She notes that the schools near her town were a privilege primarily for the children of the wealthy and not for Jewish children, but she recalls that her mother aided her in finding a tutor who instructed her in Russian, literature, and other subjects. She recounts wanting to immigrate to the US because she wanted to become independent from her parents; broaden the scope of her studies; and avoid an arranged marriage. She describes immigrating to the US with her sister and friend in 1912 and her mother convincing her father to sell his business and immigrate to the US with the rest of the family a year later.

Geller recounts moving to Chicago, Illinois a few years after her family settled in New York, New York, in order to attend college and remain independent from her family. She focuses on her involvement in Socialism and Anarchism, recalling her approval of Socialist ideals of brotherhood and consideration; attending Socialist lectures, including one by Chaim Zhitlowsky; describing the relationships between different radical political ideologies; and comparing the radical political movements at the time of the interview with those of the past. She describes moving back to New York in 1927; raising her three daughters; and establishing a new group of friends among the members of radical political groups in New York City.

Other topics include anecdotes about the life of her tutor; her love of the Yiddish language and Yiddish literature; her brief stay with her uncle and cousins in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; her children and grandchildren's educations, jobs, and marriages; her dislike of Communism; the hardships she endured when her children died; differences in how she and her mother handled their grief in regards to the loss of their children; the genealogy of her family; and her lifelong love of learning.

See also: Life Before Immigration or Migration; Politics; Leisure; and Ethnicity.

Related Materials

New Yorkers at Work Oral History Collection, OH.001--Bessie Geller.

Jews, Russian |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.
Women socialists |z New York (State) |z New York.
Women anarchists -- Political activity.


1974 April 12 and 22
Box: 20 Reel : 64a - 64d (Master reel [31142054874600])
Box: 1 Folder : 108 Geller, Bessie: Summary and Subject Card
1974 April 12 and 22
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 160a-b (Access cassette) Gelo, Grace: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Grace Gelo was born in 1900 in Tunis, Tunisia. Her father was born in Sicily, Italy and immigrated to Tunisia after his military service in Italy. He worked as a shoemaker. Her mother was born in Sicily and immigrated as a small child with her family to Tunisia. The family immigrated to the United States (US) in 1914 and lived in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York.

Gelo worked in the garment industry and was a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU). She married John Gelo, who was born in Italy and immigrated to the US in 1907. He was a member, organizer, and official of the ILGWU Local 89. He was a delegate of the American Labor Party and of the ILGWU. They lived in Brooklyn and had three daughters.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Janice Albert in 1974 at an unspecified location. The interview covers Grace Gelo's childhood in Tunis, Tunisia; her immigration to the United States (US); her working life; her husband's union and political activity; and their children. Gelo discusses her childhood in Tunis, including her education and her parents' backgrounds. She provides a short history of the colonization of Tunisia and of the ethnic groups in Tunis. She discusses her family's immigration to the US and the ethnic groups in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. She discusses her strict upbringing and rules her father imposed upon her; her courtship with her husband under these rules; and her younger sister's rebellion against the rules. She discusses having to leave school in order to work to support her family and working as a finisher on men's clothes. She describes the first factory in which she worked; the ethnic demographics of the workers, mainly Italian and Jewish, and the language barrier between the two groups; and her unhappiness in her work and her difficulty communicating with the Jewish workers. She describes working conditions in the factories; her dissatisfaction with them; and her opinion that the workers were seriously mistreated.

Gelo discusses her husband's union and political activity; his participation in early organizing efforts of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU), particularly in 1909, and his election as a delegate of the American Labor Party (ALP). She discusses attending conventions with her husband, including American Federation of Labor national conventions, ILGWU national conventions, and political conventions as a delegate of the ALP. Other topics include her father's insistence that his children retain their Italian identity in both Tunisia and US; her participation in social activities at the time of the interview; and her daughters.

See also: Life Before Immigration or Migration; and Immigration, Migration, and First Impressions of New York, New York and the United States.

An electronic transcript of this interview is also available by request.

Italians |z Tunisia |x History |y 20th century.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 89 (New York, N.Y.)


1974
Box: 101
Box: 91 Reel : 878a - 878b (Master reel [31142054875318])
Box: 92 Reel : 878c (Master reel [31142054875326])
Box: 1 Folder : 27 Gelo, Grace: Summary and Index
1974
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 58 (Access cassette) Glick, Hyman: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Hyman Glick was born Hyman Gleot in Vilna, Russia in 1883. He had five brothers and two sisters. His father was a teacher at a cheder, or Jewish elementary school. Glick attended university and married in Dvinsk, Russia. He immigrated to the United States (US) in 1902 and changed his name to Glick. He lived in the US for three years before his wife immigrated with their son.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Suzanne Michel at Hyman Glick's home in Brooklyn, New York on October 21, 1974. One of Glick's grandsons assists in the interview but is not identified by name. The interview covers Glick's childhood in Vilna, Russia; his immigration to the United States (US); his working life; and his family. Glick discusses his education at a cheder in Vilna until the age of 18 and at a university in Dvinsk, Russia where he studied chemistry and trained as a dyer. He discusses his wife and mother-in-law deciding for him to immigrate to the US in order to avoid being drafted into the Russian Army; living with his wife's relatives in the US; and his wife's uncle deciding he should change his name from Gleot to Glick because it was easier to spell. He recounts finding and losing jobs in different industries before settling in the dry cleaning industry; the salary he received; and the number of days he worked per week at these jobs. He discusses borrowing money in order to bring his wife and son over to the US and living in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan. He recounts his business ventures, including buying two dry cleaning stores in Manhattan and buying and selling dry cleaning stores in order to make a profit. Other topics include attending movies and the Yiddish theater on Sundays and collecting clothes from customers with a horse and wagon in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Dry cleaning industry |x Employees |z New York (State)


1974 October 21
Box: 92 Reel : 883a - 883b (Master reel [31142054875326])
Box: 1 Folder : 29 Glick, Hyman: Subject Cards
1974 October 21
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 210 (Access cassette) Godet, Rose

Biographical Note

Rose Godet was born in the Dominican Republic in 1896. She was of French descent. She immigrated to the United States with her father in 1919. She worked in Manhattan, New York for the Charles Broadway Rouss department store as a saleswoman, as a translator for a mail order company, and as a packager for the National Biscuit Company.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on April 24, 1973 by Victor Scheluchin at the Council Workshop for Senior Citizens, on 125th Street in Manhattan, New York. The main topics discussed include Rose Godet's childhood in the Dominican Republic, her feelings about immigrating to the United States (US), her work experience, and her personal experiences in New York, New York. Godet begins by discussing her early life in the Dominican Republic, including being of French descent; speaking multiple languages; and her father working for the Puccini Shipping Company. Her early experiences in New York City include living on 140th Street in Manhattan; deciding to only live in Manhattan; disliking living in the US initially because she had never worked before; feeling lonely in the city; and finding the US to be substantially more expensive than the Dominican Republic. Godet discusses her confusion regarding segregation, having never witnessed white flight before coming to the US. She discusses her personal experiences during the Prohibition era and the Great Depression, including an Irish friend giving her bootleg liquor, though she did not like the taste; enjoying visiting speakeasies; and being employed pressing silk underwear. She talks about World War II and her fear of air raid drills; that minimum wage requirements implemented by Franklin Roosevelt were not enforced; and her belief that the US government would pull men off the streets and force them into the military. She notes her work experience, which included working as a saleswoman and interpreter for the Charles Broadway Rouss department store on Broadway in Manhattan and learning to type in order to work for a mail order company translating orders received in Spanish or French. She discusses her employment at the National Biscuit Company packing cookies after she began to lose her eyesight, and feeling exploited by the company due to the minimal vacation time, long hours, and low wages.

Segregation |z New York (State) |z New York.
Prohibition |z New York (State) |z New York


1973 April 24
Box: 20 Reel : 67a (Master reel [31142054874600])
Box: 21 Reel : 67b (Master reel [31142054874618])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 82 (Access cassette) Goldman, Minna: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Minna Goldman was born in Bucharest, Romania in the late 19th century and was the eldest of seven children. She immigrated to the United States (US) and returned to Romania twice before settling permanently in the US. Her first immigration to the US was in 1907 with her father and younger brother, who died in the Netherlands during their travels. Goldman and her father settled in New York, New York, where her father worked as an umbrella maker and she worked in a blouse factory. They returned to Romania after six months in the US. Goldman returned to the US in 1910 with a cousin and worked refurbishing old umbrellas. She saved enough money to buy passage for her parents and five siblings though they declined to travel. She returned to Romania in 1912 and resumed her education. After leaving school, she worked in a foreign language bookstore and for the American Red Cross in Bucharest. She returned to the US in 1920. She worked in a bank before meeting her husband, who was a pharmacist and owned a pharmacy. She worked in the pharmacy until the birth of their daughter. After the death of her husband, she worked for the Jewish Labor Committee in Manhattan.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on April 18, 1974. The interviewer and location are unknown. The interview covers Minna Goldman's multiple immigrations to the United States (US) and returns to Romania, her working life in both countries, and her extended family. Goldman discusses her multiple immigrations to the US between 1907 and 1920 and her reasons for returning to Romania before permanently settling in the US in 1920. She discusses the pogrom that led to her initial immigration with her father and one of her brothers in 1907; the death of her brother during their travels; and her father's decision to return to Romania after six months in US. She discusses her father's work as an umbrella maker and his decision to send her to work rather than school, in order to save money for their return to Romania. She describes her unhappiness at having to leave the US as she felt it had a more egalitarian society than Romania. She recalls her decision to return to the US in 1910 and forego her education in order to work and save money to send to her family in Romania. She describes her work refurbishing old umbrellas and recalls her decision to return to Romania when her family decided not to immigrate to the US.

Goldman discusses resuming her education in Romania and learning French and English with a private tutor. She describes her work in a foreign language bookstore in Bucharest and how it led to her improving her knowledge of French and English. She discusses her work with the American Red Cross in Bucharest; the details of her job; and the types of people who came to them for assistance. She discusses her life during World War I, including the occupation of Romania by German soldiers; her opinion that Jews received fair treatment from the occupiers; the pogrom that devastated Bucharest's Jewish community after Armistice Day in 1919; and how that led to her decision to immigrate to the US for a third and final time.

In discussing her life in the US after her immigration in 1920, Goldman recounts her work at a bank before her marriage; her introduction to her husband; and her work with him in his pharmacy. She discusses the immigration patterns, careers, and marital histories of her siblings and her daughter's accomplishments.

Pogroms |z Romania |x History |y 20th century.
World War, 1914-1918 |z Romania.


1974 April 18
Box: 83 Reel : 810a (Master reel [31142054875235])
Box: 84 Reel : 810b (Master reel [31142054875243])
Box: 1 Folder : 30 Goldman, Minna: Transcript; Summary; and Subject Cards
1974 April 18
Box: 84 Reel : 814c - 814e (Master reel [31142054875243]) Goldman, Sam and Dora Shapiro: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Sam Goldman and Dora Shapiro were siblings born in Gorlice in Polish Galicia. They had one brother and two sisters. Their father managed an oil refinery where the family lived until it closed. Their mother managed a candy store owned by the family. Goldman immigrated to the United States in 1913, and Shapiro and the rest of the family immigrated in 1921.

Goldman worked in the fur industry and owned his own factory in New York, New York. He married in 1922. He was a member of the Freemasons.

Shapiro worked in the garment industry and was a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. She met her first husband during a vacation to Cuba and they married in 1929. They divorced a few years later and she married a second time.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by David Lamb at Sam Goldman's house in Brooklyn, New York in December 1973. Dora Shapiro, Goldman's sister, participates in the interview. The interview covers Goldman and Shapiro's childhood in Gorlice, Poland; their immigration experiences; and their working lives. They discuss their early lives in Gorlice, including the differences in their educations and the living arrangements of their family. They discuss the differences between religious and secular schools, including the curricula; the fact that only the most religious boys attended the religious schools; and games they would play during recess. Goldman and Shapiro describe Gorlice; the fact that Jews lived among other religious groups in the town; the relationship between the two groups, including anti-Semitism; the social hierarchy amongst the Jewish residents; and the layout and architecture of the town. They discuss their religious upbringing, in particular the separation between men and women and the fact that women were not required to attend religious services.

Goldman and Shapiro discuss their immigrations to the United States (US), including their reasons for immigrating; the processes by which they arranged their passages; the pattern in which their family members immigrated; and their voyages across the Atlantic Ocean. Goldman discusses the eight years during which he lived in the US without his family; the obligation he felt to provide support for his family in Poland; and his work in the fur industry, including owning his own business. Shapiro recounts the family's first impressions of New York, New York, including how bustling it seemed compared to their town in Poland and how crowded the city was. She discusses the education and work experiences of their siblings in the US.

Shapiro discusses her work in the garment industry in New York City, including the conditions in the factories in which she worked; the type of work she did, including folding, cutting, and draping dresses; and her feelings about the different types of work. She discusses her membership in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU), including strikes in which she participated.

Other topics include Goldman and Shapiro's opinions on socialism, Zionism, Judaism, and politics in the US; differences in citizenship requirements between the times each applied; how they met their spouses; and social activities in which they participated.

See also: Politics.

Gorlice (Poland) |x History.


1973 December
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 51a-b (Access cassette)
Box: 1 Folder : 31 Goldman, Sam and Dora Shapiro: Transcript; Summary; and Subject Cards
1973 December
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 15 (Access cassette) Goldstein, Anna: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Anna Goldstein was born in Romania. She immigrated to the United States in 1907. She worked in a garment factory on Orchard Street in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. She married in 1909 and had at least two children. She owned a health food store in the 1930s.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Wendy Fisher on March 24, 1973 at Anna Goldstein's home in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, New York. Goldstein was Fisher's grandmother. The interview covers Goldstein's immigration to the United States (US), her life in the US, and her family. Goldstein's train of thought can be hard to follow throughout the interview.

Goldstein discusses immigrating to the US in order to find work; arranging to have an acquaintance pay her passage to the US; and losing all of her possessions, including the addresses of her cousin and friend in New York, before arriving in the US. She recalls spending every night for two weeks looking for her cousin's store on Eldridge Street in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan. She describes her early experiences in New York City, including her living arrangements; her work in a garment factory; and the way in which she met her husband. She recounts returning to Romania after the birth of her first son in 1911; seeking a cure for his spastic diplegia in Bucharest; being trapped in Romania after the outbreak of the First Balkan War in 1912; and returning to the US in 1913. She discusses her husband's dress factory on Columbia Street in the Lower East Side and his bankruptcy while she was in Europe.

Balkan Peninsula |x History |y War of 1912-1913 |v Personal narratives.


1973 March 24
Box: 92 Reel : 885a - 885b (Master reel [31142054875326])
Box: 93 Reel : 885c (Master reel [31142054875334])
Box: 1 Folder : 32 Goldstein, Anna: Index
1973 March 24
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 50b (Access cassette) Goren, Pauline: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Pauline Winnik Goren was born in Pinsk, Russia around 1904. She was one of six children. Her father was a potato farmer and she managed his laborers. Her mother managed the household. One of her brothers worked as a furrier and the other was a lumber merchant.

Goren immigrated to the United States in 1921. Two of her brothers had immigrated 15 years before her and her parents immigrated six months after she did. She worked for a brief period in the fur industry. She married Sol Goren and had two daughters.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by David Lamb in Pauline Goren's home in Brooklyn, New York in December 1973. Topics include Goren's childhood in Russia, her immigration to the United States (US), and her life in the US. Goren discusses her childhood in Pinsk, Russia, including her family; her neighborhood; the hierarchy amongst Jews in the area; her education in religious and public schools; and the differences in education for boys and girls. She discusses religion, including her family being extremely religious and the difference in religious observance between men and women. She discusses her family's decision to immigrate to the US due to rising anti-Semitism and pogroms in Pinsk, and the outbreak of World War I. She recounts hiding during pogroms, sometimes with the aid of Catholic priests in her neighborhood. She describes her father's potato farm, including the ownership of the land and her father's lease on it; her management of the laborers, who were not Jewish; and the relationship between herself and the laborers. She describes the industries in Pinsk and the types of people employed in the factories. She discusses reactions to the Russian Revolution in Pinsk and her family's decision to immigrate soon after the Revolution. She discusses her family's chain of immigration and two of her brothers who lived in the US assisting her immigration.

Goren discusses her life in New York, New York, including attending school and working in the fur industry. She describes her work in the fur industry, initially in a factory finishing fur coats and then working in a fur showroom. She explains that she left the workforce when she married Sol Goren. Other topics include her social life before and after her marriage; her two daughter and their families; and the differences in education and religious observance in the US and Russia.

See also: Goren, Sol.

Pogroms |z Russia |x History |y 20th century.
Antisemitism |z Russia |x History |y 20th century.


1973 December
Box: 93 Reel : 887a (Master reel [31142054875334])
Box: 1 Folder : 33 Goren, Pauline: Summary and Subject Cards
1973 December
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 48a-b, 49 (Access cassette) Goren, Sol: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Sol Goren was born in 1903 in David-Gorodok, Russia. He was one of eight children. His parents owned a hotel, in which the family lived. His father was an employment agent for the local lumber industry and his mother managed the family's hotel. He and his family immigrated to the United States in 1922. He worked as an operator and a cutter in the fur industry and owned his own fur shop. He was a member of the International Fur and Leather Workers Union of the United States and Canada. He married Pauline Winnik Goren, with whom he had two daughters.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by David Lamb in December 1973 at Sol Goren's home in Brooklyn, New York. The interview covers Goren's early life in David-Gorodok, Russia, his immigration to the United States (US), his life in the US, his union activity, and his family. Goren discusses his early life in David-Gorodok, including his education and his participation in a local smuggling operation. He describes David-Gorodok, including the fact that Jews lived among other religious groups in town; the fact that anti-Semitism was common; the social hierarchy amongst the Jewish residents; political instability, due to control of the town being passed between different Russian gangs; and the participation of the residents in the Zionist movement and the General Jewish Labour Bund of Lithuania, Poland and Russia. He describes his immigration to the US and the fact that it coincided with a general emigration of Jews from his town. He discusses his family's assimilation in the US and their desire to leave behind all associations from the old world.

Goren discusses his working life in New York, New York, including his first job in a grocery store; a friend recommending him to a furrier; and his training in the fur trade. He discusses his movement through the fur industry, including opening his own fur shop on 7th Avenue in the Fur District neighborhood of Manhattan. He states that after the World War II, the racial and ethnic demographics of the industry changed from being predominantly Eastern European Jews to include more African American, Greek, and Puerto Rican employees. He describes the atmosphere in the factories and the relationship of the different ethnic and racial groups as amicable. He describes the conditions in the factories as poor but notes that he did not mind since he was happy simply to be in the US. He discusses the role of labor unions in the fur industry, including his membership in the International Fur and Leather Workers Union of the United States and Canada; his participation in strikes; attacks on strikebreakers by union members; and general violence during the strikes. He discusses attending union meetings infrequently and attempting to get along with his foremen.

Goren discusses his relationship with German Jews and his prejudice against them, except for the Warburg and Lehman families, whom he respected because of their assistance to Jewish immigrants. Other topics include reading The Forward and Zionist literature; not participating in any political movements in the US; and becoming a US citizen.

See also: Goren, Pauline.

Antisemitism |z Russia |x History |y 20th century.
Zionism |z Russia |x History |y 20th century.
International Fur and Leather Workers Union of the United States and CanadaAllgemeyner Idisher arbayṭerbund in Liṭa, Poylen un Rusland


1973
Box: 84 Reel : 816a (Master reel [31142054875243])
Box: 85 Reel : 816b - 816c (Master reel [31142054875250])
Box: 1 Folder : 34 Goren, Sol: Transcript and Subject Cards
1973
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 86 (Access cassette) Grabowetski, Minnie and Sam: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Minnie Grabowetski was born in Odessa, Russia in 1894. Her parents both died while she was young and she and her three sisters were raised in an orphanage. She worked in a bookbinding shop. She met Sam Grabowetski in Odessa and was engaged to him when she immigrated to the United States (US) in 1910.

Sam Grabowetski was born in Odessa in 1891. He worked in the bookbinding industry in Russia and in the US, and owned his own bindery in New York, New York. He was a member of the International Brotherhood of Bookbinders Local 119 for 40 years.

The Grabowetskis married in 1910 and settled on Montrose Avenue in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. They had three children, all of whom attended college. One of their sons owned a bookbinding shop at the time of the interview.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Joan Granucci on April 20, 1974 at the home of Minnie and Sam Grabowetski in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. The interview covers their childhoods in Russia, their immigrations to the United States (US), their working lives, and their family.

Sam Grabowetski describes his life in Odessa, including having a job in his brother's bookbinding shop; being able to afford nice clothes; and meeting his wife as she worked across the street from him. He discusses their decision to immigrate to the US; their separate immigrations; and his first impressions of the US. He describes his life in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, including the fact that he did not like his neighbors; a comparison of his living arrangements in Odessa and Brooklyn; and their life after their marriage. He recounts his work in the bookbinding industry in the US, including his first job, which he held for 14 years; his responsibilities at this job; and his salary. His discusses owning his own bookbinding factory and welcoming in the International Brotherhood of Bookbinders Local 119 when he opened his factory.

Minnie Grabowetski discusses her arrival in the US, including living with her uncle, aunt, and eight cousins; attending night school to learn English; and looking for a job. She discusses her life in Odessa, including her parents dying within six weeks of each other; growing up in an orphanage; and working making paper jewelry boxes. She recounts finding her first job in New York through connections from Odessa; saving enough money to bring Sam to the US; and working together to save enough money to bring her sisters to the US. She discusses working with her husband for 20 years in their bindery in order to save money to send their daughter to college.

Other topics include their children; Sam's membership in the Republican Party; and the community in Brooklyn during the first years of their marriage.

Bookbinders |z United States |v Interviews.
International Brotherhood of Bookbinders. Local 119 (New York, N.Y.)


1974 April 20
Box: 93 Reel : 890a - 890b (Master reel [31142054875334])
Box: 1 Folder : 35 Grabowetski, Minnie and Sam: Index
1974 April 20
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 144 (Access cassette) Granato, Dominick: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Dominick Granato was born in Sicily, Italy in 1895. He was a member of the Italian Navy from 1914 to 1919. He immigrated to the United States and settled in Omaha, Nebraska in 1920 before returning to Sicily four years later. In 1925 he returned to the US and settled in Brooklyn, New York with his wife. In Brooklyn, Granato was employed as a longshoreman and was a member of the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1814. He retired in 1960.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Joan Granucci and Martin Lesser on April 4, 1973. The location is likely the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) Union Hall on Court Street in Brooklyn, New York. Topics include Dominick Granato's life in Sicily, Italy; his family; and his work as a longshoreman. Granato recalls being a member of the Italian Navy from 1914 to 1919; immigrating to the United States (US) and settling in Omaha, Nebraska in 1920; and working in Nebraska for four years before returning to Sicily. He discusses marrying his wife during his return to Italy; remaining in Sicily for less than a year before returning to the US; and having three children. He describes his work as a longshoreman; joining the ILA in 1925; working in Hoboken, New Jersey and Staten Island, New York, as well as many piers in New York City; moving bags of sugar and cement for transport to the Panama Canal; standing on Columbia Street in Brooklyn in an attempt to find work; and making approximately 60 cents an hour. He also discusses working for the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression; retiring in 1960; and receiving 175 dollars a month through his pension.

An electronic transcript of this interview is also available by request.

United States. Works Progress Administration (N.Y.)


1973 April 4
Box: 93 Reel : 892a (Master reel [31142054875334])
Box: 1 Folder : 36 Granato, Dominick: Index
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 200 (Access cassette) Gray, Ivory: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Ivory Gray was a member of Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union and Local 32 of an unspecified building workers' union (likely the 32BJ Service Employees International Union). He worked as a building superintendent and porter. He lived in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York and was married.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Howard Harris on December 10, 1975 at Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union in Manhattan, New York. There are summaries for three interviews with Ivory Gray conducted by Harris at Local 1199 on October 24, October 31, and November 7, 1975. The interview on the recording covers Gray's initial impressions of New York, New York; his perception of the white community; and his working life in New York.

Gray explains that reading about Central Park and Cab Calloway in newspapers and experiencing the power imbalance in the sharecropping system prompted him to move to New York, New York. He recalls warnings about the differences between people in New York and in the south, and tales of pickpockets upon his arrival in the city. He recounts the various jobs he held before working in Montefiore Hospital, including dock worker; peddler; building superintendent and porter; and handyman. He discusses the impact that religion had on both his and his father's lives; his father's conversion to Christianity and job as a deacon; and the church's role in disseminating and giving credence to the ideas that it was natural for black community members to feel inferior as minorities and that it was impossible to live Christian life in the northern United States (US). He recalls that living outside of the southern US gave him a broader perspective concerning racial relations, prompting him to adopt the belief that all people are equal.

Gray discusses the change in his opinions of the white population after he started working at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, New York; the fact that working with a large group of people brought him into contact with different groups of people with whom he had never worked before; and his work as a delegate for Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union. He recounts not encountering much racial discrimination in the northern US but attributes this to the fact that he was poor and did not have occasion to go to places that were likely to be segregated. He explains that he would generally stay in areas with a majority black population and not put himself in a position in which he was likely to face discrimination and prejudice, although he does recount two incidents of discrimination he faced in New York. He discusses jobs he had as a building superintendent in Manhattan, including his responsibilities; the types of people for whom he worked; and issues he had at the buildings regarding an unspecified building workers union. He explains his decision to leave his work as a superintendent because of an illness and his desire to have a job with regular hours, which he found at Montefiore Hospital.

Gray recounts one job he had as a porter at a coffee dehydrating business in the 1940s in which there was no discrimination and his boss and the other employees made a concerted effort to treat everyone equally, regardless of race. He discusses the fact that he was encouraged to gain experience by shadowing repairmen who came to fix things in the building and regrets his decision to leave this job.

Janitors |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.
Race discrimination |z New York (State) |z New York.


1975 December 10
Box: 94 Reel : 896a - 896b (Master reel [31142054875342])
Box: 100 Cassette : 896a - 896b (Master cassette [31142054875409])
Box: 101 Cd : ref896a - ref896b (Access cd [31142054875417])
Box: 1 Folder : 37 Gray, Ivory: Summary
1975
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 194, 194a (Access cassette) Green, Rufus

Biographical Note

Rufus Green was born in Emmanuel College, Georgia in 1896. He was one of 13 children. He was drafted into the United States Army in 1918 and was discharged in 1919. He migrated to New York, New York with his wife in the early 1930s, where he worked primarily as a painter.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Edmund Lake on May 3, 1974 at Rufus Green's home in an unknown neighborhood in New York, New York. Main topics include Green's early life, his work as a painter, and social events and activities in which he participated. Green begins by recalling his early life in Georgia, including having six brothers and six sisters; loving to play baseball with his brothers; attending school until the age of 12; working on the family cotton farm; becoming adept at catching squirrels; and his father serving as a deacon at the local church. He discusses his memories of World War I, including seven young men from his neighborhood being killed in active duty; his hope that he would avoid being drafted because he was recently married and working on a farm, which was considered an essential job; and his conscription in 1918. He elaborates on his military service, including not being discharged on schedule because of an illness; being posted on a rifle range; and being disappointed that he was not deployed to France to fight.

Green recalls his life after migrating to New York, New York, specifically not planning on staying in New York permanently; working as a painter both for contractors and for himself; and believing that he would lose his employment if he joined a union. He mentions his wife working in the garment industry on piece work and being a member of an unnamed union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union). Green discusses social and recreational activities such as playing checkers at an unnamed senior center; playing clarinet in an American Legion band; joining Mt. Zion Baptist Church in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, but leaving because the service was too long; joining the Abyssinian Baptist Church in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, led by Adam Clayton Powell, Sr.; and being involved in a bus boycott organized by Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

House painters.
Painters, Industrial -- New York (State) -- New York.
World War, 1914-1918 |x African Americans.


1974 May 4
Box: 21 Reel : 77a - 77b (Master reel [31142054874618])
: Access Cassettes Cd : 16a-b (Access cassette) Greenfield, Sylvia: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Sylvia Greenfield was born in Hungary in 1900. She was one of seven children. Her father was conscripted into the Austro-Hungarian Army and her mother managed the household. Greenfield immigrated to the United States in the 1920s and initially lived with her cousins in Sunbury, Pennsylvania before moving to New York, New York. While in New York City, she lived in the East Village and Upper West Side neighborhoods of Manhattan and in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, where she resided at the time of the interview. She worked in various factories in the garment industry and was a member of an unspecified union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union).

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Josh Brown, likely at Sylvia Greenfield's home at 299 New York Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. The date is unknown. This interview covers Greenfield's childhood in Hungary; her immigration to the United States (US) in the 1920s; and her life and work in the garment industry in New York, New York. Greenfield begins the interview by discussing her love of the US, emphasizing the importance of freedom and economic opportunities. She explains that the population of Hungary was split between the poor and the rich; that the poor could not afford to send their children to school; and that one could not marry outside of her class. She recounts her father's conscription into the Austro-Hungarian Army and capture by Russian forces in 1914; his six years as a prisoner of war; and her mother's decision to disperse her children to the care of her sisters in order to keep them safe. She recalls her move to the Czecho-Slovak region of Austria-Hungary during the course of World War I. She focuses on the opportunities afforded to the Jewish population there, citing her sisters' educations; free disability and sick leave benefits for workers; and Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk's policies that provided food and education for the young. She explains that she wanted to immigrate to the US in order to attend school and aid her family but notes that her father disapproved because he believed she would lose her religion if she went.

Greenfield describes the beginning of her immigration process in 1921; her initial denial of a visa when the US stemmed the flow of immigrants; and her arrival in the US via the ship Queen Mary in the late 1920s. She explains that she originally lived with her cousins in Sunbury, Pennsylvania but moved to live with a friend on East 10th Street in Manhattan. She describes her awe upon first observing the amount of people living in New York City and a strike that occurred the day she arrived. She explains that she worked predominantly in the garment industry, recalling that she was not paid at her first job on 38th Street and Broadway in order to learn the trade. She recounts her supervisor at a dress house at 1400 Broadway giving her six months' paid vacation in order to visit her family in Hungary. She recalls joining an unspecified union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union) and acquiring better wages and hours. She describes earning enough money that she was able to pay her cousin back for the cost of the fare to the US and even help send her brother to university in Czechoslovakia, emphasizing the fact that she always kept her family in mind. Other topics include the role Greenfield's parents played in developing her spirituality; her trips back to Hungary; the fate of family members that remained in Hungary during World War II; the friends she made in New York City; a comparison of Jewish children's behaviors with the behaviors of children from other religious groups; and her view regarding the refusal of many young people to go to war (presumably with Vietnam) at the time of the interview.


Undated
Box: 94 Reel : 898a - 898c (Master reel [31142054875342])
Box: 1 Folder : 38 Greenfield, Sylvia: Summary
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 211, 211a (Access cassette) Hall, Claude and [Unknown]

Biographical Note

Claude Hall immigrated to the United States from an unspecified country with his parents in 1902 and settled in Brooklyn, New York. After his father died when Hall was four years old, he and his mother lived with his uncle, aunt, and four cousins. He graduated from Public School 158 in Manhattan, and Boys High School in Brooklyn in 1915, where he was active in athletics and other extracurricular activities. After working for a year in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, he joined the 15th New York National Guard in 1916, which was activated and joined the 369th Infantry. While in the Army, he fought in Argonne, France and received a Purple Heart. Hall married in 1916 and had five children, four of whom survived infancy. He worked in multiple fields including as a United States Postal Service clerk, an elevator operator, at an Army base (likely Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn); and for a manufacturing company.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Stephen Holmes on May 3, 1973 in Brooklyn, New York. Topics discussed include Claude Hall's childhood and education in Brooklyn, his experiences in the United States Army during World War I; his wife and children; his leisure activities; his experiences during the Great Depression; and his politics. Hall begins by discussing his childhood in Brooklyn, including his father dying when Hall was four years old; living with his aunt, uncle, and four cousins; his mother being self employed as a music teacher; and moving to different neighborhoods within Brooklyn. He recalls in detail his education, discussing the different public schools he attended, including Public School 158 in Manhattan, and Boys High School in Brooklyn; being involved with the debate team, as well as athletics such as baseball, football, and track; the racial integration of athletic teams and other extracurricular activities; and the lack of black teachers. His memories of World War I include joining the 15th New York National Guard Regiment; moving to different parts of the east coast of the United States for training; the racism he experienced while training on a base in Spartanburg, South Carolina (likely Camp Croft); fighting in the trenches in France; and receiving the Purple Heart after being wounded in Argonne, France.

Hall discusses first meeting his wife when he was twelve years old; their four living children and the death of their fifth; and the ethnic diversity and racial integration in the Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens, where Hall and his family lived. He mentions leisure activities such as being involved with his children's Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts troops; reading aloud with his children; and attending the theater. He mentions that the church was the center of most of the community's social activities. He discusses the Great Depression, including the fact that the Ozone Park neighborhood was not affected as much as other neighborhoods; that his family helped the few families in need both financially and with food; and that even those in the community who needed relief were better off than others in New York City. He discusses politics in New York City, including the fact that his community strongly supported Fiorello La Guardia; that Woodrow Wilson was well respected; that Republican presidents after Warren G. Harding were not trusted; his opinions of the Teapot Dome Scandal; and his involvement in the Queens County Colored Democratic Organization.

World War, 1914-1918 |x African Americans.
Depressions |y 1929 |z New York (State) |z New York.
Ozone Park (New York, N.Y.)Camp Croft (Spartanburg, S.C.)


1973 May 3
Box: 21 Reel : 79a - 79b (Master reel [31142054874618])
Box: 22 Reel : 79c - 79d (Master reel [31142054874626])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 222, 222a-c (Access cassette) Harris, Harold

Biographical Note

Harold Harris was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1911. He worked predominantly in the food and domestic service industries in Jamaica. He immigrated to the United States (US) in 1944, repatriated to Jamaica, and returned to the US in 1949. He worked in the dietary unit of Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, New York from 1950 through the time of the interview, and was a member of Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by John Jentz at Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union on Novemeber 12 and 24, 1975 and at Harold Harris' home in the Bronx, New York on January 29, 1976. The main topics of this interview include Harris' childhood in Jamaica; his work at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, New York; his union activity; and his political ideologies. Harris discusses his childhood in Jamaica, including not having any siblings; his mother living in Panama; his father dying when Harris was seven years old; and his aunt and cousin raising him. He recalls his different jobs in Jamaica, which included farm worker, bank clerk, cook, and employee of the US Consulate in Jamaica. He discusses his early experiences at Montefiore Hospital, including living in the hospital dormitories for two years; beginning his employment in the dietary unit delivering food to patients in a tuberculosis ward; not planning on staying at Montefiore for an extended period of time; and eventually feeling obligated to stay due to his loyalty to both the patients and his co-workers.

Harris discusses his union activity, including his push for better treatment of employees and unionization at Montefiore Hospital long before the entrance of Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union in 1958; the failure of Local 1199 to unionize the hospital in 1954; and the necessity of New York City hospitals to stagger strikes because Local 1199 could not support every hospital striking at once.

Harris also discusses his political ideology, in particular that he was a supporter of Marcus Garvey and that he was more interested in social activism within his community than traditional leisure activities.

Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union (New York, N.Y.)


1975 November 12 and 24, 1976 January 29
Box: 22 Reel : 80a - 80c (Master reel [31142054874626])
Box: 23 Reel : 80d - 80h (Master reel [31142054874634])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 17a-b (Access cassette) Harris, Shirley: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Shirley Harris was born in 1907 in Albertyn, Poland. Her father immigrated to the United States before World War I (WWI). Harris, her mother, and siblings immigrated to Austria in 1914 and returned to Poland after WWI. They immigrated to the United States in 1923 and lived on Broome Street and Norfolk Street in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. Her father worked as a presser in a garment factory and Harris and her sister worked as floor girls in the same factory. Harris was a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Local 22.

Harris married in 1940 and had one daughter. The family lived in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Florida. Her husband worked as a car mechanic and in an unspecified gasoline business. He was born in the United States.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Martin Lesser on April 11, 973 at an unknown location. The date and location of the interview are unknown. The interview covers Shirley Harris' childhood in Poland and Austria, her working life, and her family. Harris discusses her childhood in Poland and Austria; her religious upbringing; her experiences during World War I; and her family's immigration to Austria after an attack on their village by Russian troops. She discusses immigrating to the United States with her mother and two siblings and joining the workforce as soon as she came of age. She describes her first job in a dress factory working as a floor girl, sewing belts onto dresses by hand. She discusses learning to use a sewing machine and becoming a machine operator, which she preferred to sewing by hand. She discusses her membership in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) and differences in the ILGWU when she first joined and at the time of the interview. Other topics include her distrust of politicians, except for Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom she admired; the changing ethnic and racial demographics of the workforce of the garment industry; and her daughter.

See also: Immigration, Migration, and First Impressions of New York, New York and the United States.

World War, 1914-1918 |z Poland |v Personal narratives.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 22 (New York, N.Y.)


1973 April 11
Box: 85 Reel : 820a - 820b (Master reel [31142054875250])
Box: 1 Folder : 39 Harris, Shirley: Transcript; Index; and Subject Cards
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cd : 110a-b, 111 (Access cassette) Heltzer, Fanny: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Fanny Heltzer was born in Kiev, Russia in the late 1880s. She was one of five children. Her father worked as a merchant in Kiev and died when she was seven years old. After she was widowed, her mother ran a small restaurant to support her family. Heltzer attended school in Kiev until she was 15 years old, when she became a live-in apprentice to a furrier in Kiev. She immigrated to the United States in 1906 when she was 17 years old. She initially lived with her sister on Houston Street in Manhattan, New York before moving in with a friend in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan. She attended a practical nursing class at Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan from 1907 to 1908 and married in September 1909. She moved to Shelton, Connecticut during World War I; moved to Worcester, Massachusetts to accommodate her husband's business venture; and moved back to New York City in 1921 when that venture failed. They moved often, living in the Lower East Side, Hell's Kitchen, and Harlem neighborhoods of Manhattan before settling in the Bronx in 1927.

Heltzer worked as a machine operator and finisher in various shops in the garment industry, making dresses, sweaters, bathing suits, and corsets. After working the garment industry, she worked as an unlicensed private nurse until her retirement in 1965. She was an active member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Local 55; the Workers' Unemployed Union, eventually serving as chairman of the Bronx locals; the Workmen's Circle, heading the Friendship Club; and the Socialist Party of America.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Karen Kearns. The date and location of this interview are unknown. This interview covers Fanny Heltzer's childhood in Russia; her immigration to the United States (US) in 1906; and her work in the garment industry and as a private nurse in New York, New York. Heltzer begins the interview by describing her childhood in Kiev, noting that conversations regarding politics were forbidden in school; that she acquired her Socialist viewpoints from family and friends; and that she attended secret Socialist meetings. She recalls that her mother paid for her to be a live-in apprentice to a furrier in Kiev because her sister noted the high-paying opportunities in that industry in the US. She describes her mother sending Heltzer's oldest sister to the US in the hopes that she would eventually be able to send for the rest of the family. She explains that her brother was sent to Siberia due to his revolutionary activity and that their mother sent him to the United States in order to prevent his being arrested again. She notes that she immigrated soon after him in 1906, with their two remaining sisters following her.

Heltzer explains that she initially lived with her sister on Houston Street in Manhattan but moved in with a friend because of her sister's overbearing rules. She explains that she acquired her first job in a ladies' shirtwaist shop through the recommendation of a friend, noting her initial fear of the speed and noise of the electric sewing machines; that the conditions of the shop were filthy; and that she quit because of the poor conditions and the long work week. She explains that her next jobs in Manhattan, in a dress shop and at the Nemo Corset Company, were better due to the cleaner conditions in the shops. She notes that employees at the Nemo Corset Company were afraid to organize and join a union because of the potentially hostile reaction from management. She emphasizes the development of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union during her time in various garment shops, noting the union's cocern over working conditions and lack of job security.

Heltzer recalls joining a dramatic club where she met her husband, emphasizing her and her husband's involvement with plays and the club's choral group. She recalls that her husband worked as a watchmaker but also had other business ventures. Heltzer describes moving to Shelton, Connecticut during World War I and later to Worcester, Massachusetts as her husband changed jobs. She explains that he invested in cotton goods and lost nearly all of this money in a failed business venture in Worcester, prompting the family to move back to New York City. She describes working as a machine operator for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) through which she joined the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) and the Workers' Unemployed Union (WUU), established in New York City by the Socialist Party of America. She recalls moving through various neighborhoods in New York City in order to find better employment and living conditions, focusing on her time working in her husband's jewelry store on 41st Street and 10th Avenue. She explains that a robbery in the store affected her husband's physical and mental health, prompting her to work at the store by herself for two years before closing it. She emphasizes her family's involvement in and bonding through the Socialist Party, noting that her children grew up around party events due to her and her husband's labor union and other party activities.

Other topics include a nursing course Heltzer took at Beth Israel Hospital; her children's education and occupations; a comparison of her experiences as a single woman during the 1908 depression and with a family during the Great Depression; the ethnic demographics of the different national and religious groups of the neighborhoods in which she lived and the shops in which she worked; and her work as an unlicensed private nurse until 1965.

Women socialists |z New York (State) |z New York.


Undated
Box: 95 Reel : 900a - 900c (Master reel [31142054875359])
Box: 96 Reel : 900c (Master reel [31142054875367])
Box: 1 Folder : 40 Heltzer, Fanny: Summary
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cd : 256, 256a-c (Access cassette) Henning, Astrid: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Astrid Henning was born in Norway. She had six siblings and three step-siblings. Her father was a mining engineer and her mother was a nurse. In Norway, she worked as a filing clerk and a packer in a sardine factory. She immigrated to the United States (US) in 1929, where she worked as a domestic worker and an advertiser for a Norwegian newspaper. She married in 1930 and had two children. Her husband was born in Norway and immigrated to the US. He worked as a steward on a yacht and as a clerk in a delicatessen.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Karen Kearns on May 7, 1975. The location is unknown. The interview covers Astrid Henning's working life in Norway and the United States (US) and her family. Henning discusses her family in Norway, including her parents' occupations; her siblings; and her step-siblings. She discusses her first job in Norway as a packer in a sardine factory; her decision to take the job because the wages would enable her immigration to the US; the fact that the men in the factory were unionized but that the women were not; and the fact that her salary enabled her to travel to the US in comfort. She describes her reasons for wanting to immigrate to the US, including the number of children in her family and her desire to travel. She discusses the women with whom she immigrated and the fact that they knew they would work in domestic service in the US, despite coming from middle-class backgrounds.

Henning discusses her jobs as a domestic worker in Manhasset, New York; Baltimore, Maryland; and New Rochelle, New York. She describes her responsibilities and hours; her feelings of isolation on Long Island; and her employers, including their behavior, their homes, and parties they would host. She explains that she was not responsible for heavy cleaning in any of her positions and that her responsibilities consisted mainly of dusting, dishwashing, and serving. She describes the staff in the different houses in which she worked, including the responsibilities of each staff member; the types of people that were successful in domestic service; and advice she received from co-workers. She compares the behavior of different ethnic groups in domestic service and her disapproval of the Irish workers, who would swear while on duty and play cards late at night. She describes the food that was provided for the staff at different houses in which she worked, including one in which the staff was provided only with leftovers until Henning complained. She recounts being repeatedly subjected to sexual harassment by male employers and warning the men that she would quit if the behavior continued. She describes the experiences of her sister and other women who were sexually harassed and assaulted while in domestic service and their fear of losing their jobs if they reported these incidents. She later recounts sexual harassment in movie theaters and on the subway in New York City; her fear of being alone in public because of these incidents; and the contrast between public behavior in the US and Norway.

Other topics include meeting her husband while at her first job on Long Island and their courtship; work experiences of her sister and cousin in domestic service and their employers, who included Hattie Carnegie and David O. Selznick; her inability to save money while working in the US; her frustration with people who would not learn the correct pronunciation of her first name; and her work selling advertisements for a Norwegian newspaper in the US.

Norwegians |z United States |v Interviews.
Women household employees |x Abuse of.
Sexual harassment of women |z New York (State) |z New York.


1975 May 7
Box: 96 Reel : 903a - 903d (Master reel [31142054875367])
Box: 97 Reel : 903e - 903g (Master reel [31142054875375])
Box: 1 Folder : 41 Henning, Astrid: Summary
1975 May 7
Box: No Master Herzog, Anna

Biographical Note

Anna Herzog was born in 1897 near Minsk, Russia to a Jewish family. Her father died when she was three years old and her older brother supported the family. She and her sister immigrated to the United States (US) in 1910 and settled in New York, New York. She married in 1918, and had her first child in 1930. Herzog worked as a finisher in the garment industry until 1930. She was a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by John Jentz at the Workmen's Circle Home for the Aged in the Bronx, New York on March 13, 1975. The interview covers Anna Herzog's life in Minsk, Russia, her immigration to the United States (US), her involvement in union activities and strikes, and her personal life. Herzog recollects her early life in Minsk, including her father dying when she was three years old; her brother serving as a father figure; Jewish children not being allowed to attend school; wanting to play instead of work; and working for a year in a garment factory on a pedal sewing machine. Her first memories of New York, New York include learning English through friends, and being overwhelmed with the size of New York City. She remembers needing to supply her own sewing machine at her first job; and requiring assistance carrying the sewing machine up and down the stairs. She recalls the differences between garment work in Russia and the United States. She recalls a strike in 1911, during which the workers went on strike for 15 days in order to achieve better pay, better working conditions, and for owner-supplied sewing machines. Herzog's discussion of her personal life includes meeting her husband and their wedding in Toronto, Canada; having two sons and adopting her sister's daughter; discontinuing work because she was pregnant; and moving to the Workmen's Circle Home against her son's wishes.


1975 March 13
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 138 (Access cassette)
Box: No Master Herzog, Jacob

Biographical Note

Jacob Herzog was born in Austrian Galicia to a large Jewish family. In Galicia he worked as a tinsmith and belonged to an unspecified metalworkers' union. He immigrated to the United States (US) around 1911, where he worked and lived in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. He worked as a metalworker and was a member of an unspecified building trades union. He married and had two sons.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted at Jacob Herzog's home on Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan, New York on April 5, 1973. The interviewer is unknown. Main topics include Herzog's life in Austrian Galicia; his education in the United States (US); and his leisure activities, politics, and union activities. Herzog discusses his life in Galicia, including working as a tinsmith with his father; belonging to an unspecified metalworkers' union; and his father warning him not to join the Army. He recalls learning English in the US through a librarian who would give him books in both Yiddish and English; and attending night school. He discusses leisure activities in which he participated, including going with his children to the park, beach, and baseball games in Brooklyn, New York; having season tickets to the Metropolitan Opera for 35 years; and enjoying attending symphony concerts. Herzog recalls knowing very little about politics upon his arrival to the US; quickly coming to dislike the Republican Party because they represented the rich; and being a member of the Socialist Party of America for most of his life. He discusses his involvement with an unspecified building trades union; his election as a trustee for his New York local; his service on the examining board; and his belief that every worker should be a member of a union.

Socialists |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.
Jewish socialists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews.


1973 April 5
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 228b (Access cassette) Higgins, John

Biographical Note

John Higgins was born in New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland in 1887 to a large Catholic family. He immigrated to Australia in 1908 and then to the United States in 1910. He married in 1922 and had two children, both of whom died in childhood. He was employed primarily as an engineer and laborer and was a member of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 30.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by David Rosenberg in May 1974 at an unknown location. This interview covers Higgins' childhood in Ireland; work experiences in New York, New York; social activities in the Irish community of New York; and his union involvement. Higgins discusses his early life in Ireland, including having a happy childhood; his family owning a small grocery store in New Ross; attending a Christian Brothers school; horseback riding and swimming in a local river before work; working as an accountant for an import/export company in County Wexford; and emigrating from Ireland because he was curious and wanted adventure. He discusses his early experiences in New York, including having no friends or family nearby and living in a community that included Hungarians, Irish, and Germans. His early work experience includes being employed by the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company until he quit because his pay was less than the other employees'. Higgins discusses stealing a hammer, chisel, and wrench in order to work as a mechanic at a shipyard; working as a carpenter in order to make money while on strike at the shipyard; and making good money at the shipyard because he was willing to work long hours and overtime. He recollects being the chief engineer for multiple hotels, including the St. Andrews Hotel in Manhattan for over 22 years; never having problems finding work because other Irish immigrants would always help him; and belonging to the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 30. He recalls drinking at the pub with his friends; having negative feelings about Prohibition; watching Irish football and hurling on Long Island on Sundays; and being a member and secretary of the County Wexford Organization, which met on 59th Street in Manhattan.

John Higgins' sister, Katherine Higgins, was also interviewed for the New York City Immigrant Labor Project. See also: Higgins, Katherine.

International Union of Operating Engineers


1974 May
Box: 24 Reel : 86a (Master reel [31142054874642])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 228, 228a (Access cassette) Higgins, Katherine

Biographical Note

Katherine Higgins was born into a large Catholic family in New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland in the 1880s. She lived in England and France before she immigrated to the United States (US) in 1933. She worked for the British War Office during World War I, in the United States Army Quartermaster Corps in France after World War I, and as a lady's companion after her immigration in 1933.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Karen Kearns on April 24, 1974 at an unknown location. This interview covers Katherine Higgins' early life in Ireland, England, and France; her work during and after World War I (WWI); her world travels; and her religion. Higgins discusses her childhood in Ireland in great detail, including the lives of her eight siblings; inheritance laws and her father's disinheritance due to his choice of wife; and Higgins' family home in New Ross. Higgins remembers class distinctions within her community; the education system in Ireland; and her opinion that her life would have been boring had she attended college. She recalls living in England, where she studied to be a teacher and worked for the British War Office during WWI. She discusses the 1916 Easter Rising and its aftermath, including her brother-in-law's wrongful incarceration for weapons possession; the hunger strike and eventual death of Terence MacSwiney; and the fact that her family supported the revolution but believed that it occurred too late. She discusses her work with the United States Army Quartermaster Corps in France after WWI, designing cemeteries for the reburial of American soldiers, and organizing a chapter of American Gold Star Mothers. She explains that she immigrated to the United States (US) and settled in New York, New York in 1933 because it was the only place she could find work. Her first impressions of the US include her surprise at the bigotry towards the Irish and her amazement at the poor education of American men. Higgins discusses her work as a lady's companion, including attending the film premiere of Gone with the Wind; visiting some of the Nordic countries, the Baltics, and the Soviet Union; and enjoying the fact that her employer owned a car. She also discusses her religious influences, practices, and ideologies, including the fact that she did not practice Catholicism in the years between leaving Ireland and arriving in the US; her opinion that the French were not devout Catholics; that she attended St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan; and the Irish fear of the afterlife.

Higgins' brother, John Higgins, was also interviewed for the New York City Immigrant Labor Project. See also: Higgins, John.

Women household employees |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.


1974 April 24
Box: 24 Reel : 87a - 87c (Master reel [31142054874642])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 112a-b (Access cassette) Hochberg, Eddie

Biographical Note

Eddie Hochberg was born in Russia to a Jewish family. He immigrated to the United States in 1914, where he was employed in the garment industry. He was a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Local 22, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, and the United Brotherhood of Cloak Makers Local 1.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted at the Workmen's Circle Home for the Aged in the Bronx, New York on March 3, 1975 by David Lightner. The main topics include Eddie Hochberg's life in Russia; his immigration to the United States (US); his work in the garment industry both in Russia and the US; and the internal organization of garment workers' labor unions in New York, New York. Hochberg discusses his early life in Russia, including his family's poverty and his father's work as a supervisor in a logging company. He discusses the immigration of his family to the US, including his father immigrating in 1911 and finding work in a paper box factory; two of his brothers immigrating after their father; Hochberg immigrating alone in 1914; and the rest of his family following in 1916. He describes finding his first job through a man with whom he attended synagogue; not being paid for three weeks while he learned the trade; and his first job turning over coats to create seams. He discusses his movement through different factories within the garment industry and his work in each, including manufacturing coats for men, cloaks, and dresses; being paid for both week work and piecework; cleaning and oiling the machines every Friday; working overtime during the busy season; and having to find other employment during the summer. He describes the introduction of labor unions into the garment industry, including the fact that very few companies were unionized initially; the establishment of the National Recovery Administration in 1933 guaranteeing workers the right to join unions; that different locals within the same international union being determined by profession as well as ethnicity; and unions providing benefits such as better pay, vacations, and pensions. Hochberg also mentions that he was a member of multiple unions, including the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Local 22, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, and the United Brotherhood of Cloak Makers Local 1.

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 22 (New York, N.Y.)United Brotherhood of Cloakmakers


1975 March 3
Box: 24 Reel : 88a (Master reel [31142054874642])
Box: 25 Reel : 88a - 88b (Master reel [31142054874659])
Box: 100 Cassette : 88a - 88b (Master cassette [31142054875409])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 57 (Access cassette) Hoffman, Simon: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Simon Hoffman was born in Pilviskiai, Russia in 1893 to a Jewish family. His father worked as a butcher and his mother worked as a wig maker. Hoffman immigrated to the United States (US) through Ellis Island in New York, New York in 1913. He briefly lived with his step-siblings in the Bronx before finding a job as a cap maker. During the Great Depression, Hoffman was employed by the City of New York cleaning public parks. He became a US citizen and a member of the Democratic Party in 1920. He continued to work in the cap making industry until his retirement. He was a member of an unspecified cap makers' union (likely the United Hatters of North America).

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Suzanne Michel at the Bialystoker Home for the Aged in Manhattan, New York on April 4, 1974. The main topics discussed include Simon Hoffman's life in Russia; his immigration to the United States (US) and his early days there; his work in New York, New York; and leisure activities in which he participated. Hoffman discusses his early life in Russia, including the fact that he learned four languages despite not attending school; his work selling sewing notions; and the fact that the Jewish community mixed with other local ethnic groups for commerce but were otherwise segregated. He recalls his family, including the fact that his father was a butcher and was substantially older than his mother; that his mother regretted marrying an older man; his mother's work manufacturing wigs and hairpieces; and his three siblings. He discusses his immigration to the US, including paying a smuggler 25 rubles to help him cross the border between Russia and Germany; sailing on the SS Bremen from Bremen, Germany; being assisted by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society after his arrival at Ellis Island, New York; and residing with his step-siblings in the Bronx for a short time before finding work. Hoffman recalls his employment in the US, including making hats on Houston Street in Manhattan; receiving a pay increase during World War I; being employed by the City of New York to clean public parks during the Depression; and resuming his employment in the cap making industry in 1942. He mentions joining an unspecified cap makers' union (likely United Hatters of North America) in 1915, and was proud of the fact that he maintained his union membership after his retirement. Hoffman discusses his leisure activities, including reading the  New York Times, the  Jewish Daily Forward, and the  Jewish Morning Journal; visiting the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan; and attending the Jewish theater frequently.

Depressions |y 1929 |z New York (State) |z New York.
United Hatters of North America


1974 April 4
Box: 97 Reel : 904a - 904b (Master reel [31142054875375])
Box: 1 Folder : 42 Hoffman, Simon: Subject Cards
1974 April 4
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 18 (Access cassette) Hoffzimmer, [Unknown]

Biographical Note

The narrator's first name is unknown. Mr. Hoffzimmer was born in present day Poland in 1896 to a Jewish family. He immigrated to the United States in 1909 and attended public school in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. He was employed making human hair goods and Panama hats and opened his own hat manufacturing company before the Great Depression. Hoffzimmer was an active member of the Socialist Party of America and the United Hatters of North America.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Karin Young on April 12, 1973 at the Sheltered Workshop of the National Council of Jewish Women in Manhattan, New York by an unknown interviewer. The first name of the narrator is unknown. Mr. Hoffzimmer reminisces about his early life and immigration to the United States (US), including his father being a cobbler; his father not teaching him the trade; and falsifying his immigration papers to show that he was 16 years old in order to emigrate. He discusses the immigration process at Ellis Island, New York, including a required medical examination; the requirement of either $25 or someone to vouch for you; and immigration societies that would vouch for individuals who knew no one in New York and assist them with acquiring lodgings. His first impressions of New York City include not feeling excited about living in New York; the abundance of poverty; and hostilities between ethnic groups, especially between the Jewish and Irish communities. He discusses his involvement with Socialism and the Socialist Party of America, including attending lectures and meetings at the Rand School of Social Science in Manhattan; his feelings about Social Security; society's lack of appreciation for social programs at the time of the interview; and reading the Socialist newspaper The New York Call. Hoffzimmer discusses his family, including meeting his wife through friends; and sending his daughter to the Workmen's Circle to learn about Jewish language and culture. He discusses his great appreciation for his wife; and the accomplishments of his grandson. He recalls his work experience, in particular finding employment as a hatter through his work manufacturing human hair goods. He describes traveling to the western US and to Mexico with the money he saved at his first job. He recounts learning Spanish and opening a business selling portraits while in Mexico; and opening his own hattery upon his return to New York with the money he made. He also recalls not requiring government assistance during the Great Depression because of his business; discusses the benefits and drawbacks of modernization; and discusses his membership in the United Hatters of North America.

Jewish socialists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews.
United Hatters of North AmericaWorkmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring


1973 April 12
Box: 25 Reel : 90a - 90b (Master reel [31142054874659])
Box: No Master Howard, Clara

Biographical Note

Clara Howard was born in Hampton, Virginia on September 13, 1895. She was one of ten children. Her mother managed the household and her father was farmer and firefighter. Her husband was born in a rural part of Virginia. He served in the United States Navy, worked for the United States Postal Service, and owned a jewelry and watch repair business in White Plains, New York. They married in 1912 and had three children.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Edmund Lake at the Council Workshop for Senior Citizens on 125th Street in Manhattan, New York on April 20, 1973. The interview covers Clara Howard's early life in Hampton, Virginia; her family; and her opinions on racial discrimination and civil rights in the United States. Howard discusses her education at the Gray School of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in her hometown, which she attended through the tenth grade. She describes her family's home and explains that although they lived on a farm, they were near large cities, including Newport News and Norfolk, and did not live in an isolated area.

Howard explains that her older sisters migrated to New York and New Jersey and that she decided to migrate to New York when she was 16 years old after visiting. She recounts living on 139th Street in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan with her sisters in 1912; explains that African Americans were starting to move into Harlem at that time; and describes Harlem as beautiful, brightly lit, and clean. She compares the living situation of minorities in downtown Manhattan to those in Harlem and her belief that the conditions downtown were more primitive than those in Hampton. She compares her children's education to her own and discusses her opinion that she received a much better education as her teachers were black, took great interest in their students, and served as role models. She recounts an incident of racial prejudice one of her children experienced, her reaction to it, and her feeling that this exemplified the failing of the educational system in New York.

Howard discusses Marcus Garvey, Father Divine, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, and describes them as great men. She recounts attending services and lectures at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. She discusses black empowerment, including black leaders encouraging the people to pull themselves up but not providing them with the tools to do so and her feeling that most people lack the desire for education. She describes her pride in her education; her willingness to defend herself and family against racial discrimination and injustice; her amazement at the fact that so few people in her community were unwilling to make a similar stand; and her willingness to die for her beliefs.

Howard discusses her husband's first job with the United States Postal Service (USPS); the racial segregation within the USPS that led to his unhappiness; and his decision to start his own business. She discusses her husband's jewelry and watch repair business in White Plains, New York, including the fact that the majority of his customers were white; his belief that his religious faith had enabled him to open his own business; and her management of the shop after he was injured in a car accident.

Other topics include leisure activities and holidays; theaters in Harlem, including the Alhambra; and Howard's enslaved grandparents who fled their owners before their two oldest children could be sold away from them.

See also: Council Workshop for Senior Citizens II.


1973 April 20
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 59 (Access cassette) Hyman, Bella: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Bella Hyman was born in a small town in Austria in the late 1890s. She was one of nine children. Her parents owned a small grocery store, her father studied in the synagogue, and her mother catered events in the town. Hyman immigrated to the United States (US) in 1913. Her parents and two of her brothers immigrated to the US in 1921.

She worked in the garment industry in the US, as a hand sewer and finisher. She was a member of an unspecified union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union). She married in 1923 and had one son. Her husband was born in Russia and immigrated to England when he was young. He was educated in England and was a lecturer. In the US, he was a manager of an unspecified union local. He died in 1940. She and her husband belonged to the Socialist Party of America and the Workmen's Circle.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Janice Albert. The date and location of the interview are unknown. The interview covers Bella Hyman's childhood in Austria, her working life in the United States (US), and her union activity.

Hyman discusses attending night school in the US; participating in organizing garment factories for the union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union); and wishing she could have continued her education but having to work in order to pay for her parents' immigration to the US. She recounts her childhood in a small town in Austria, including her education and her father studying in the synagogue while her mother managed the family's grocery store and catered events in the town. She describes her and her siblings' immigration to the US; their consolidation of their savings in order to pay for their parents' immigration; and the family's struggles during the Great Depression.

Hyman discusses her life in New York, New York after her immigration, including gaining experience in garment factories through different jobs, and moving between different Jewish neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. She recounts wanting to become a nurse; starting a training program at Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan; and having to leave the program because it did not pay enough for her to contribute to her parents' immigration. She discusses attending night school and lectures at the Rand School of Social Science in Manhattan; being inclined towards the Socialist Party of America; and finding time to attend dances and sporting events. She describes the ethnic demographics of the workforce in the garment industry, in particular, the fact that the workers were mostly Jewish, Italian, and Polish, which led to language issues while organizing the factories into an unspecified union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union). She describes the daydreams the garment workers would share with each other and the songs they sang while they worked, but states that these hopes did not preclude their participation in unionizing efforts in order to improve working conditions.

Other topics include her work visiting retired union members; the movement of the garment industry from the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan to 7th Avenue in the Midtown neighborhood of Manhattan; her husband's background; and women in leadership roles in unions, specifically Rose Pesotta and Pauline Newman.

See also: Ethnicity, and Family.

Women socialists |z New York (State) |z New York.
Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring


Undated
Box: 98 Reel : 908a - 908b (Master reel [31142054875383])
Box: 1 Folder : 43 Hyman, Bella: Summary and Index
Undated
Box: Missing Icolari, Alfonso: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Alfonso Icolari was born in Faggiano, Italy in 1898 and was one of five children. He immigrated to the United States (US) with his family in 1910 and settled in the Ocean Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. He attended school up to the seventh grade. He worked as a farmer in Italy. In the US he worked as a shoe shiner and in an unspecified capacity at the Brooklyn Navy Yard; Borden, Inc.; the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT); and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) in the US.

Scope and Contents

The audio recording for this interview is missing. Currently all that is available is Icolari's interview fact sheet, which contains only the biographical information recorded in the Biographical Note.

Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 96 Icolari, Alfonso: Interview Fact Sheet
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 245, 245a (Access cassette) Immigration, Migration, and First Impressions of New York, New York and the United States

Scope and Content Note

This recording contains excerpts of different interviews, all of which focus on discussions of immigrants' and migrants' first impressions of the United States (US) and New York, New York. The volume and sound quality of this recording fluctuate between excerpts. The excerpts cover reasons for immigration or migration; conditions during immigration, including memories of Ellis Island; and the living situation of relatives before and after immigration or migration. They cover assimilation struggles, including racial and ethnic discrimination in the US; the differences in treatment of different immigrant groups by American citizens and other immigrant groups; struggles to learn English and acquire citizenship; and deportation of immigrants during wartime. Other topics relate to life in the US, including education; a comparison of the US and the immigrants' and migrants' places of origin including living conditions, working conditions, food, weather, and architecture; the mythology surrounding the US and how it compared to the reality; and a comparison between the US in the past and at the time of the interviews.

See also: Cowen, Maud; Gavin, Jimmy; Gelo, Grace; Harris, Shirley; Lewis, Ivan; Prescant, Becky; Richards, Evadni; Robinson, Irene; Saggese, Charles; Sutton, Kathleen; Unger, Margareta; and Ward, Katherine.

Immigrants |x Cultural assimilation.


Undated
Box: 13 Reel : 38a - 38b (Master reel [31142054874535])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 157 (Access cassette) Interview Compilation for Radio Broadcast

Scope and Contents

This recording contains a compilation of excerpts from interviews from and descriptions of the New York City Immigrant Oral History Project, as well as musical interludes. This compilation may have been created for a radio broadcast, but it is unclear if it was ever broadcasted. The volume and sound quality of the recording fluctuate between excerpts. The recording begins with an introduction to the project by Scott Weir, and an unidentified female interviewer explains that the recording addresses the experiences of three groups: Eastern European Jews; Italians; and African-American migrants from the southern United States (US). She notes that the excerpts reference the experiences of these groups in New York, New York; in factories; and in the formation of unions. She describes the social, economic, and political conditions that prompted many Eastern European Jews to immigrate to the US and interview excerpts follow discussing anti-Semitism, religious traditions, and education. Weir gives a brief history of Italian immigration to the US, and interview excerpts that follow discuss the economic contrast between landowners and agricultural laborers in Italy, and the fact that many Italians expected to return to Italy once they had enough money. The last section of the recording contains interview excerpts discussing the history of African Americans from Reconstruction to the 1970s; racial discrimination; the sequence of family migration; and ethnic relations among people in different New York City neighborhoods.

See also: Fox, Abe; Robinson, Irene; Savio, Joseph; Unknown African-American Man; Wagner, Frank; Walters, [Unknown].


Undated
Box: 75 Reel : 333a - 333b (Master reel [31142054875151])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 183 (Access cassette) Introduction to Project

Scope and Content Note

Leon Fink, at the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Local 22, explains that students in the Department of History at the City College of New York have undertaken a project to record the history of New York from the point of view of working people, specifically immigrants who came to the United States between 1900 and 1930. He lists specific questions that each interview will address and passes out a sign-up sheet for volunteers who want to be interviewed.


Undated
Box: 74 Reel : 329a (Master reel [31142054875144])
: Access Cassettes Folder : 145 (Access cassette) Ippolito, James and Stephanie: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

James Ippolito was born in a small town in Sicily, Italy in 1910. He immigrated to the United States (US) in 1919 with his mother and two siblings. His father had immigrated to the US in 1912 and worked as a food peddler. The family lived in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Ippolito attended school through the eighth grade. He worked in a bed factory in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn for a few years before getting a job in a furniture factory. He spent the bulk of his career in the furniture industry. He was a member of the United Furniture Workers of America (UFWA) Local 76 and was a shop steward in different factories between 1937-1965. He was a member of unspecified joint and executive boards and a trustee (the latter two likely UFWA Local 76). He married Stephanie Ippolito in 1936, with whom he had two sons. In 1962, the family moved from Williamsburg to the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Joan Granucci and Martin Lesser on April 12, 1973 at James Ippolito's house in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens, New York. Ippolito's wife, Stephanie, participates in the interview. The interview covers Ippolito's immigration to the United States (US), his family, his working life, his union activity, his social activities, and his political affiliation. Ippolito discusses his family's staggered immigration to the US; his father's immigration seven years before the rest of the family; and his father's work to bring the rest of the family to the US. He discusses leaving school to join the workforce; working in a bed factory and being told he was too young for that type of work; and finding a job in the furniture industry through a friend. He recounts joining the United Furniture Workers of America Local 76; participating in strikes; and losing a job as a result of one of the strikes. He recounts working in a factory producing radio and television cabinets; switching to war production during World War II and making uniforms for the United States Army; and returning to production of television and radio cabinets after the war. He lists furniture plants in which he worked; the dates of his employment; and the types of furniture each produced. Ippolito and his wife describe the changes in the ethnic composition of the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn between the early 20th century and in the 1960s when they decided to move to Ridgewood. He lists social clubs to which belonged, including the Happy Hearts, and discusses support provided to the poor by the Democratic Party.

An electronic transcript of this interview is also available by request.

Furniture workers |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.
United Furniture Workers of America


1973 April 12
Box: 101
Box: 98 Reel : 909a (Master reel [31142054875383])
Box: 1 Folder : 44 Ippolito, James and Stephanie: Summary and Index
1973 April 12
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 185 (Access cassette) Jackson, [Unknown]

Biographical Note

The first name of the narrator is unknown. Mr. Jackson was born in Georgia and grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida. In 1921, he migrated to New York, New York, where he lived on 131st Street in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan and married. He worked in multiple hotels in New York State and Atlantic City, New Jersey; in a dining car; and for the National Biscuit Company before he retired in 1966.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Victor Scheluchin on April 16, 1973 at the Council Workshop for Senior Citizens on 125th Street in Manhattan, New York. The first name of the narrator is unknown. Topics of discussion include Jackson's childhood and family; social activities in New York, New York; Prohibition; and his work experience. Jackson recalls his childhood, including having a small family with step-siblings; being forced to attend church by his mother; playing shortstop for his school baseball team and french horn in the school band; and leaving school to work as a golf caddy. He migrated to New York City because he wanted adventure and enjoyed traveling. He speaks about his work in multiple hotels in New York State and New Jersey; leaving hotel work to be a cook on a dining car; and working as a porter for the National Biscuit Company until 1966. He discusses his personal and social life, including meeting his first wife while working in a hotel in New York and meeting his second wife in Florida and traveling around the United States with her. He also mentions enjoying dancing but being disinclined to touch his partner; buying whiskey in Atlantic City, New Jersey for five dollars a quart during Prohibition; and attending racially integrated nightclubs.

See also: Council Workshop for Senior Citizens III.

National Biscuit Company


1973 April 16
Box: 26 Reel : 98a - 98b (Master reel [31142054874667])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 72a-b, 73a-c (Access cassette) Jacobson, Arno: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Arno Jacobson was born in Berlin, Germany in 1935. His family immigrated to Cuba through the assistance of an unspecified international Jewish aid society in 1939 and to the United States through the sponsorship of a unspecified Jewish family in 1941. The family lived at the Hebrew International Aid Society on Lafayette Street in Manhattan, New York before moving to Elwood Street in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan. He graduated from the High School of Music and Art in New York City in 1953 and studied art at the City College of New York from 1953 to 1956. He worked in the Photography Department of the Brooklyn Museum and was a member and official of the Staff Association, a union of employees at the Museum.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Linda Bauer on May 11, 1974 by an unspecified interviewer at an unspecified location. The interview covers Arno Jacobson's childhood, his education, his working life, and his union activity. Jacobson describes the types of people who lived in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan, New York and friends he had in the neighborhood. He recalls that he was fearful as a child as a result of his sheltered upbringing. He describes his father's work as a leather cutter in handbag factories; a summer he worked with his father in one of these factories when he was 16 years old; the difference in pay between skilled and unskilled laborers; and racial discrimination amongst the workers. He describes his time at the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan; how inclusive an environment it was; and how it matured him. He discusses his decision to drop out of the City College of New York and jobs he held subsequent to that decision.

Jacobson discusses his job in the Photography Department of the Brooklyn Museum and how he organized and led the Staff Association, a union of employees at the Museum. He discusses the Association's decision to join District Council 37 and issues the Association faced during his time as its head, including which employees were allowed to be members and budget struggles faced by the Museum. He also describes his decision to declare himself as a conscientious objector after the Korean War.

Museums |x Employees |z United States.
AFSCME. District Council 37 (New York, N.Y.)Brooklyn Museum


1974 May 11
Box: 85 Reel : 822a (Master reel [31142054875250])
Box: 86 Reel : 822b - 822d (Master reel [31142054875268])
Box: 1 Folder : 45 Jacobson, Arno: Transcript
1974 May 11
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 186 (Access cassette) Johns, Ponnie

Biographical Note

Ponnie Johns migrated from the southern United States to New York, New York in 1930 with five members of his family. While in New York he married and joined the Freemasons.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted in Ponnie Johns' apartment in the Robert F. Wagner Houses in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. The date and interviewer are unknown. The main topics of discussion include Johns' early childhood and a comparison of New York when he migrated and at the time of the interview. Johns discusses his childhood in the southern United States (US), including his siblings and the death of their father in 1928. Johns recalls growing up on a farm that produced cotton, tobacco, corn, vegetables, and raised animals; and moving to New York in 1930 to find work during the Great Depression. His earliest memories of New York City include believing the apartment buildings were factories because he had never seen such tall buildings; joining the Shiloh Baptist Church in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan shortly after his migration; joining a Masonic Lodge in 1948; and paying six dollars to an agency to find him a job. He compares New York City when he arrived and at the time of the interview, including increased crime rates; the changing use of a particular racial epithet; his opinion that children were not as well behaved as they once were; his belief that making less money made people less greedy; and that the younger generation does not know how to dance.

See also: Council Workshop for Senior Citizens I.

Depressions |y 1929 |z New York (State) |z New York.


Undated
Box: 26 Reel : 100a - 100b (Master reel [31142054874667])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 202, 204 (Access cassette) Johnson, Callie

Biographical Note

Callie Johnson was born in Vanceboro, North Carolina on October 26, 1895 and grew up in La Grange, North Carolina. She had two older sisters and six younger brothers. She graduated the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina in Greensboro, North Carolina and taught fourth grade for ten years. She migrated to New York in her late twenties, and worked as a tutor for a young boy in Mount Vernon; a special education teacher; and a religious education teacher. She owned a boarding house for young women.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Nina Cobb on December 6, 1975 at an unknown location. The main topics in this interview include Callie Johnson's childhood in North Carolina, her work as a teacher and a tutor, her romantic endeavors, and her social life. Johnson begins by discussing her early life in North Carolina, including her multiple siblings, their lives, and occupations; the death of her mother; her father's work as a minister; and her responsibility for her six younger brothers. She discusses attending the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina in order to become a teacher; desiring to work as a teacher in Africa; and having to leave teaching because she became ill. She recalls her seven year engagement to a man she met in college; his refusal to marry before he completed his degree; and his death before their wedding.

Johnson mentions her work in New York state, specifically her employment in Mount Vernon as a tutor for a young boy; the fact that the family treated her extremely well; and her work teaching children with special needs. She discusses moving to Brooklyn after her time in Mount Vernon; attending a Quaker seminary; and teaching religious education at different churches five nights a week for seven years. She recalls her social life, including associating herself with mostly young professionals in New York; marrying because she was getting older; and not having a happy marriage because she realized her husband had married her for her money and property. She discusses owning a boardinghouse for young working women; helping these women to support themselves; allowing the women to stay for one month free of charge and then charging them minimal amounts until they could afford their own room elsewhere; and deciding to create the house because she would have wanted help if she was in the same situation.

African American women teachers |v Interviews.


1975 December 6
Box: 26 Reel : 101a (Master reel [31142054874667])
Box: 27 Reel : 101b - 101c (Master reel [31142054874675])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 220, 220a (Access cassette) Joseph, Beatrice

Biographical Note

Beatrice Joseph was born on Nevis in Saint Kitts and Nevis. She immigrated to the United States with her mother, and worked in the garment industry. She married in 1934.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Jay Facciolo at the A. Philip Randolph Senior Citizen Center in Harlem, New York on November 20, 1975. The beginning and the end of the interview are not included in the recording. The main topics include Beatrice Joseph's work in the garment industry; her living arrangement with her mother; and her marriage. Joseph discusses living on 62nd street in Manhattan, New York with her mother from the time they immigrated to the United States (US) until Joseph married, and giving her mother all of her wages. She recalls taking the N train in the New York City subway to the Garment District neighborhood of Manhattan in order to look for work; sewing buttons by hand in a garment factory; and never feeling that she was denied work because of her race. She discusses her husband, including the fact that they met at his uncle's church; her confusion regarding his place of birth in the Caribbean; his work in the garment industry; their two children, both of whom died in infancy; and his death in 1953.


1975 November 20
Box: 27 Reel : 102a (Master reel [31142054874675])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 114-115 (Access cassette) Katz, Joseph

Biographical Note

Joseph Katz was born in present day Lithuania to a small Jewish family. He immigrated to the United States in 1912 in order to avoid being drafted into the Russian Army. He lived in Baltimore, Maryland before he migrated to New York, New York. He worked as a cutter in the garment industry. He was a member of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union (ACWU) Local 15 while he worked in Baltimore and a member of the ACWU Local 4 while in New York City.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on February 28 and March 28, 1975 by Jay Facciolo at an unknown location. The main topics of this interview include Joseph Katz's childhood in Lithuania, his work in the garment industry, his education in the United States (US), and his union involvement. Katz begins by discussing his early life in Lithuania, including having two brothers who became Hebrew teachers; living in a two room house which doubled as a small grocery store; and immigrating to the US in order to avoid the draft in Lithuania. He describes his life after immigration, including arriving in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but immediately moving to Baltimore, Maryland to stay with a family friend; attending night school in Baltimore to learn English; training to be a cutter in the garment industry and being paid five dollars a week; joining the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America Union (ACWA) Local 15 in Baltimore; and moving to New York City in order to find work when his Local went on strike. Katz discusses his employment after migrating to New York, including transferring to the ACWA Local 4; being paid double what he received in Baltimore; attending an unspecified design school at night; and working seasonally. He discusses his union involvement in detail, including his attendance at weekly meetings; his participation in votes regarding strikes; the lack of strength of the union in regards to negotiation with businesses; and the fact that the ACWA provided educational programs for its members.


1975 February 28
Box: 27 Reel : 103a - 103b (Master reel [31142054874675])
Box: 28 Reel : 103c - 103d (Master reel [31142054874683])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 116-117 (Access cassette) Kimberg, Lena: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Lena Kimberg was born near Vilna, Russia in 1892. She immigrated to the United States and settled in New York, New York in 1901, where she lived with her extended family and attended elementary school. She worked as a milliner from the age of 13 until her marriage in 1914.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Howard Harris on February 24 and March 17, 1975 at the Workmen's Circle Home for the Aged in the Bronx, New York. Topics include Lena Kimberg's life in Russia; her family's immigration to the United States (US); the work experiences of her and her family members; her education; and leisure activities in which she participated. She discusses her family's employment in Russia, including her father working as a foreman for a lumber company; one uncle being apprenticed to a tailor; another uncle studying in a yeshiva; and her mother caring for the home and the children. She recalls her family's immigration, including her father's immigration two years before hers; her family's reliance on the money he sent; her immigration with other family members when she was nine years old; and the eventual immigration of her entire immediate family.

Kimberg recalls her work experiences, including making bows and flowers for hats at thirteen years old, and receiving an official work permit when she was fourteen years old. She recounts starting work as a milliner at two dollars and fifty cents a week; receiving a raise to eight dollars by the end of her first year; becoming a foreman at the age of 17; and leaving her job when she married. She discusses her family's employment in the US, including her father working in a men's clothing factory; her uncles' opening a garment shop a year after they immigrated; and her older brother being employed as a cutter in the garment industry.

Kimberg discusses her mother teaching her Hebrew; learning English from other Jewish immigrants in her neighborhood; wanting to attend high school but having to work instead; and having to quit night school because she was too tired. She recalls the importance of education for boys in Russia, specifically that they were taught Hebrew, Yiddish, and Russian. She discussed the fact that she and her older brother saved money in order to send her younger brother to Woods Secretarial School in Manhattan rather than furthering their own education. She discusses leisure activities, in particular creating a social club with other neighborhood couples and spending time outside of work with the women she supervised.

Workmen's Circle (U.S.)


1975 February 24 and March 17
Box: 98 Reel : 912a - 912b (Master reel [31142054875383])
Box: 99 Reel : 912c - 912d (Master reel [31142054875391])
Box: 1 Folder : 46 Kimberg, Lena: Summary
1975 February 24 and March 17
Box: No Master Klein, David: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

David Klein lived in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. He was a canvasser for the Socialist Party of America.

Scope and Content Note

The interviewer, date, and location of the interview are unknown. A third man is present during the interview, but is unidentified. The interview covers David Klein's interest and involvement in the Socialist Party of America. Klein mumbles and his train of thought is hard to follow.

Klein discusses his childhood in New York, New York, including moving often to different locations in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan and not understanding the reasons for the frequent moves. He recounts events that led to his being hired as a canvasser for the Socialist Party; his responsibilities in this position; and odd jobs he used to supplement his income. He recounts the establishment of the Harlem Labor Council and his reporting on the joint sessions of Congress that led to the creation of the National Labor Relations Act. Throughout the interview, Klein relates incidents and personalities from the Socialist movement in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s; Socialist politicians, including Louis Waldman, Norman Thomas, and Meyer London; sit down strikes in stores in the Brownsville and East New York neighborhoods in Brooklyn; and divisions within the Socialist Party regarding labor, fascism, and communism.

Klein's sister, Helen Rothman, was also interviewed for the New York City Immigrant Labor Project. Her interview covers part of Klein's life. See also: Rothman, Helen.

Socialists |x Political activity |z United States |x History.
Jewish socialists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews.


Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 47 Klein, David: Index
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 250 (Access cassette) Koch, Vera

Biographical Note

Vera Koch was born in Hungary to a Catholic family. She immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island, New York in 1922. She lived in Yonkers, New York and was employed as a live-in maid, nanny, and companion until 1928, when she married and had children. After the death of her husband, she was employed as a maid at the Hampshire House Hotel on Central Park South in Manhattan and was a member of the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees International Union Local 6.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Scott Weir on April 22, 1974 at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center in Manhattan, New York. Main topics include Vera Koch's childhood; her immigration to the United States (US); her experiences during the Great Depression and World War II; and her work experiences. She recalls her childhood in Hungary, including working on her family's farm during World War I (WWI); her town being isolated from the war; her father immigrating to the United States (US) with her older sister and returning to Hungary after WWI; and meeting her future husband at a church function. Her memories of the immigration process include spending a week in Hamburg, Germany; not associating with people who did not speak Hungarian; getting extra food because a friend could speak English with the sailors; and having to stay on the ship at Ellis Island for an extra night after her arrival.

Koch recalls leisure activities such as dancing the Charleston at clubs on 86th Street in Manhattan; listening to German music; coffee klatches with other women in the neighborhood; and having picnics in the parks during the summer. She discusses her experiences during the Great Depression and World War II, including having enough money to support her family because of her husband's tailoring shop; most people working two or three days a week and not being able to support their families; rationing; and being able to save money during World War II. She discusses her work experience, including being a live-in maid, nanny, and companion in Yonkers, New York for seven years before she married and had children; moving to Manhattan and working as a maid at the Hampshire House Hotel after her husband died; and participating in the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees International Union Local 6.

See also: Neighborhood.

World War, 1914-1918 |z United States.
Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees International Union. Local 6 (Hotel, Restaurant and Club Employees Union) (New York, N.Y.)


1974 April 22
Box: 28 Reel : 107a - 107b (Master reel [31142054874683])
Box: Missing Krawitz, Jennie: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Jennie Krawitz was born in Kiev in the Ukrainian region of the Russian Empire. She was one of three children, who were orphaned before 1909. Krawitz immigrated to the United States on September 22, 1909. She lived on Seventh Street and Avenue A in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York and Second Avenue near 19th Street in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan. She worked in the garment industry making ladies' waists and dresses. She worked for the Triangle Shirtwaist Company and survived the fire on March 25, 1911 after four months of recovery in a hospital. She married in 1914 and had one son. She and her husband were active members of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU).

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Karen Kearns. The date and location are unknown. The audio recording for this interview is missing. This interview covers Jennie Krawitz's childhood in Kiev; her immigration to the United States (US) in 1909; and her involvement in the garment industry and the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU). Krawitz begins by describing her childhood in Kiev, recalling how she learned to sew in school and that she and her sisters were orphaned prior to their immigration to the US. She describes immigrating to the US in 1909; initially settling with her cousins in New York, New York; and bringing her two sisters to the US. She explains that she worked making ladies' waists. She recalls working at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory; her experience during the fire in 1911; her four month recovery in the hospital; and being awarded an $800 settlement. She recounts transitioning from week work to sample making to piece work, noting that she made enough money to vacation in the mountains or in Florida during July and August. She explains that she was an active member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union; participated in strikes in 1909 and 1911; taught her husband how to make dresses; and helped her husband become a manager for Local 22 of the ILGWU. Other topics include reflections on Italian women in the garment industry; her husband's other occupation as a writer; and her reflections on the nursing home in which she lived at the time of the interview.

Triangle Shirtwaist Company |y Fire, 1911.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 22 (New York, N.Y.)
Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 97 Krawitz, Jennie: Summary
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 119-120 (Access cassette) Kriemer, Rose: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Rose Kriemer was born in Russia in 1899. She was one of nine children. Her family owned a small farm and her father worked as a teacher in Kiev. She immigrated to the United States in 1913 with one of her brothers. She lived in the Bronx, New York and worked for four years in a factory making hand muffs. She married and had two children in Freehold, New Jersey. She returned to work at the same factory when her children started school and worked there for 17 years. She worked for the next 12 years making skirts and joined the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Local 23. She was a member of an unspecified fur workers' union (likely the International Fur and Leather Workers Union of the United States and Canada).

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Frank Faragasso on February 27 and March 6, 1975 at the Workmen's Circle Home for the Aged in the Bronx, New York. The interview covers Rose Kriemer's family and childhood in Russia, her immigration to the United States (US), her working life, and her union activity. Kriemer discusses her family and childhood in Russia, including her father's occupation as a teacher in Kiev and the family's small farm. She describes working in the US after her immigration and wanting to attend school, but being unable to do so as she was required to work overtime in order to keep her job. She recounts returning to work in order to provide better opportunities for her children. She describes the first factory in which she worked, including the decent working conditions; her salary; one strike in which she participated that brought in an unspecified fur workers' union (likely the International Fur and Leather Workers Union of the United States and Canada); changes in working conditions and salaries after the factory was unionized; and her return to the factory after her children started school. She describes herself as a fast worker and able to make a good living with piece work. She describes the abilities of the other workers in relation to herself; the types of jobs in the factory; and the division of labor between men and women. She discusses the system of work in the factory; the fact that some workers brought work home in order to make more money through the piece work system; and her decision to bring this to the notice of the supervisors. She describes seasonal work, including working overtime from January to April and working two or three days a week the rest of the year. She explains that most problems in the factory existed between the workers since the unions taught the members how to get along with management.

Other topics include her dislike of Communists; the deaths of her family in Russia and the acquisition of their land by the Bolsheviks; and her confusion over the reason for their deaths.

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 23-25 (New York, N.Y.)International Fur and Leather Workers Union of the United States and Canada


1975 February 27 and March 6
Box: 29 Reel : 109a - 109c (Master reel [31142054874691])
Box: 1 Folder : 48 Kreimer, Rose: Summary
1975 February 27 and March 6
Box: Missing Kuthan, Anna: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Anna Kuthan was born in Ústí nad Orlicí in Austria-Hungary, later Czechoslovakia. She had two siblings and three step-siblings. Her father was a soldier, and both of her parents worked in a local textile factory. She attended school while occasionally working in the same textile factory as her parents and in domestic service. Her father sent her and her siblings to Vienna, Austria so that they could avoid the hazards of factory work. She immigrated to the United States in 1922. She lived in different neighborhoods in New York, New York. She married a carpenter and had one daughter.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Karen Kearns on March 18 and April 7, 1976 at Anna Kuthan's home in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. The audio recording for this interview is missing. Kearns notes that Kuthan had been frequently interviewed for local media and museums, and wrote a column in a nationally circulated Czech magazine. The interview covers Kuthan's childhood and adolescence in Austria-Hungary and Czechoslovakia; her immigration to the United States (US) in 1922; and her work in domestic service in both Europe and New York.

Kuthan describes the class structure in her hometown and compares the labor and conditions of the textile factory in which she and her family worked to the labor and conditions of the African-Americans who worked on plantations in the southern US. She explains that her father was married twice and relates stories of how he met both of his wives. She mentions that her father saved his money to send his children to Vienna, Austria, where he believed they had a better chance to be healthy and successful. She describes her jobs in domestic service and recalls thinking that the US was a great country after retrieving American Red Cross food packages at a post office for one of her employers. Other topics from her time in Europe include her siblings' occupations; living conditions in Austria during World War I (WWI); returning to Czechoslovakia after WWI; and her view of domestic work.

Kuthan explains that she convinced a man from her hometown to take her with him when he returned to his business in the US and describes her passage and arrival in Ellis Island, New York in 1922. She describes finding work through a Czech employment agency on First Avenue between 72nd and 73rd Streets in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan and notes that Czech women often went into domestic work because they had no relatives in the US and thus needed a place to stay. She recalls moving rapidly from one domestic service job to another in order to learn new things and improve her wages. She explains that many immigrants married because they wanted to have their own homes and to alleviate their homesickness. She describes her marriage; her management of the household budget; and the family outings they took once her daughter was born. Other topics from her time in the US include her first impressions of New York City; occupations of Czech immigrants and neighborhoods and areas where they lived; her husband's work as a carpenter; the differences between men and women's jobs in the household; and her love of food.

World War, 1914-1918 -- Austria
1976 March 18 and April 4
Box: 1 Folder : 98 Kuthan, Anna: Summary
1976 March 18 and April 4
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 113 (Access cassette) Lacowsky, [Unknown]

Biographical Note

Mr. Lacowsky was born in Russia in the late 19th century. He immigrated to the United States in 1905, where he lived in Brooklyn, New York and worked in the garment industry. He was 105 years old at the time of the interview.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Louise Mayo. The location and date of this interview are unknown. The narrator's first name is unknown. Due to a language barrier and the advanced age of Mr. Lacowsky, this interview is extremely difficult to understand. Lacowsky discusses his emigration from Russia during the Russo-Japanese War in 1905; living in a tenement house; working in the garment industry; and telling friends in Europe about his life in the United States.


Undated
Box: 29 Reel : 111a (Master reel [31142054874691])
Box: 30 Reel : 111b (Master reel [31142054874709])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 121 (Access cassette) Lapidus, Rose: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Rose Lapidus was born in 1889 near Minsk, Russia and was the oldest of five children. She immigrated to the United States in 1910. She started working as a seamstress at the age of ten. She married in 1912 and had one son. She was a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and the Workmen's Circle.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on March 18, 1975 by Frank Farragaso at the Workmen's Circle Home for the Aged in the Bronx, New York. The interview covers Rose Lapidus' early life in Russia and her working life. Lapidus discusses her early life in a small town near Minsk, Russia, including antisemitism there and different jobs she held as a child and young woman. She discusses her immigration to the United States (US). She describes her first few jobs in garment factories in the US and the reasons she lost them, attributing these losses to the fact that the factories were non-union. She recounts working after her marriage and up until a few weeks before the birth of her son. She discusses not working in one place for too long; finding jobs through friends or agencies; preferring to be paid a salary rather than for piecework; and taking in work at home while her son was young. She describes the physical conditions in union and non-union factories and the benefits to working in union factories. She describes her work as a machine operator and the work of the finishers and pressers in the garment factories.

An electronic transcript of this interview is also available by request.

Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring


1975 March 18
Box: 30 Reel : 113a - 113b (Master reel [31142054874709])
Box: 1 Folder : 49 Lapidus, Rose: Summary
1975 March 18
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 224-224a (Access cassette) Leddie, Catherine: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Catherine Leddie was born on a farm in Claremorris, Ireland around 1890. She immigrated to the United States in 1907. She married and had five children.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on April 2, 1973 by Jon Saul at the Kingsbridge Heights Nursing Home in the Bronx, New York. The interview covers Catherine Leddie's early life in Ireland, her immigration to the United States (US), her working life, and her personal life. Leddie recalls Ireland as a beautiful place in which everyone had plenty to eat, but that young people were eager to leave as there was no opportunity for them there. She recalls enjoying the voyage to the US with neighbors and friends and knowing what to expect in New York, New York from listening to other immigrants who returned to Ireland recount their experiences. Her memories of her working life in New York include searching advertisements for housework, as that was the only work available to Irish women. She describes her first job living and working in the house of Henry Siegel in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan; being happy to work for the family; and enjoying their displays of wealth, especially their horses, carriages, and large household staff. She discusses how, as she gained more experience, she was able to acquire better paying positions.

Leddie recounts meeting her husband, a truck driver for a bread company, through one of her positions. She discusses having to stop working once she married and being busy caring for her five children. She recounts her and her husband's lack of interest in politics and the fact that they associated only with other working class Irish in New York.


1973 April 2
Box: 30 Reel : 114 (Master reel [31142054874709])
Box: 31 Reel : 114 (Master reel [31142054874717])
Box: 1 Folder : 50 Leddie, Catherine: Transcript and Index
1973 April 2
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 235 (Access cassette) Lee, Kelson

Biographical Note

Kelson Lee was born in New York, New York in 1895. He owned a millinery until the 1960s when was forced to close the millinery. Lee was a member of the United Hatters of North America.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Karin Young at the Council Workshop for Senior Citizens on 125th Street, Manhattan, New York on May 16, 1973. Main topics include Kelson Lee's work as a milliner; his life in New York, New York from the Prohibition era through World War II; and social activities in which he participated. Lee touches on his early life, including being the oldest of six children; having one sister who was a doctor; and his family spreading out around the United States while he stayed in New York. He discusses his work as a milliner, including starting by selling flowers to hat manufacturers before owning his own company manufacturing ladies' hats. He recalls his hiring practices, including the fact that most of his workers were women; that he would not hire immigrants, in particular German Jews; and that he and his employees were members of the United Hatters of North America. He explains that his company survived the Great Depression because women did not stop wearing hats during the period. He comments on his social activities, including frequenting speakeasies, nightclubs, and cafes; and reading the New York Times,  New York Post, and  New York Herald Tribune. He also discusses his wife, including meeting her at a restaurant that he and his friends went to regularly; attending many social activities and events with her; never fighting in their 40 years of marriage; and missing her tremendously after she died.

Lee describes life in New York City between the Prohibition era and World War II, including the abundance of speakeasies; speakeasies that catered to different social classes; and the fact that gangsters only went to Lindy's on 50th Street in Manhattan and were not regularly seen elsewhere. He recalls many individuals resorting to selling apples on street corners during the Depression; the crowds in the streets when the World War I armistice was signed; and his opinion that World War I was much more difficult to survive than World War II.

Depressions |y 1929 |z New York (State) |z New York.
Prohibition |z New York (State) |z New York


1973 May 16
Box: 28 Reel : 104a (Master reel [31142054874683])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 112a-b (Access cassette) Leff, Rebecca: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Rebecca Leff was born in 1904 near Brest-Litovsk, Russia. She immigrated to the United States in 1920 and lived in Brooklyn, New York. She worked in the garment industry and was a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) Local 91 and Local 22. She was elected as a delegate to the ILGWU's national conventions in 1932 and 1934.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Frank Farragaso at Rebecca Leff's home in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York on an unspecified date. The interview covers Leff's early life in Russia, her family, her working life, and her union activity. Leff discusses her childhood in a small town near Brest-Litovsk, Russia, including skirmishes in her town during World War I and the Russian Revolution. She describes her family's immigration to the United States; her father's immigration in 1912 and the other family members' immigrations in 1920; and difficulties they faced in acquiring visas. She discusses attending school for two years in Brooklyn, New York before leaving to find work. She discusses wanting to work in the garment industry because she wanted to learn how to sew in order to be able to make her own clothes and because she was fascinated by sewing machines.

Leff discusses her decision to join the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) after being pressured to do so by the chairlady at her factory. She describes her work; the different jobs at the factory and their responsibilities; the working conditions in the factory; and the ethnic demographics of the workers, mainly Jewish and Italian. She describes her union activity, including the different locals to which she belonged; her willingness to participate in organizing and education events; and her election as a delegate to the ILGWU's national conventions in 1932 and 1934. Other topics include conditions for garment workers during the Great Depression; her off-season work on dolls' dresses; and her life at the time of the interview, including her volunteer work as a friendly visitor to retired ILGWU members in nursing homes.

An electronic transcript of this interview is also available by request.

World War, 1914-1918 |z Russia |v Personal narratives.
Soviet Union |x History |y Revolution,1917-1921 |v Personal narratives, Russian.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 22 (New York, N.Y.)International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 91 (New York, N.Y.)


Undated
Box: 31 Reel : 115a - 115c (Master reel [31142054874717])
Box: 1 Folder : 51 Leff, Rebecca: Summary
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 238 (Access cassette) Leisure

Scope and Content Note

This recording contains excerpts of different interviews, all of which focus on discussions of leisure activity in New York, New York. The volume and sound quality of this recording fluctuate between excerpts. These interviews include discussions of visits to the movies, museums, the opera, and the theater; the development of labor union choruses and orchestras; a series of Know Your City events that gave members of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union the chance to explore various places of interest in New York; activities related to religious institutions; social and dating activities; political clubs and organizations; books and reading circles; sports teams; and vacation activities inside and outside of New York. The excerpts cover topics relating to restrictions on who could participate in different activities including leisure activities among different immigrant groups; between men and women; and racial discrimination.

See also: Magliacano, Joseph; Richards; Evadni; Torres, Tony; and Ward, Katherine.


Undated
Box: 32 Reel : 116a - 116b (Master reel [31142054874725])
: Access Cassettes Box-folder : 253-255 (Access cassette) Leonard, John

Biographical Note

John Leonard was born into a large Irish family in New York, New York in 1889. His father died in 1912 and his mother died in 1915. He worked in different industries, but mainly in construction.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Scott Weir at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center in Manhattan, New York on April 29 and June 6, 1974. Main topics discussed include John Leonard's family and childhood; his work experience; and his participation in World War I (WWI), his leisure activities; and his politics. Leonard discusses his family, including his parents' emigration from Ireland; his father's employment with the New York City Department of Street Cleaning; his six siblings; the death of his parents; and his lack of emotional support after the death of his mother in 1915. He recalls his childhood, including living in different areas of Manhattan; attending both Catholic and public elementary schools; and living in a predominantly German and Irish community. He discusses his employment history, including working for the Siegel-Cooper department store in Manhattan as a messenger during school vacations; working for Jacob Ruppert & Company brewery in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan; and being employed in an unspecified war production factory during World War II. He discusses working in construction for most of his life and his wife supplementing his income by working from home as a seamstress. He recalls his military service during WWI, including being drafted into the Army; being sent to Camp Upton on Long Island for training; and being stationed at Camp Upton for a short time before the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Other topics regarding WWI include the increased beer tax preventing Leonard from frequenting bars for lunch; his neighbors not supporting the United States' (US) involvement in the war until the sinking of the RMS Lusitania; and that after the war there were no jobs.

Leonard discusses leisure activities within his community, including playing softball during the summer; playing basketball and football during the winter; and playing cards and craps with his neighbors. He discusses politics in the US, including the increased support for the Nazi Party in his neighborhood because the German population believed Adolf Hitler was good for Germany; his opinion that state politicians focused on winning the votes of New York City residents because the population was large enough to determine election results; his belief that the Socialist Party of America was good for workers but that it lost influence after WWI; and that he did not view McCarthyism as a problem since it did not directly affect him or his neighbors.


1974 April 29 and June 6
Box: 32 Reel : 117a - 117c (Master reel [31142054874725])
Box: 33 Reel : 117d - 117e (Master reel [31142054874733])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 123 a-b (Access cassette) Leos, Goldie: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Goldie Leos was born in Lychkovtse in the Minsk region of Russia in the late 1890s. She was born into a middle-class, well-educated Jewish family. She immigrated to the United States (US) through Ellis Island, New York in 1916. She worked briefly in the garment industry before marrying in 1918. She had many financial troubles in the US, and after her marriage she took in boarders to supplement her husband's income. One of her uncles bought Leos and her husband a stationery store, which they managed until her husband's death in the 1950s.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by John Jentz on March 3, 1975 at the Workmen's Circle Home for the Aged in the Bronx, New York. Topics include Goldie Leos' childhood in Russia; her education; her immigration to the United States (US) and first experiences in New York, New York; her marriage; her work experiences; and her views on religion. Leos discusses her childhood in Russia, including the fact that her family ran a business selling animal hides; that her father was a scholar while her mother controlled the household and business; and that she supported the family after her mother died by selling homemade candy to local businesses. She recalls her father remarrying; disliking her stepmother; the family moving to Baranovichi, Russia from Lychkovtse, Russia after her father remarried; and resenting having to continue supporting the family after they relocated. She discusses her education, including being one of only eight Jewish girls in Lychkovtse to learn Hebrew; learning Yiddish and Russian; receiving private tutoring because there was no public education for Jews; and feeling frustrated that she was not taught skills she could use in the workforce.

Leos discusses her immigration to the US through Ellis Island in 1916, including having no immediate relatives to help support her after she arrived and feeling frustrated that she often needed to depend on distant relatives for financial support. She recalls meeting her husband in Russia and becoming reaquainted with him shortly after her arrival in the US; deciding to marry him after he cared for her during an illness; supporting him financially by taking in boarders; and rarely being apart from him until his death in the 1950s. She discusses her work experiences including sewing buttons onto children's clothing; folding nightgowns in an unnamed factory; and managing a stationery store in the Bronx with her husband.

Leos discusses her belief that Hasidic Jews were the happiest members of their faith; her opinion that religion strengthened her relationship with her family; and her involvement with the Zionist movement.

Zionism and Judaism.


1975 March 3
Box: 33 Reel : 118a - 118b (Master reel [31142054874733])
Box: 1 Folder : 52 Leos, Goldie: Summary
1975 March 3
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 56 (Access cassette) Levine, Samuel (Sam)

Biographical Note

Samuel Levine was born in March 1892 in Brestowitz, Poland. He had one brother. His father worked as a salesperson in the local market. He immigrated to the United States (US) in June 1913 and settled on Cherry Street in Manhattan, New York with his future wife's family. He married in 1916 and had four children. After his marriage, he and his family moved to Brooklyn. Levine worked in garment factories in both Poland and the US, making leather garments, hats, and buttonholes. He worked briefly as a peddler and as a waiter before returning to the garment trade. He belonged to an unspecified cloakmakers' union.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Suzanne Michel at the Bialystoker Home for the Aged on April 10, 1974. The interview covers Samuel Levine's childhood in Brestowitz, Poland; his immigration to the United States (US) in 1913; and his work in the garment and service industries and as a peddler. Levine describes his childhood in Poland, recalling the various garment factories in which he worked from the age of 13. He notes that he decided to immigrate to the US in order to avoid conscription into the Russian Army. He explains that he first lived with his uncle in Portchester, New York before moving to Cherry Street in Manhattan. He emphasizes the strong relationship between himself and his wife's family that developed over the years in which he boarded with them and after his marriage in 1916. He describes working as a milliner, peddler, waiter, and cloakman, noting that although he initially made less money in the US than he did in Poland, the work in the US was easier. Other topics include his education at night classes in New York; his wife's occupation as a trimmer; his enjoyment of the movies and Jewish theater; his US citizenship; and his children's education.

Related Materials

New Yorkers at Work Oral History Collection, OH.001--Sam and Bessie Levine.


1974 April 10
Box: 33 Reel : 119a (Master reel [31142054874733])
Box: 34 Reel : 119b (Master reel [31142054874741])
Box: 100 Cassette : 119a - 119b (Master cassette [31142054875409])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 21 (Access cassette) Levine, Sylvia: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Sylvia Levine was born in Minsk, Russia in the late 1890s. She immigrated to the United States (US) in 1913 when she was 16 years old and worked in the garment industry. She married in 1918 and had at least one child. She was a member of an unspecified garment workers' union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union).

Scope and Content Note

The interviewer, location, and date of this interview are unknown. The interview covers Sylvia Levine's childhood in Minsk, Russia; her work in garment factories in New York, New York; and her husband's life. She discusses her childhood in Minsk, including learning Yiddish and Russian from a tutor in her home and attending Hebrew school. She discusses her work in the US, including the different types of ladies' garments she produced and production at the separate factories for each garment. She describes her first job as a member of an unspecified union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union) and struggles with her supervisor over pricing of the garments. She states that she had to stop working in 1918 when she married, but that she was able to return to work in 1931. Topics from her husband's life include his emigration from Russia; his travels across the US in search of work; his jobs as a machinist in Detroit, Michigan and Cleveland, Ohio; his work at the Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation in New Jersey; and his political opinions.


Undated
Box: 34 Reel : 120a (Master reel [31142054874741])
Box: 1 Folder : 53 Levine, Sylvia: Transcript and Summary
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 124 a-b (Access cassette) Levinson, Louis

Biographical Note

Louis Levinson was born in Staryya Darohi in the Minsk region of Russia in 1907 to a Jewish family. His father immigrated to the United States before World War I and Levinson, his mother, and his sister immigrated in 1923. Levinson entered the knitting industry in the mid-1920s in order to support his family. He worked as a cutter and was quickly promoted to head cutter. He was a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Local 155 until his retirement in 1972.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by John Jentz on February 25, 1975 at the offices of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) in Manhattan, New York. The main topics include Louis Levinson's emigration from the Soviet Union; his work in the garment industry; and his involvement with the ILGWU Local 155. Levinson discusses his difficulty emigrating from the Soviet Union, including leaving his mother and sister behind to walk to the border of the Soviet Union and Poland; having to bribe Bolshevik border guards with his mother's watch; sending for his mother and sister after he arrived in Poland; and his mother being shot by the Bolshevik guards. He recalls his family being arrested in Poland for being in the country illegally; receiving valid passports with the help of the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society of America; and the anti-Semitism the family encountered in Poland. He recalls his early experiences in the United States (US) including working in a dry goods store; quitting his job in order to attend a private school; his father having a stroke, leaving Levinson the sole earner of the household; and finding a job in the knitting industry.

Levinson discusses his work as a cutter and his involvement in labor unions, including failed attempts at unionization within the knitting industry until 1933; the fight between the United Textile Workers Union and the ILGWU for control of the knitting industry; and his involvement in the ILGWU after answering a newspaper advertisement looking for members. He recalls being elected to a provisional committee at his first ILGWU meeting and increasing the number of knitting workers in attendance by asking everyone to bring a new attendee to each meeting. He discusses his political involvement within his local including being a member of the executive board; holding nearly every office and being a member of every committee; being elected as the business agent in 1943; being re-elected in every election until he retired in 1972; and feeling extremely proud that he was able to influence the knitting industry through his work in the ILGWU.

Labor leaders -- New York (State) -- New York.


1974 February 25
Box: 34 Reel : 121a - 121b (Master reel [31142054874741])
Box: 101 Levitino, Frank: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Frank Levitino was born in a small town in Sicily, Italy around 1904. His father immigrated to the United States (US) a year after Levitino was born. Levitino and his mother immigrated to the US in 1921. The family lived lived on York and Main Streets in the Fulton Landing neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. In Italy, he and his mother worked on a farm. In the US, his mother did not work outside of the home. His father cleaned in a factory. Levitino's first two jobs in the US were in a can factory on Front Street in Brooklyn and in a sugar factory. He served in the United States Army Coast Artillery Corps for one year in the early 1920s. In 1927 he started working for the New York City Department of Sanitation, driving a truck and working as a welder in the mechanic bureau. He was a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers. He retired in 1972.

Levitino married in 1930 and had three children. The family lived in the same building as Levitino's parents in Fulton Landing.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Joan Granucci on April 9, 1974. The location is likely the Congress of Italian Americans Organization (CIAO) in Brooklyn, New York. The interview covers Frank Levitino's working life the United States (US) and his family. Levitino discusses his first jobs in the US, including the fact that the change from farm work to factory work did not bother him; that he was happy to be in America and have a job; and the poor working conditions and lack of unions in the factories. He discusses his work for the New York City Department of Sanitation, including first driving a truck; testing to become a welder in the mechanic bureau; and repairing motor blocks. He discusses failed attempts at unionization in the Department of Sanitation and the success of the International Union of Operating Engineers in 1966.

Sanitation workers |z New York (State) |z New York.
Welders (Persons) |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.
New York (N.Y.). Department of SanitationInternational Union of Operating Engineers


1974 April 9
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 155 (Access cassette)
Box: 34 Reel : 122a (Master reel [31142054874741])
Box: 1 Folder : 54 Levitino, Frank: Subject Cards
Undated
Box: Missing Lewis, George: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

George Lewis was born in Mobile, Alabama in 1897. He had two siblings and five half-siblings. His father worked as a carpenter in Mobile and for the American Car and Foundry Company in St. Louis, Missouri, and his mother worked as a cook for a wealthy family in Mobile. He attended elementary school up to the seventh grade. He worked at an unspecified sawmill, repair shop, and railroad in Alabama; at the Alabama Drydock Shipbuilding Company; at the Sun Shipyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and at the Baltimore Locomotive Works in Eddystone, Pennsylvania. While in Detroit, Michigan, he worked for the Dodge Brothers Company and for the Chrysler Corporation. He migrated to New York, New York in 1922 and settled in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. While in New York, he worked at the Pioneer Knitting Mill as a presser; at an unspecified company as an assistant stationary engineer; at a company that manufactured clamshell buckets; and at the Russell Sage Foundation.

Scope and Contents

The interviewer, date, and location of this interview are unknown. The audio recording for this interview is missing. This interview covers George Lewis's childhood in Alabama; his migrations to Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New York; and his life and work at each of these locations. Lewis begins by discussing a lack of education in the United States (US), noting that many schools excluded black children and poor children. He recalls having a doctor create a fake birth certificate and a friend teach him the appropriate technical knowledge so that he could work on the railroad. He describes a series of migrations after he left the railroad, noting that he went from the southern US to the northern US and back again before realizing that he could no longer tolerate the racism in his hometown and leaving for good in 1920. Lewis describes migrating to New York, New York in 1922, recalling that he did not have any family in New York and that he had to pursue different lines of work because employers were wary of hiring black employees in the mechanical fields. Other topics include descriptions of his jobs and wages; the impact of segregation on the various places in which he lived and traveled; his leisure activities in New York; anecdotes about how he developed his skills; his recollections concerning labor unions; and his experiences with politics and religion.

See also: Interview Compilation for Radio Broadcast.

Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 99 Lewis, George: Summary
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 217, 217a (Access cassette) Lewis, Ivan

Biographical Note

Ivan Lewis was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago in 1903. He immigrated to the United States and settled in New York, New York. In New York City, Lewis married and worked in steel plants, a slaughterhouse, and for an elevator company. He was a member of an unspecified elevator operators' union.

Scope and Content Note

Ivan Lewis was interviewed at his home in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. The date and interviewer are unknown. Main topics of discussion include Lewis' life in Trinidad and Tobago; his social life in New York City between the 1930s and the time of the interview; and politics at the time of the interview. Lewis discusses his early life in Trinidad and Tobago, including his family being wealthy and his father owning three estates; his father dying when Lewis was six; having three sisters and one brother; and attending high school. He mentions his immigration to the United States, including his first impressions of New York City; immigrating in order to continue his education; living with his aunt in Manhattan until he married in 1927; attending night school to become an auto mechanic; and being in awe of the New York City Subway and elevators. He discusses his participation in the social scene and leisure activities in New York City, including attending the Cotton Club every Thursday; socializing with his neighbors on the street and in cafes. He also recalls the existence of a large West Indian community in both Brooklyn and Harlem. He lists former employers, including Eastern Foundry in Trinidad and Tobago; and in the US, working for an unnamed spring manufacturer; Bethlehem Steel Corporation; and Wilson Slaughterhouse in Manhattan, New York. He discusses working as an elevator operator until his retirement. Lewis mentions that he was a member of an unnamed elevator operators' union and that the strikes were never violent. He discusses politics at the time of the interview including feeling disillusioned with politics; supporting Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and thinking Powell was killed because of his influence in the community; and believing that the events of the Watergate Scandal were not uncommon within politics.

See also: Family; Immigration, Migration, and First Impressions of New York, New York and the United States; and Neighborhood.

Elevator operators |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.
Cotton Club


Undated
Box: 35 Reel : 124a - 124b (Master reel [31142054874758])
Box: 75 Reel : 334a - 334b Life Before Immigration or Migration

Scope and Content Note

This recording contains excerpts of different interviews, all of which focus on discussions of immigrants' and migrants' lives before they came to New York, New York. The volume and sound quality of this recording fluctuate between excerpts. The excerpts include discussion of life in the narrators' places of origin, including education, social and economic conditions, ethnic relations, class differences, major occupations, and the differences in opportunities for men and women. A significant number of narrators address the Jewish experience, including the relationship between Jewish communities living alongside other religious communities in the same area; and anti-Semitism before and during World War II. Narrators also discuss their reasons for immigration or migration and the sequence of family members' immigration or migration.

See also: Brackett, Mary; Cappeletti, Caroline Lavecchia; Cohen, Rose; Fox, Abe; Geller, Bessie; Gelo, Grace; Prescant, Becky; Richards, Evadni; Robinson, Irene; Savio, Joseph; Sunderman, [Unknown]; and Unger, Margareta.


Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 208 (Access cassette) Little, Mary

Biographical Note

Mary Little was born on January 1, 1924 in Washington, North Carolina. She was the second of four children. Her parents worked in a tobacco warehouse in Greenwood, North Carolina. Her father died when Little was very young. Little graduated from high school in Washington. She moved to New York, New York in 1945, where she worked in various garment factories. She had two children, a daughter who became a registered nurse and a son who became an actor and a dancer.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Nina Cobb at Mary Little's home on the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York on April 4, 1976. This interview covers Little's childhood and adolescence in Washington, North Carolina, her migration to New York, New York in 1945, and her life in New York City up to the time of the interview. Little describes her childhood as split between Washington, where she was born, and the family's farm, which her mother inherited from her grandfather, a former slave. She discusses her work tending to cotton and peanut plants on the family farm and the differences in the chores she and her brothers were assigned. She describes her first job attending to the mother of a Mrs. Legette, a member of a prominent white family in Washington. She focuses on how she integrated with the family, noting that Mrs. Legette threatened to withdraw her membership from the local Presbyterian church if it did not allow Little to attend with the family. She discusses the open racial prejudice and segregation that permeated the southern United States (US); the jobs her brothers acquired; her marriage; and her desire to visit New York.

Little explains that she moved to New York in 1945 and adapted to Manhattan while living with her relatives. She describes working in a variety of garment factories, always moving on to a new factory when she had learned everything she could at the old one. She emphasizes the differences between living in the northern and southern United States, noting the differences in the ways that men treated women; the differences in family values; and the differences between living in the southern countryside and living in a northern city. Little ends the interview by talking about her children's occupations, focusing specifically on her son's acting career.


1976 April 4
Box: 35 Reel : 125a - 125b (Master reel [31142054874758])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 22-23 (Access cassette) Loskowitz, Charles: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Charles Loskowitz was born in Russia in the 1890s. He immigrated to the United States (US) in 1904 with his mother and two siblings, his father and two older siblings having immigrated earlier. The family settled in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. His father worked as a carpenter in Russia and as a presser in a dress factory in the US. His mother did not work outside the home. Loskowitz graduated from Public School 156 in Brooklyn and worked while attending a private high school. He worked in the Canadian Car and Foundry Company's ammunition plant in New Jersey until it was destroyed in 1917. He worked for Remington Arms in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He joined the US Army in 1917 and was stationed in England, France, and Germany. He was discharged at the end of World War I.

Loskowitz worked as a letter carrier for the United States Postal Service for 27 years, retiring in 1946. He was a member of the National Association of Letter Carriers and the American Legion. He married in 1917. He and his wife had three children before divorcing in the 1940s.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Mary B. Alexander at the Kingsbridge Heights Nursing Home in the Bronx, New York on March 21 and March 26, 1973. The interview covers Charles Loskowitz's childhood in Russia and the United States (US), his immigration to the US, his working life, and his marriage. Loskowitz compares his life in Russia with his life in US, including his surprise at the differences in the family's living arrangements; his confusion over laundry hanging outdoors on clotheslines; and his experiences at school. He discusses his work at the Canadian Car and Foundry Company's munitions plant in New Jersey; the explosion at the plant in 1917; and his recuperation at a stranger's home.

Loskowitz discusses not being interested in joining immigrant organizations but in organizations related to his experiences in the US, in particular his occupation as a letter carrier and his Army service during World War I which led to his joining the National Association of Letter Carriers and the American Legion. He discusses his marriage at length, describing his unhappiness in the marriage; the arrangement of the marriage by his mother and her cousin; and his children's relationship with him and his wife after the divorce. He describes his wife changing her and their children's last name to Laskoe in order to Americanize it and his neutral feelings about this change. He explains reasons immigrants would change their names once in the US.

Other topics include his children and their occupations; his opinions on Judaism and Catholicism; sports he played as a child; and songs he would sing with his family around the dinner table.

Divorce |z United States |v Anecdotes.
Kingsland Explosion, Lyndhurst, N.J., 1917
National Association of Letter Carriers (U.S.)


1973 March 21 and March 26
Box: 35 Reel : 127a (Master reel [31142054874758])
Box: 36 Reel : 127b - 127d (Master reel [31142054874766])
Box: 1 Folder : 55 Loskowitz, Charles: Summary
1973 March 21 and March 26
Box: Missing Lynch, Gwendaline: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Gwendaline Lynch was born on October 26, 1900 in Jamaica. Her father was a minister, and her mother was a teacher. She graduated from high school in Jamaica. She immigrated to Colombia where she worked as a secretary and taught English to children in her home. After contracting malaria, she returned to Jamaica before immigrating to the United States (US) in 1921. She settled on 7th Avenue and West 142nd Street in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. She worked in the garment industry, for the federal government, and as a secretary and stenographer for Marcus Garvey. She married in 1925 and had four children.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Cenen Moreno on April 9, 1974, at an unknown location. The audio recording for this interview is missing. This interview covers Gwendaline Lynch's childhood and early adult life in Jamaica and Colombia; her immigration to the United States (US) in 1921; and her work for and relationship with Marcus Garvey. Lynch describes her childhood and education in Jamaica. She discusses her immigration to Colombia after graduating from St. John's College and Preparatory School and her decision to live near her step-sister and her husband. She describes her work as a secretary for a prestigious banker and how his competitors tried to poach her while he was away. She explains that she did not encounter racial prejudice in Colombia, but that there were distinctions along gender and class lines and that she was viewed as different because it was not customary for women to work. She explains that she returned to Jamaica when she contracted malaria and from there immigrated to the United States (US) in 1921, originally intending to stay only six months.

Lynch recalls being astounded by racial prejudice in the US and relates the differences between people's behavior in the US and in Colombia. She describes living with her aunt on 7th Avenue and West 142nd Street in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York and meeting her first Jamaican friend at St. Philip's Church in Harlem. She explains that she first met Marcus Garvey in Jamaica and that she became his secretary and stenographer in New York after attending one of his meetings there. She describes Garvey's ideology and philosophy; the problems with developing and implementing the Black Star Line, particularly the first voyage of the Yarmouth; tension between Garvey's idealist views and the mercenary tendencies of those that worked for him; his relationship with W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington; and his arrest for mail fraud, trial, and subsequent time in jail. She explains that she left Garvey's organization before she married in 1925. She discusses her career after her marriage, including working for a broker in Harlem, for a dress business, and for the federal government during World War II. Other topics include teaching English to children in Colombia; political disputes and the impact they had on the Colombian people; a secretarial business she established with some friends in New York; her children's education and occupations; and a comparison of the situation of the black population in the US in the past and at the time of the interview.

Secretaries -- New York (State) -- New York
Jamaicans |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.
Colombia.
Garvey, Marcus, 1887-1940
1974 April 9
Box: 1 Folder : 100 Lynch, Gwendaline: Summary
1974 April 9
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 239 (Access cassette) M., Flora

Biographical Note

Flora M. was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and was the fifth of many children. The full surname of this interviewee is unknown. Her father was a meat merchant and her mother managed the household. Flora migrated to the United States when she was 13 years old, joining her sister who had migrated earlier. She worked as a dressmaker predominantly doing piecework and was a member of International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Local 22. She married and had one daughter.

Scope and Content Note

The interviewer, date, and location of this interview are unknown. The second track of the interview is entirely in Spanish. This interview covers Flora M.'s childhood in Puerto Rico; her migration to the United States; her early years in New York; and cultural and environmental differences she observes between New York and Puerto Rico. Flora describes her childhood in Ponce, Puerto Rico and explains that she migrated to New York when she was 13 at the request of her sister, who had migrated earlier. She recalls that she would have remained in Puerto Rico but that her mother sent her, despite her desire to stay, and that this created a rift between them. She explains that the rest of her family eventually migrated to New York in search of economic security. She recounts attending high school at night in New York and notes that few of the Puerto Rican students took their education seriously. She briefly describes learning dressmaking; working on piecework; and joining Local 22 of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

Flora explains that she married a significantly older man in order to escape her sister's strict rules. She focuses on her initial experiences in New York, describing the poverty that forced her to look through the garbage to find food during the Great Depression and her acclimation to winter in New York. She emphasizes the decline in the importance of religion for some Puerto Ricans after they migrated to New York, observing that many of her family members went to church less and less frequently once they were in New York.

Puerto Ricans -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 22 (New York, N.Y.)


Undated
Box: 44 Reel : 332b/150a (Master reel [31142054874840])
Box: 100 Cassette : 150 (Master cassette [31142054875409])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 146 (Access cassette) Magliacano, Joseph: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Joseph Magliacano was born on July 11, 1897 in San Marco in the province of Salerno, Italy. He immigrated to the United States in 1913. He lived in the Bronx, New York; the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York; and Newark, New Jersey. He graduated from an unspecified chiropractic college in New York City (likely the Carver Chiropractic College) in 1924. He was a member of the American Labor Party, an unspecified barbers' union in New York, and the executive committee of the New Jersey State Congress of Industrial Organizations. He was an organizer for a number of labor unions, including the United Textile Workers of America and the United Shoe Workers' Union. He was a founder of the United Furniture Workers of America and remained with that organization until his retirement.

Magliacano married in 1931. His wife was Jewish and was born in Bronxville, New York. She was a member of the United Shoe Workers Union and an organizer for an unspecified Jewish women's organization. They had at least one child together.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on March 27, 1973 by Joan Granucci at Joseph Magliacano's home in New Jersey. The interview covers Magliacano's early life in Salerno, Italy; his immigration to the United States (US); his varied career in the American labor movement; and his personal life. Magliacano discusses his childhood in San Marco in the province of Salerno; his family; and his immigration to the US. He discusses working as a barber in New York City; being a member of an unspecified barbers' union; attending an unspecified school in Manhattan (likely the Rand School of Social Science); and attending and graduating from an unspecified chiropractic college in Manhattan (likely the Carver Chiropractic College) He discusses hitchhiking to Chicago, Illinois after graduation to attend a postgraduate course at an unspecified chiropractic college there; learning that the barbers' union was holding its national convention in Indianapolis, Indiana and deciding to attend; and deciding to rejoin the labor movement while at the convention. He discusses joining the Italian American anti-Fascist movement in New York and this decision leading to his becoming an organizer for different labor unions, including the United Textile Workers of America (UTW) and the United Shoe Workers' Union (USWU). He discusses his work as an organizer; his involvement as a representative of the UTW in the textile workers' strike in Passaic, New Jersey in 1926; his work with an unspecified relief organization aiding striking coal miners in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky in 1928 and 1929; and his work for the USWU between 1929 and 1932. Other topics include Magliacano's opinion of the Catholic Church; his travel to the Soviet Union in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a member of a trade union delegation; a visit to San Marco in 1961 and the changes there since his childhood; and his life at the time of the interview.

See also: Leisure; Politics; and Unionization.

An electronic transcript of this interview is also available by request.

Related Materials

Joseph Magliacano Papers and Photographs collection, WAG.223.

Textile Workers' Strike, Passaic, N.J., 1926.
Barbers |x Labor unions.
United Furniture Workers of AmericaUnited Textile Workers of America


1973 March 27
Box: 36 Reel : 130a - 130b (Master reel [31142054874766])
Box: 1 Folder : 56 Magliacano, Joseph: Summary
1973 March 27
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 24 (Access cassette) Malakind, Sylvia: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Sylvia Malakind was born in an unspecified European country (likely Russia) and immigrated to the United States as a young child. She married and had children. She was an organizer for the Cleaners and Dyers Union.

Scope and Content Note

The interviewer, date, and location of this interview are unknown. The interview covers Sylvia Malakind's early life in Europe and her working life. The interview is a somewhat hard to follow as Malkind jumps from one topic to another. She discusses her family's first apartment in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, including the fact that there was no heat, electricity, or running water. She discusses her first job in a garment factory; her efforts to educate the workers as to their rights; the foreman's attempts to keep her away from the workers by moving her to officework; and her decision to leave this job. She explains that she worked for a time as a social worker, including at the Immigrant Aid Society and then the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society (HSIAS). She recounts moving into the position of social worker at HSIAS after the death of the previous social worker, despite having little experience. She discusses working for a time as a field worker for the Jewish Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

Malakind discusses her work as an organizer for the Cleaners and Dyers Union and the women she tried to recruit into the union. She describes the working conditions in the dry cleaning stores in New York City and the women who worked in these stores. She discusses the difficulty she faced in attempting to organize these stores; the reluctance of the women to participate in union meetings; her attempts to make the meetings more interesting; and her the entertainment she arranged in order to interest them in the union. She discusses the way in which she was nominated for her position of organizer by people in her neighborhood and her five re-elections to that position.

Malakind discusses her childhood in a small village in an unspecified European country (likely Russia), including the fact that everyone in the town had to grow their own vegetables in order to feed themselves and their families; anti-Semitism in the town; and her grandmother, with whom she lived for two years. She discusses the treatment of women in the town; the fact that men cared more for their livestock than they did their wives; and a comparison of the roles of women in that country and in the United States.

Other topics include the history of Social Security and the American Labor Party.

Labor unions |x Officials and employees |z United States.
Labor unions -- Organizing -- New York (State) -- New York.
Cleaners and Dyers UnionHebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society of America


Undated
Box: 37 Reel : 131a - 131b (Master reel [31142054874774])
Box: 1 Folder : 57 Malakind, Sylvia: Summary
Undated
Box: Missing Manar, [Unknown]: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Mrs. Manar was born in Puerto Rico. Her father was a fisherman. She migrated to the United States (US) in 1945 and settled in Manhattan, New York, living on 110th Street and 103rd Street. She attended school for two years in the US. She worked as a registrar for the census in Puerto Rico and in a store and for a school lunch program in the US. She was married and had five children. At the time of the interview, she lived in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.

Scope and Contents

The interviewer, date, location, and first name of the interviewee are unknown. The audio recording for this interview is missing. This interview covers Mrs. Manar's life in Puerto Rico; her migration to the United States (US) in 1945; and her acclimation to life in the US. She describes dreaming about living in the US, noting the freedom of speech and greater economic opportunity as her main reasons for wanting to migrate. She explains that her husband had been a teacher in Puerto Rico but worked as a clerk at the Metropolitan Hospital in the East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York after their migration. She recounts her family's Americanization, noting that although they retained some of the culinary traditions of Puerto Rico, they changed the majority of their customs, in particular their language. She explains that the neighborhoods surrounding both 110th Street and 103rd Street were bad, recalling gang and drug activity, but notes that neither of these issues prevented her children from thriving. She describes city funded programs and Catholic charities that would take the children on trips and leisure activities at beaches, parks, and the movies. She recounts instances of discrimination against her and her children and the relationships among different ethnic groups in the neighborhoods in which she lived.

See also: Council Workshop for Senior Citizens I.

Puerto Ricans -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews
Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 101 Manar, [Unknown]: Summary
Undated
Box: 101 Mansberg, Regina: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Regina Mansberg was born in 1901 in the region of eastern Galicia in Austria-Hungary. Her family was Jewish and her father was a horse trader. She immigrated to the United States in 1921 and lived with an aunt on Avenue C in Manhattan, New York. She worked as a seamstress for the Elegant Company on Canal Street in Lower Manhattan. She married Morris Mansberg in 1922 and had three sons.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Mark Hirsh on April 24, 1973 at Regina Mansberg's home in the Bronx, New York. The interview covers Mansberg's early life in Galicia, Austria-Hungary; her separation from her family during World War I; her life in Europe after the war; her immigration to the United States (US); and her life in New York City up to the 1930s. Topics from her early life include her family's poverty; her difficult relationship with her stepmother; her affection for her father and her sorrow when he was unable to earn enough wages to support the family; and her education. Mansberg's memories of World War I include fleeing from Cossacks with her family; running away on her own to present-day Czechoslovakia, where she worked on a farm; and her reunion with her family after the war. She recounts meeting her future husband, Morris Mansberg, and moving with him to Budapest; learning about communism; and her decision to emigrate from Austria-Hungary in 1921 after Miklós Horthy came to power.

In discussing her life after her immigration, Mansberg recounts her disappointment in her aunt's apartment on Avenue C in Manhattan, New York; her uncomfortable sleeping arrangements; and her overall unhappiness with her life and work. She discusses her working life, including working with other Jewish women, mainly Hungarians and Poles; moving to different parts of the city and commuting to Manhattan for work; returning to work after the birth of each of her children; and striking for better working conditions at different union and non-union shops. Other topics include her husband's disappointment in having no employment options apart from manual labor in the US; the family's struggles with poverty; and their eldest son's treatments for poliomyelitis.

World War, 1914-1918 |z Czechoslovakia |v Personal narratives.


1973 April 24
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 25 (Access cassette)
Box: 37 Reel : 133a - 133b (Master reel [31142054874774])
Box: 1 Folder : 58 Mansberg, Regina: Transcript; Summary; and Subject Cards
1973 April 24
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 26 a-b, 27 (Access cassette) Marin, Fannie: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Fannie Marin was born in Poland in 1881. Her family was Jewish and her father was a carpenter. She married and had one son. She immigrated to the United States (US) in 1906 after her husband's death. In 1912 she married Mayer Marin and moved to the Bronx, New York. They immigrated to Argentina in 1914 and lived in Buenos Aires until her husband's death in 1923, after which she returned to the US with her son. In 1926 she began working as a fur finisher and remained in that trade for the next 25 years. She was a member of an unspecified fur workers' union (likely the International Fur Workers Union of the United States and Canada).

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Norman Newman at the Kingsbridge Heights Nursing Home, Bronx, NY on May 2, 7, and 9, 1973. The interview covers Fannie Marin's early life in Poland; her two marriages and the birth of her son; and her working life in the United States (US). She discusses her immigration to the US in 1906 and having to leave her son in Poland with her in-laws until she was able to send for him in 1910. She discusses her first jobs in the US, including sewing ribbons on pajamas in a factory and working as a practical nurse in a doctor's office. She discusses her second husband, who was a painter and a member of an unspecified painters' union (possibly the Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers of America), and his death in 1923 due to lead poisoning. She discusses her job as a fur finisher in her brother-in-law's shop and the different ethnic groups in the shop. She discusses her membership in an unspecified fur workers' union (likely the International Fur Workers Union of the United States and Canada) and political struggles within the union, particularly between supporters of Benjamin Gold and supporters of Morris Kaufman.

Fur workers |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.
International Fur Workers Union of the United States and Canada


1973 May 2, 7, and 9
Box: 37 Reel : 134a (Master reel [31142054874774])
Box: 38 Reel : 134b - 134d (Master reel [31142054874782])
Box: 1 Folder : 59 Marin, Fannie: Transcript
Undated
Box: 101 Massa, Giuseppe

Biographical Note

Giuseppe Massa was born near Naples, Italy and immigrated to the United States in 1930. He settled on Long Island, New York, married, and had two daughters. Massa worked as a longshoreman and was a member of the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1814.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by John Jenks and Frank Farragaso at the International Longshoremen's Association Union Hall on Court Street in Brooklyn, New York on an unknown date. This interview covers Giuseppe Massa's childhood; his work experience; his union involvement; and his leisure activities in New York, New York. Massa recalls a rough upbringing in Italy, including making less than 50 Lire in a good week; being punished physically by his mother if he didn't behave; gaining longshoreman experience working on a boat; and coming to the United States in order to have a better life. He discussed injuries he sustained while working as a longshoreman, including falling down a flight of stairs and injuring his back, and receiving $600 in compensation for the loss of part of his finger. He briefly mentions his involvement with the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1814, in particular reluctantly participating in strikes, and wishing the union would help him in his old age, particularly with his medical bills. Massa discusses social activities such as playing billiards; attending church; and believing that younger generations do not know how to live as a community.

International Longshoremen's Association. Local 1814 (New York, N.Y.)


Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 174 (Access cassette)
Box: 39 Reel : 136a - 136b (Master reel [31142054874790])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 167 (Access cassette) Mazza, Agnes: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Agnes Mazza was born in New York, New York and lived in the Chinatown neighborhood of Manhattan. She attended school through the eighth grade, graduating in 1927. She worked in a match factory. She married in 1935.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by David Lightner at a senior citizen center on Court Street in Brooklyn, NY on May 14, 1975. The interview covers Agnes Mazza's parents' immigration to the United States from Italy, her stepfather's work as a longshoreman, her work in a match factory, and her husband's work as a longshoreman. She describes her parents' lives before and after their immigration and her father's attempts at establishing his own business. She describes her stepfather's work as a longshoreman and how he spent his time when work was unavailable. She discusses her work packing matches, including sometimes packing too many into the boxes, causing them to ignite. She describes her husband's work as a longshoreman, including his work unloading the bodies of dead soldiers on an Army base during World War II and the ways in which he found work on different piers.

An electronic transcript of this interview is also available by request.


1975 May 14
Box: 39 Reel : 137a - 137b (Master reel [31142054874790])
Box: 1 Folder : 60 Mazza, Agnes: Summary and Subject Cards
1975 May 14
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 156 (Access cassette) Marino, Joseph

Biographical Note

Joseph Marino was born in a town (likely Rotonda) near Calabria in the Potenza province of Italy in 1891. He was one of eight or nine children. His father worked as a handyman in Italy and as a bricklayer in the United States (US), and his mother managed the household. He immigrated to the US when he was 14 years old and settled on Mott Street in the Little Italy neighborhood of Manhattan, New York with his father and brother, who had immigrated previously. His mother and the rest of his family immigrated two years later. He married and had one daughter. The family lived in Brooklyn, New York near 38th Street. Marino initially worked as a barber but later became a tailor and was a member of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America Local 162.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Joan Granucci on April 9, 1974. The location of the interview is unknown. This interview covers Joseph Marino's childhood in Italy; his immigration to the United States (US); and work in the garment industry in New York, New York. Marino begins by describing his childhood in Italy, noting that his father immigrated to the US when Marino was young in order to support his family. He recalls wanting to come to the US as soon as he was able and and settling on Mott Street in the Little Italy neighborhood of Manhattan with his father and brother. He notes his initial amazement at the size of New York City upon his arrival. He explains that he started working as a barber but did not like it, so he apprenticed himself at his brother's tailor shop. Marino describes working for no pay for three and a half years while he learned the trade; having a dispute with both his manager and his brother over his meager wages when he did receive a salary; leaving his brother's shop and opening his own tailor shop; and closing his business and working for other custom tailor shops. He recalls joining the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America Local 162, emphasizing the union's involvement in limiting work hours and improving wages. Other topics include his views on Catholicism; his daughter; his views on Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal; a comparison of his hometown in Italy in the past and at the time of the interview; and his views on and activities in the community center he frequented at the time of the interview.


1974 April 9
Box: 38 Reel : 135a - 135b (Master reel [31142054874782])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 187 (Access cassette) McAuley, Dora: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Dora McAuley was born Dora Williams in Norfolk, Virginia in 1903 and was one of 12 children. Her father was a moneylender. He was white and her mother was black. She migrated to New York, New York in 1919, where she lived in Harlem and the Bronx. She was a dancer at the Cotton Club in Manhattan for 13 years, worked as a dance instructor for the Police Athletic League for three years, and also worked as a shopkeeper.

McAuley's first husband worked as a porter for the Pullman Company. They divorced soon after the birth of their daughter in 1920. She married her second husband in 1940. He was a United Service Organizations (USO) director and executive secretary of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). He was born in Augusta, Maine and graduated from Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. They lived in Annapolis, Maryland for 14 years. McAuley also resided in England and France for three years.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Mary B. Alexander on March 21, 1973 at Dora McAuley's home in the Bronx, New York. The interview covers her family and her occupation as a dancer at the Cotton Club. McAuley discusses her family, including the fact that her parents were married despite her father being white and her mother black, and explains that this was common practice in port towns in the southern United States (US). She explains that people in the southern US accepted segregation as a fact of life. She describes meeting her first husband in college; running away from home to marry him in 1919; and living near Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. She discusses becoming a dancer while escorting her daughter's dance troupe across the US and becoming a dancer at the Cotton Club in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan when her daughter entered kindergarten. She recounts her time at the Cotton Club, including feeding people in bread lines during the Great Depression with other performers; the segregation between the performers, who were black, and the audience members, who were white; and the code of conduct amongst the performers. She discusses living with her daughter in England and France for three years while performing with a Cotton Club revue and hiring a private tutor for her daughter while in Europe.

McAuley discusses her second husband, including the fact that his was the only black family that lived in Augusta, Maine during his childhood; their move to Annapolis, Maryland in 1941; and their life there until 1955 while he worked for the United Service Organizations (USO). She discusses her daughter's education. She recounts living in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan in order to keep her daughter isolated from other African-American families. She recounts working as a dance instructor for the Police Athletic League before moving to Annapolis and her relationship with various police officers in Harlem in the 1930s.

Other topics include her health at the time of the interview; the changing ethnic and racial demographics of the residents in Harlem between the 1930s and the time of the interview; the changing racial demographics of the police officers in Harlem between the 1930s and the time of the interview; and her daughter's and grandchildren's religion.

African American women dancers.
Segregation |z New York (State) |z New York.
Racially mixed people |z New York (State) |z New York.
Cotton Club


1973 March 21
Box: 39 Reel : 138a (Master reel [31142054874790])
Box: 40 Reel : 138b (Master reel [31142054874808])
Box: 1 Folder : 61 McAuley, Dora: Index
1973 March 21
Box: 101 McGovern, Della

Biographical Note

Della McGovern was born in 1891 in Blacklion, County Cavan, Ireland to an Irish father and Irish-American mother. Her father was a shoemaker and a farmer. McGovern immigrated to the United States when she was seventeen years old and worked as a lady's maid in Manhattan, New York.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Leon Fink at the Mary Manning Walsh Nursing Home in Manhattan, New York on April 11, 1974. The main topics discussed include Della McGovern's early life in Ireland, her work experience as a lady's maid, and leisure activities in New York, New York. McGovern recalls her childhood in Blacklion, County Cavan, Ireland, including having six siblings; singing songs with the neighbors on Saturday and not being allowed to sing rebel songs such as "Derry Jail"; the boys in the neighborhood playing cards; traveling with her father to buy leather to make shoes; attending church every morning during the week and twice on Sundays; and her family being financially better off than others because her father had a trade in addition to farming. Regarding her life in New York City, she discusses taking a class on how to care for clothing; loving to attend parties and dances sponsored by the Knights of Columbus; and not being serious about marrying. She recollects her work as a lady's maid, mostly for Genevieve Brady, a papal duchess; her daily work routine; her travels with the world with her employer, including visits to England and Ireland; and her ability to save money because a majority of her living expenses were covered by her employer.


1974 April 11
: Access Cassettes Folder : 231 (Access cassette)
Box: 40 Reel : 139a (Master reel [31142054874808])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 190 (Access cassette) Meeks, Johnnie

Biographical Note

Johnnie Meeks was born in York County, South Carolina in 1900. While in South Carolina, Meeks worked as a subcontractor on buildings. He migrated to New York, New York before World War II and he worked as a porter at the Wagner Building Grand Concourse on Fordham Road in the Bronx. Meeks routinely traveled between North Carolina, South Carolina, and New York City. He was involved in the civil rights movement.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Edmund Lake on April 5, 1973 at the Council Workshop for Senior Citizens on 125th Street in Manhattan, New York. Topics covered include Johnnie Meeks' early life; the impact of World War II on his daily life; his involvement with different communities and civil rights activism in North Carolina, South Carolina, and New York City; and his leisure activities in New York City. Meeks discusses his family and his childhood in the Carolinas, including his two brothers; his grandparents, who were born enslaved; and the professions of many of his family members, including his mother's employment as a practical nurse and his father's employment in public works. He recalls that the family was considered middle class; that his family attended church in Charlotte, North Carolina; an outbreak of smallpox in 1905, and other epidemics in North Carolina; and his participation in social activities such as church picnics. He recollects his motivations for migrating to New York City, including the scarcity of work during the Great Depression; one of his aunts telling him that New York City was the best place to go for a better living; and his inability to find work as a subcontractor because he was not a member of a union. Meeks discusses the ways in which World War II (WWII) impacted his life, including using ration books; believing that the United States (US) government stole his car tires; being asked to donate aluminum pots and pans to the war effort; and not having a fear of Adolph Hitler attempting to attack the US. He discusses his sons' wartime experiences, including their joining the military; being involved in D-Day; and being deployed to Japan.

Meeks recollects participating in leisure activities such as playing baseball at Polo Grounds in Manhattan; attending the cinema; walking through Central Park in Manhattan; and visiting the Central Park Zoo. He also discusses racial inequality, including his opinion that before WWII no one was bothered by segregation; his interest in the civil rights movement; and his participation in protests in North and South Carolina for equal rights. He discusses Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.; their influence on the black community and civil rights; and their politics.

See also: Council Workshop for Senior Citizens I; and Neighborhood.

Civil rights movements -- United States -- History -- 20th century.


1973 April 5
Box: 40 Reel : 140a - 140b (Master reel [31142054874808])
Box: 40 Reel : 141a (Master reel [31142054874808]) Meyers, Danny

Biographical Note

Danny Meyers was born in the Bronx, New York to a Austro-Hungarian Jewish family. He worked as a taxi driver and was a member of the New York City Taxi Drivers Union Local 3036.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Martin Lesser on April 22, 1973 at an unknown location. Topics in this interview include Danny Meyers' family, his experience driving a taxi, and the process of unionizing taxi drivers. Meyers discusses his family, including the fact that his father died when Meyers was seven; the fact that his family was very religious; and the fact that his family would have prefered that he had chosen a different profession. He discusses the fact that his children continued to practice their Jewish faith as adults and the fact that he felt proud that all of his children had graduated from college. He recollects his career driving a taxi, including starting during the Great Depression so that he would not have to ask for government assistance; being robbed and assaulted many times during his career; and playing cards with the other taxi drivers after a shift. Meyers recounts driving Fiorello La Guardia to a meeting at 3:00 in the morning and how this interaction led to La Guardia being the only politician that Meyers ever supported. Meyers discusses in detail multiple attempts at unionization of taxi drivers; the support given by John L. Lewis, Mike Quill, and Jimmy Hoffa; the effects of these attempts; and his speculation as to why they were unsuccessful until 1966. He elaborates on the benefits of unionization, including no longer needing to bribe the dispatcher in order to get a vehicle for the day; gaining larger commissions on each fare; creating solidarity within the taxi driving community; and believing that unionization was greatly beneficial to taxi drivers.

Taxicab drivers |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.
New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036


1973 April 22
Box: 41 Reel : 141b (Master reel [31142054874816])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 125a-b, 126a-b, 127a-b, 128a-b, 129 (Access cassette) Miller, Alex

Biographical Note

Alex Miller was born in Dobromil in Austrian Galicia to a Jewish family. He immigrated to the United States (US) in February 1912 where he lived with his three sisters and mother. In the US, Miller married and had children. He worked in the garment industry as a finisher. In 1912, he joined the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) Local 9, and was elected to multiple positions within the ILGWU. He was also a member of the Dobromiler Society of New York, the Workmen's Circle, and the Socialist Party of America.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Howard Harris on March 7, March 14, and March 21, 1975, at Alex Miller's home in the Bronx, New York. The main topics of this interview include Miller's early life in Dobromil in Austrian Galicia; his work in the garment industry in the United States; and his involvement in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) Local 9, the Workmen's Circle, and the Socialist Party of America. Miller discusses his early life in Dobromil, including his mother working as a seamstress in order to support the family; her requiring him to attend school even though the family was poor; and not completing apprenticeship as a tailor. He recalls his early work in the garment industry, including getting his first job through his brother-in-law; beginning as a non-union employee because he did not have enough experience or training; refusing to work on Saturdays; having to borrow money from his brother-in-law to buy his first union dues book; and looking for new work consistently, due to the seasonal nature of the garment industry.

Miller discusses his involvement in the ILGWU, including his participation in strikes in 1913, 1916, 1919, and 1926; his multiple arrests for picketing during the 1916 strike; and his failed attempt to keep his sons away from union work. He discusses his election to multiple positions within the union, including assistant manager of the ILGWU Local 9; the manager of the Organizational Department; and a member of the Out-of-Town Department. He recalls the types of work he did within each position, including attempting to organize non-union shops; working with shop owners to keep union members employed; acting as a liaison between shop owners and union members; and passing all of his decisions in front of a union board so that no one could accuse him of corruption. He discusses his involvement with the Socialist Party of America, including joining in 1914 in order to learn more about the movement; leaving the party when the Communist movement gained momentum, though still supporting Socialist ideals; and re-joining the party around 1940. He briefly recounts his involvement with the Workmen's Circle in Manhattan, including being pushed to run for office; being minimally active due to time constraints with his work at the ILGWU; and appreciating that he was provided with excellent medical care throughout his membership.

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 9 (New York, N.Y.)Socialist Party (U.S.)Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring


1975 March 7, March 14, and March 21
Box: 41 Box : 142a - 142d (Master reel [31142054874816])
Box: 42 Reel : 142e - 142i (Master reel [31142054874824])
Box: 43 Reel : 142j (Master reel [31142054874832])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 189 (Access cassette) Mitchell, Mabele: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Mabele Mitchell was one of four children; her father was a painter. She migrated to New York, New York in 1926 from the southern United States and lived in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan. She worked as a finisher in the garment industry and was a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Local 22. She married and had one daughter.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on March 26, 1973 by Steven Holmes at Mabele Mitchell's apartment in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. The interview covers Mitchell's migration to New York, her experiences with racial discrimination, her working life, her social activities, and her family. Mitchell discusses her decision to move to New York after visiting her sister a few times and her difficulty becoming familiar with the city. She describes her work experiences and union activity in the garment industry in New York, including her work as a finisher; the working conditions and salaries in the garment factories; her anxiety over not being able to earn enough wages when paid for piecework; and her participation in a dressmakers' strike in 1933. She describes her and her family's experiences with racial discrimination in New York, including segregation in movie theaters and her father's underemployment due to racist hiring practices. She discusses her social activities, including attending church and enjoying going to movies and baseball games, particularly the New York Giants.

An electronic transcript of this interview is also available by request.

Race discrimination |z New York (State) |z New York.
Segregation |z New York (State) |z New York.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 22 (New York, N.Y.)


1973 March 26
Box: 43 Reel : 143a (Master reel [31142054874832])
Box: 1 Folder : 62 Mitchell, Mabele: Index
1973 March 26
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 130-131 (Access cassette) Nachamkin, Rubin

Biographical Note

Rubin Nachamkin was born in Minsk, Russia in 1886. He worked as a cutter in the shoe industry. He immigrated to the United States in 1905 in order to avoid joining the Russian Army. He married in 1910. Nachamkin worked as an operator in the garment industry making cloaks and was a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Locals 1 and 117.

Scope and Content Note

The interview with Rubin Nachamkin was conducted at the Workmen's Circle Home for the Aged in the Bronx, New York by John Jentz on March 4 and March 24, 1975. Main topics include Nachamkin's early life in Minsk, Russia; his immigration to the United States (US); his life in New York, New York; and his work in the garment industry. He discusses his life in Minsk, including his father working as a tailor; becoming a shoemaker; and living in religiously segregated neighborhoods, but conducting business with people of different religions. He recalls his immigration to the US, including running away from his town in order to avoid being drafted into the Russian Army; hiding in Moscow and Saint Petersburg before he left Russia; immigrating with his fiancee; and sailing to the US from Antwerp, Belgium. Nachamkin specifically describes the ship on which he traveled, including the bunks being three people high; the food tasting bad; and the relatively low cost of travel.

Nachamkin discusses his life in New York City, including marrying in 1910; living on Henry Street in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan; moving to the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan; having a daughter who was employed as a school principal; and having two sons who worked in business. He discusses his work in the garment industry, including finding work through window advertisements; being familiar with the machinery in the US because he had used the same in Russia; and enjoying piecework because he was a fast worker and would make more money. He discusses joining the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) Local 1 after the 1910 cloakmakers' strike and working for shops organized by the ILGWU Local 117 when work with ILGWU Local 1 was slow.

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 1 (New York, N.Y.)International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 117 (New York, N.Y.)


1975 March 4 and March 24
Box: 43 Reel : 145a - 145c (Master reel [31142054874832])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 236 (Access cassette) Neighborhood

Scope and Content Note

This recording contains excerpts of several interviews focusing on discussions of neighborhoods in New York, New York. Many of the narrators lived in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan or in Brooklyn and describe the ethnic and racial demographics of their communities; the conditions in which they lived; the types of businesses that existed; their leisure activities; and ethnic relations.

See also: Cowen, Maud; Farkas, Bella; Fischetti, Maria; Koch, Vera; Lewis, Ivan; Meeks, Johnnie; and Richards, Evadni.


Undated
Box: 44 Reel : 146a (Master reel [31142054874840])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 85 (Access cassette) Newman, Molly and Jacob Newman: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Molly (May) Rosen Newman was born in 1896 in Ukraine, Russia. She was one of five children raised by their widowed mother. Newman immigrated to the United States (US) in 1912 and lived at 127 Debevoise Street in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. In Ukraine, she had private tutoring in Russian and Hebrew. She worked as a seamstress and sample-maker in Manhattan. She joined the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) Local 22 and Local 25 and was a member of the executive board of both locals. She was an active member of the Workmen's Circle, the Golden Ring Club, and the Socialist Party of America.

Jacob Newman was born on April 11, 1896 in Babruysk, Russia. He was one of six children. His father was from Babruysk and his mother was from Ukraine. He immigrated to the United States with his father in 1911 and settled in Brooklyn. His father worked as a shirt presser in New York. Newman attended the Erwin Preparatory School and studied electrical engineering via the International Correspondence School. He worked making shirts and overalls in the garment industry in both New York City and Greenville, South Carolina. He was a member of and organized for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. He served as the national financial secretary, recording secretary, and chairman of the joint board of all shirtmaker locals. He joined the Workmen's Circle when he was 18 years old and served as the financial secretary, vice-chairman, and chairman of its Golden Ring Club. Newman was an active member of the Socialist Party of America.

The Newmans married in 1923 and had one daughter. Their daughter attended a Workmen's Circle school in Brooklyn and Camp Kinder Ring in the summers.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Zelda Huhnenberg on April 21, 1974. The location is unknown. The volume fluctuates as the microphone moves between speakers during the interview. This interview covers Molly and Jacob Newman's childhoods; their immigrations to the United States; and their work in the garment industry in New York, New York.

Molly Newman begins the interview by describing the many variations of her first name across Russian, Hebrew, and English, including Manya, Malkah, Molly, and May. She explains that she loves the United States (US) to the point where she would erase her Russian heritage if she could, recalling the often violent discrimination against Jews in Russia, and how this prompted her sister's immigration to the US. She describes her immigration to the United States in 1912 and her work with her sister to earn enough money to send for their mother in 1914. She recalls that her aunt helped her get her first job as a seamstress on Manhattan Avenue in New York City, noting that she was instructed to hide in the bathroom whenever a customer entered the shop because she looked too young to be working. She recalls her membership in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) Local 25; the organization of local garment shops; and strikes for better wages, which were often defeated by strikebreakers brought in by the employers. She describes having an especially strong bond with Italian immigrants due to their shared immigrant experience and their work together membership in the ILGWU. She recalls Communists attempting to infiltrate and disrupt the ILGWU by discussing irrelevant topics at meetings and fainting during organizational events.

Jacob Newman begins by describing his grandfather's wealth, which he acquired through his ready-made clothing business. He recounts Communists taking his father's inheritance and this prompting his family's immigration to the US in search of better economic and educational opportunities. He recalls his family wanting him to become a shochet, a person trained to slaughter animals according to Jewish law, but studying electrical engineering through the International Correspondence School instead. He explains that General Electric would not hire him due to his Jewish heritage and so he sought work in the garment industry. He recounts moving to Greenville, South Carolina at the behest of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) in order to augment the development of the garment industry and the ACWA's presence in the southern US; sending his paychecks back to his family in New York; and visiting his family every two or three months. He endeavors to explain his love of the southern US by describing the environment and the people, emphasizing his belief that African-Americans in the south were very educated. Molly Newman frequently interjects with her disdain for the southern United States.

Other topics include Communist activity in the US, particularly in labor unions; conditions during the Great Depression in New York City; race discrimination in the southern US; the benefits of membership in the Workmen's Circle; a comparison of the immigrant population in New York City in the past and at the time of the interview; the Newmans' 50th wedding anniversary party and the anniversary money they donated to the Women's American Organization for Rehabilitation through Training (ORT); and their daughter's education.

Women socialists |z New York (State) |z New York.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 22 (New York, N.Y.)International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 23-25 (New York, N.Y.)Workmen's Circle/Arbeter RingSocialist Party (U.S.)


1974 April 21
Box: 44 Reel : 147a - 147b (Master reel [31142054874840])
Box: 1 Folder : 63 Newman, Molly and Jacob Newman: Summary and Interview Fact Sheets
1974 April 21
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 191, 191a (Access cassette) O'Banyon, Bessie

Biographical Note

Rose Elizabeth (Bessie) O'Banyan was born in Toronto, Canada in 1903 and immigrated to the United States (US) with her family when she was a young child. She was the eldest of 13 children, with 11 brothers and one sister. Her father worked on the family farm in Littleton, Massachusetts and her mother managed the household. She attended school through her first year of high school. When her mother died in 1916, O'Banyan left school in order to support her family, doing housework for families in Littleton. She moved to Boston when she was 18 years old, and her aunt sponsored her attendance the Boston Conservatory for three years. O'Banyan moved to New York, New York in 1931 and lived with her brother. She worked as a domestic worker, a laborer in an arms factory during World War II, and as a musician, playing at parties and various churches. Throughout her life, she was affiliated with various Christian denominations including Unitarian, Baptist, and Methodist.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Shirley Stow on April 30, 1974 at an unspecified location. This interview covers Rose Elizabeth (Bessie) O'Banyan's childhood in Littleton, Massachusetts; her moves to Boston, Massachusetts and New York, New York; and her work as a domestic worker, a laborer in an arms factory, and a musician. O'Banyan begins the interview by recalling her childhood in Littleton, Massachusetts, noting that her family emigrated from Canada in order to be closer to their relatives. She emphasizes the role her mother had in her life, noting that her self-discipline, work ethic, honesty, and dedication to religion all came from her mother's rules and love for her children. She discusses her family's involvement in a local Unitarian church; the various fruit-picking jobs she and her siblings performed in the summer and fall; a trip to visit her family in Sheldon, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia; her family's experience during World War I; and her experience with racial discrimination in both the northern and southern United States.

O'Banyan briefly describes her time in Boston, including moving there when she 18 years old; converting to the Baptist denomination of Christianity; and leaving Boston after her fiancé married someone else. She explains that a friend wrote to her brother in New York and begged him to help his sister during the turbulent aftermath. She recalls moving to New York on April 30, 1931, where she worked as a domestic worker and as a laborer in an arms factory during World War II. She recounts lining up at 167th Street and Jerome Avenue in the Bronx for daywork and the fact that women often undercut one another by offering to work for less. She recalls spending most of the years after her heart attack in 1949 playing the organ and piano for various churches, especially after a religious experience she had in the 1960s drew her back to her dedication to Christianity. Other topics include some history and genealogy of her family; her views on God and religion; the differences between life in the countryside and life in the city; and her work as a musician at senior citizen centers at the time of the interview.

Canadians |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.


1974 April 30
Box: 44 Reel : 153a (Master reel [31142054874840])
Box: 45 Reel : 153b - 153c (Master reel [31142054874857])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 147-148 (Access cassette) Ognibene, Filomena: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Filomena Ognibene was born in New York, New York in 1906. Her parents were born in Sicily, Italy and immigrated to the United States. They lived on Mott Street and Bleecker Street in Manhattan and later moved to the Bronx. Ognibene worked as a machine operator in the garment industry and was a member of an unspecified union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union).

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Karen Kearns at the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Health Center in Manhattan, New York on April 12, 1973. The interview covers Filomena Ognibene's childhood in New York, New York; her working life; and her family. Ognibene discusses her childhood, including her siblings; her education; and her parish church, the Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral on Mott Street and Prince Street in Manhattan. She discusses leaving school at the age of 13 in order to work and working as a machine operator. She describes her first jobs in the garment industry, including her salaries and the people with whom she worked. She discusses her siblings and their education, families, and occupations. She recounts living with her parents and one of her sisters and caring for her parents until their deaths. She describes herself as shy and explains that she did not like to participate in social activities apart from going to the movies at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan. She discusses working with women from different ethnic and racial groups and getting along with all of them.

An electronic transcript of this interview is also available by request.


1973 April 12
Box: 101
Box: 45 Reel : 154a - 154c (Master reel [31142054874857])
Box: 46 Reel : 154d (Master reel [31142054874865])
Box: 1 Folder : 64 Ognibene, Filomena: Summary; Index; and Subject Cards
1973 April 12
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 140 (Access cassette) Opochinsky, Isidore: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Isidore Opochinsky was born in an unspecified European country (likely Hungary). He and his 11 siblings were taught by a rabbi in their home. Opochinsky attended high school in Europe. He immigrated to the United States (US) in 1921 and lived with his brother in New York, New York. He worked as a fur machine operator in both Hungary and the US. He was a member of an unspecified union in the US (likely the International Fur and Leather Workers Union) and was an executive board member of the national union and chairman of his local. In Europe, he was an active member of the General Jewish Labour Bund of Lithuania, Poland, and Russia; an unspecified Socialist party; and in the US, he participated in the Jewish Socialist movement.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Gary Tilzer on April 19, 1975 at the Workmen's Circle Home for the Aged in the Bronx, New York. This interview covers Isidore Opochinsky's life in Hungary; his immigration to the United States (US) in 1921; his work as a fur machine operator in New York, New York; and his union activity. Opochinsky tends to mumble and is sometimes hard to understand. He provides few details about his childhood and early life in Europe, focusing on his involvement in the General Jewish Labour Bund of Lithuania, Poland, and Russia. He recalls that he learned of the importance of unionization and the tenets of Socialism through members of the Bund. He notes that members of the Bund who immigrated to the US had an easier time acclimating because they had the resources and social ties of an organized group. He explains that he worked without pay for six months while he trained in the fur industry in Europe. He recounts immigrating to the US in 1921, because he could not make a living in Europe after World War I, and settling with his brother in New York, New York. He explains that he returned to Europe after a conflict with an unspecified fur workers' union (likely the International Fur and Leather Workers Union). He discusses his return to the United States when he could not find work in Europe and his vow to rid the union of those in power who monopolized its funds and activities. He recalls neglecting his education and his family in order to reorganize the leadership of the union, noting that after his removal of the corrupt leaders, the resulting chaos provided an opportunity for the Communists gain power. He describes a strike that occurred in 1926, including the fact that it lasted 26 weeks; that the police killed many of the strikers; and that the strikers won, earning medical benefits and better hours and wages. Other topics include details of the work of the fur industry; a comparison of labor unions and living and working conditions in Europe and the US; and his attendance and involvement in an unspecified conference concerned with Jewish labor issues in Geneva, Switzerland.

Jewish socialists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews.
Labor unions |x Officials and employees |z United States.
Allgemeyner Idisher arbayṭerbund in Liṭa, Poylen un RuslandWorkmen's Circle (U.S.)International Fur and Leather Workers Union of the United States and Canada


1975 April 19
Box: 46 Reel : 155a - 155b (Master reel [31142054874865])
Box: 1 Folder : 65 Opochinsky, Isidore: Summary
1975 April 19
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 170 (Access cassette) Pane, Frank

Historical/Biographical Note

Frank Pane was born on March 21, 1891 in Sorrento, Italy. He was one of ten children and attended an unnamed school in Sorrento and the Saint Charles School in New York, New York. His father was a longshoreman. Pane started working as a bookbinder after his father was injured at work. He worked in the printing department but also functioned as an intermediary between the predominantly Italian lithograph operators and management. He shifted to working as a ship caulker during World War II. He was a member of the International Longshoremen's Association.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on April 30, 1975 by John Jentz and Jay Facciolo at an unspecified location. In addition to Frank Pane, there is an unknown man who intermittently comments on the interviewers' questions. This interview covers Pane's childhood in Italy, his immigration to the United States, and his life and work as a bookbinder and longshoreman in New York, New York. Pane discusses his family history, noting the contrast between his father, who was a relatively poor longshoreman, and his mother, who had inherited two large homes from her parents. He recounts how his father's schooner was destroyed by a steamboat while at sea and how the steamboat crew, who were headed to the United States, brought him with them, and he settled in New York in order to acquire more job opportunities. Pane and the rest of his family immigrated to the United States later in 1898 via the ship Victoria. He describes the poor living conditions that many immigrants, including his family, endured. He notes that during the the depressions before and after World War I, Father Vogel at the Saint Charles Chapel on Van Brunt and President Streets in Brooklyn, New York would distribute food and coal tickets to poor families. He describes evading the draft during World War II in order to support his family and shifting his occupation from bookbinder to work as a caulker in the shipyards. He notes that he liked the work due to the outdoor environment, a stark contrast to the dirty factories that he had worked in as a bookbinder, but disliked the inconsistent employment. Pane emphasizes the politics of New York City, specifically the relationship between Democratic and Republican policies during the Great Depression. He ascribes the depressions of the early 20th century to the Republican administrations.

Bookbinders |z United States |v Interviews.


1975 April 30
Box: 46 Reel : 156a - 156b (Master reel [31142054874865])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 242 (Access cassette) Passage

Scope and Content Note

This recording contains excerpts of interviews containing narrators' experiences of the immigration process. The volume and sound quality of the recording fluctuate between excerpts. The excerpts contain discussions of immigrants' journeys to the United States; their memories of Ellis Island; requirements for immigration; and the sequence of immigration in families.

See also: Canossa, Bruno; Farkas, Bella; Fox, Abe; Robinson, Irene; Savio, Joseph; Sutton, Kathleen; and Ward, Katherine.

Ellis Island Immigration Station (N.Y. and N.J.)


Undated
Box: 47 Reel : 157a (Master reel [31142054874873])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 28-29 (Access cassette) Pasternak, Morris and Florence: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Morris Pasternak was born in 1897 in a shtetl in Ukraine, Russia and was one of eight children. He immigrated to the United States in 1906 and lived in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. He attended the Hebrew Technical Institute and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in Manhattan. He worked as a machinist in garages in Manhattan and as a chemist at the School of Mines of Columbia University. He joined the Socialist Party of America in 1918. He married Florence Pasternak in 1928.

Florence Pasternak was born in Russia. She immigrated to the United States in 1913. Her father worked as a pants presser and was an active member of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. She married Morris Pasternak in 1928.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on March 16, 1973 at the home of Morris and Florence Pasternak in Queens, New York by two unidentified interviewers. The majority of the interview features Morris Pasternak's interest in the history of the labor movement in the United States (US) and the Socialist Party of America, with interjections from his wife, Florence. He also discusses his early life in Ukraine, Russia; his education; and his working life in the US.

Pasternak recounts his early life in a shtetl in Ukraine, including one of his older brothers mounting a defense in advance of a pogrom. He describes his development as a Socialist, including observing working conditions in the factories in which his brothers worked in Manhattan, New York; reading anarchist literature they brought home; and attending speeches by Emma Goldman with one of his brothers. Other topics include forced prostitution of Jewish immigrant women in New York City and Jewish organized crime.

Socialists |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.


1973 March 16
Box: 47 Reel : 158a - 158c (Master reel [31142054874873])
Box: 1 Folder : 66 Pasternak, Morris and Florence: Transcript
1973 March 16
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 237 (Access cassette) Politics

Scope and Content Note

This recording contains excerpts of several interviews, all of which focus on discussions of politics in New York, New York. These excerpts cover the conflict between local landlords and city and state legislation regarding New York building codes; an unspecified church's view of and relationship with politics; the development and purpose of the American Labor Party; differences between the Democratic and Republican parties; and the relationship among different radical political groups in New York City. The narrators reflect on the policies and effectiveness of political figures -- including Fiorello La Guardia, Vito Marcantonio, James J. Walker, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Marcus Garvey -- and the differences between politicians at the time of the interviews and in the past.

See also: Geller, Bessie; Goldman, Sam and Dora Shapiro; Magliacano, Joseph; Sutton, Kathleen; Torres, Tony; and Unger, Margareta.


Undated
Box: 47 Reel : 159a (Master reel [31142054874873])
Box: Missing Prescant, Becky: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Becky Prescant was born in a small town in Poland around 1894. She was one of six children. Her father was a tailor, and her mother was a seamstress. She attended a Jewish school in Poland, where she learned to read Hebrew. She immigrated to the United States (US) in 1912 when she was 17 years old and initially settled with her uncle's family on 7th Street and Avenue B in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. She later moved to 103rd Street and Madison Avenue in the East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan with her brother and sister-in-law. She married and had four children. She worked in the garment industry in ladies' waists, dresses, and piecework and was an active member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU).

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Jon Saul at the Kingsbridge Heights Nursing Home in the Bronx, New York on March 26, 1973. The audio recording for this interview is missing. This interview covers Becky Prescant's childhood in Poland; her immigration to the United States (US) in 1912; and her work and union activity in the garment industry in New York, New York. Prescant describes her hometown in Poland, noting that although there was no open hostility between the Jewish people and other religious populations, the local school did not accept Jewish students. She recalls learning Hebrew at a Jewish school; learning how to sew at a local tailor shop; and working on the family farm. She explains that she chose to immigrate to the US because there were no Jewish men for her to marry and no doctors in her town. She mentions that some of her other siblings emigrated in order to avoid being drafted into the Russian Army or being persecuted for their belief in Socialism.

Prescant describes immigrating to the US and settling in New York, New York in 1912, including how she pretended to be the daughter of another woman in order to leave Poland. She describes her initial surprise at the differences between Poland and the US, particularly in terms of architecture and food. She discusses her husband, including how they met and his death 12 years after their marriage. She describes her first job in a garment shop on the west side of Manhattan; the differences between garment shops in Poland and the US; and the brutal conditions in the shop in which she worked. She recounts her involvement in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU); a four month strike in which she participated for better working conditions; and the tension between the strikers and the police. Other topics include the importance of religion to her family; the education and occupations of her children; and a comparison of both the ILGWU and her neighborhood in the past and at the time of the interview.

See also: Ethnicity; Immigration, Migration, and First Impressions of New York, New York and the United States; Interview Compilation for Radio Broadcast; and Life Before Immigration or Migration.

Jews, Polish -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews
1973 March 26
Box: 1 Folder : 102 Prescant, Becky: Index
1973 March 26
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 251 (Access cassette) Preuhs, Albert

Biographical Note

Albert Preuhs was born in Hamburg, Germany on September 3, 1886. His father worked as a baker, eventually owning his own bakery. His mother worked in a kitchen for the city of Hamburg during an unspecified war but otherwise did not work outside the home. He attended school in Germany for eight years before moving into the workforce as a baker when he was 18 years old, joining a bakers' union in Hamburg. Preuhs served in the German merchant marine and the German Navy before he immigrated to the United States (US) in January 1911. He lived in the Beggars' Boarding House on 5th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York before getting his own apartment. He worked as a baker and joined an unspecified bakers' union in New York (likely the Journeymen Bakers Union of New York).

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Scott Weir at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center in Manhattan, New York on April 23, 1974. This interview covers Albert Preuhs' childhood and early adult life in Germany; his immigration to the United States (US); and a summary of his life in New York, New York. Preuhs begins by describing his father's work in a bakery in Hamburg, Germany, noting his membership in a local union and his progression from employee to manager of his own business. He describes working as an apprentice for three years before traveling to various German cities during his time as a journeyman. Preuhs explains that he joined the German merchant marine in order to travel and was subsequently drafted into the German Navy in 1906, serving on a warship stationed in Hamburg. Upon his discharge from the Navy, he acquired a position on a merchant ship and illegally jumped ship in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1911. He describes settling in the Beggars' Boarding House on 5th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York, noting the ease with which he found work due to the myriad of small German bakeries in the city. He explains that he worked in many of these bakeries in different parts of the city and moved often in order to live near or in his current workplace. Other topics from his life in the US include the seasonal nature of the baking industry; his time working in Chicago, Illinois; and the development of technology in the baking industry and its role in the obsolescence of many physical laborers.


1974 April 23
Box: 48 Reel : 161a - 161b (Master reel [31142054874881])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 149 (Access cassette) Quartaroni, Tina

Biographical Note

Tina Quartaroni was born in Italy and was one of seven children. Her father was a merchant and her mother died when Quartaroni was young. She was the first of her family to immigrate to the United States when she was 21 years old and settled on Mace Avenue in the Bronx, New York. She had a variety of jobs, including dressmaking, packaging Christmas tree lights, and washing and folding laundry.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Norman Newman on April 11, 1973 at an unknown location. Tina Quartaroni is hard to understand due to her heavy accent and distance from the microphone. This interview covers Quartaroni's life in the United States (US) and the many jobs she held in the Bronx, New York. She describes her first few occupations briefly, noting that she transitioned from dressmaking to packaging Christmas tree lights before she found stable work in a laundry. She recounts joining an unspecified laundry workers' union but notes that they didn't strike, and conditions improved after the business was sold. She also describes her husband, including the fact that he rarely worked; his dependence on her income and pension; and their separation when she tired of his idleness and gambling.

Quartaroni emphasizes the differences between American and Italian Catholic churches, noting that Italian churches tended to be elaborately decorated; that the Italian church fostered a tightly-knit community; and that few people regularly attended Mass in the US.

An electronic transcript of this interview is available by request.

Laundry workers |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.


1973 April 11
Box: 48 Reel : 162a - 162b (Master reel [31142054874881])
Box: No Master Rabinowitz, Hersh: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Hersh Rabinowitz was born in Ukraine, Russia. He attended a polytechnic institute there for one year before World War I and the Russian Revolution. In 1920 he immigrated to Palestine, where he worked as a metal worker and served as the secretary of an unspecified metal workers' union. He was elected executive secretary of the city council of Tel Aviv and Jaffa in 1921. He and his wife immigrated to the United States in 1923 and settled in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in physics and Master of Engineering degree from the City College of New York. He was a member of the Workmen's Circle, Laundry Workers' International Union Local 280, and a founding member of the Federation of Architects, Engineers, Chemists, and Technicians.

Scope and Content Note

The interviewer, date, and location are unknown. The interview covers Hersh Rabinowitz's life in Palestine and the United States (US), including his work, political activity, and union activity. The beginning of the interview can be found in the recording titled Unidentified Russian man, Rose Gelberg, and Hersh Rabinowitz.

Rabinowitz recounts being elected executive secretary of city council in Tel Aviv and Jaffa, Palestine in 1921; deciding to leave Palestine; and immigrating to the US in order to continue his education in 1923. He discusses studying English in order to attend night school at the City College of New York and working different jobs while attending college, including laundry worker and engineer. He discusses his union activity, explaining that he was always very active in trade unions, from his time in Palestine in a metal workers' union, as a member of the Laundry Workers' International Union Local 280, and as a founding member of the Federation of Architects, Engineers, Chemists, and Technicians (FAECT) in 1933. He describes the collapse of FAECT in 1951, attributing it to a strike of engineers at the Electric Bond and Share Company (EBASCO) in 1947 and an investigation of FAECT by the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Rabinowitz discusses the Socialist movement in the US, describing Socialist leaders Morris Hillquit, Meyer London, Norman Thomas, and Eugene V. Debs as giants and explaining that there was no one to succeed them. He discusses, in great detail, reasons for the failure of the Socialist movement, including leaders of powerful labor unions, such as the United Mine Workers and United Auto Workers, suggesting their members invest in the stock market and not participate in political movements as long as their financial interests were met by their employers. He provides reasons that children of immigrants would not make the same sacrifices as their parents and participate in progressive movements.

See also: Unidentified Russian man, Rose Gelberg, and Hersh Rabinowitz.

Palestine |x Emigration and immigration |y 20th century.
Engineers |x Labor Unions |z New York (State) |z New York.
Federation of Architects, Engineers, Chemists, and Technicians


Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 67 Rabinowitz, Hersh: Index
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 179, 179a (Access cassette) Raia, Anthony: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Anthony Raia was born in Lercara Friddi, in the Palermo region of Sicily, Italy in 1904. He immigrated to the United States (US) in 1920, where he worked in multiple industries. He married and had three children. Raia was a member of the Boot and Shoe Workers Union and an unspecified millinery union.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Ginny Yans on May 7, 1974 at Anthony Raia's home in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout the interview, Raia speaks in both Italian and English. Topics of discussion include Raia's family, his emigration from Sicily, Italy, his relationship with his wife and children, his work in the United States (US), and his union involvement. Raia discusses his immigration to the US, including his grandparents immigrating prior to his immigration; sending for his siblings to join him after the death of their father in 1920; and leaving Sicily for economic and social reasons. He recalls meeting his wife after one of her singing performances; having three children with her; feeling proud of his children's accomplishments; believing that men and women need to be treated as equals; and training his wife as a machine operator in a dress factory. He recalls different jobs he held, including work at a piano factory; on submarines in the Brooklyn Navy Yard; for the American Can Company; in shoe manufacturing; and as a part-time actor. He discusses his union involvement, including being a member of the Boot and Shoe Workers Union and an unspecified millinery union; serving on the executive board of the Boot and Shoe Workers Union; being involved in multiple strikes; and being called a Communist because of his involvement with unions.

Millinery workers |z New York (State) |z New York.
Hat trade |x Employees |x Labor unions |z New York (State) |z New York.


1974 May 7
Box: 48 Reel : 164a (Master reel [31142054874881])
Box: 49 Reel : 164b - 164c (Master reel [31142054874899])
Box: 1 Folder : 68 Raia, Anthony: Interview Fact Sheet
1974 May 7
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 213, 213a-b (Access cassette) Reid, Edward

Biographical Note

Edward Reid was born near Montego Bay, Jamaica on April 22, 1892. He had one older brother. His father worked as a shipwright, traveling aboard ships and performing repairs as necessary, and his mother worked in a laundry. He attended Mt. Zion School in Jamaica until he was 14 years old, when he trained in carpentry. He immigrated to the United States (US) in 1919 and lived with his cousin in Charleston, South Carolina for two years before migrating to New York, New York. He worked as a carpenter for a number of employers, including the Standard Oil Company and the Consolidated Gas Company in Charleston. He joined Local 52 of an unspecified union of black carpenters; the Odd Fellows; and the Freemasons while in the US.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Jay Facciolo on December 12 and December 18, 1975 at Edward Reid's home in Manhattan, New York. This interview covers Reid's childhood in Jamaica; his immigration to the United States (US); and work as a carpenter in Charleston, South Carolina and New York, New York. Reid begins by describing his childhood in Jamaica, noting that his grandfather owned a blacksmithery and a farm that was relatively self-sufficient, growing produce and raising livestock for the family. Reid describes his time at Mt. Zion School, noting his position as a teacher's aide once he reached the upper levels of elementary school and the fact that his mother wanted him to become a teacher, an occupation he had little interest in pursuing. He discusses the history and genealogy of parts of his family and race relations in Jamaica. He explains that when he was 16 years old, he became an apprentice to carpenters employed by his cousin, noting that he learned general carpentry and built houses and factories in Jamaica. Reid explains that he immigrated to the US in 1919 and acclimated to the United States in Charleston, South Carolina with a different cousin because of the warm weather there. He describes encountering segregation in the southern United States, noting that he ignored these restrictions with few repercussions. He describes working for the Standard Oil Company and recalls the racial segregation of the workforce. He recounts joining Local 52 of an unspecified carpenters' union in Charleston; its two locals organized by race; and the specific territories marked for where each local's members were allowed to work. Reid provides an extended description of his job with the Consolidated Gas Company in Charleston, noting the details of his work and his relationship with the foreman. He discusses his work at an unspecified company in New York owned by Philip Egensky. Other topics include his involvement with a church in Jamaica; his leisure activities; a comparison between race relations in the northern and southern United States; and his participation in cricket leagues in both Jamaica and the US.

Carpenters -- Labor unions -- New York (State) -- New York


1975 December 12 and 18
Box: 49 Reel : 165a - 165c (Master reel [31142054874899])
Box: 50 Reel : 165d (Master reel [31142054874907])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 32-33 (Access cassette) Remier, [Unknown]: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Mr. Remier was born in Georgia in the late 1880s. He attended Georgia State College in Savannah, Georgia. He migrated to New York, New York in 1918 with his wife and two children. They lived in the Harlem and Washington Heights neighborhoods of Manhattan before buying a house in the Bronx. He worked as a shipping clerk for the Savannah Morning News and for a French-American magazine in New York City before becoming an elevator operator. He and his wife had a third child while living in New York.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Ron Walker on April 20, 1973 at an unknown location. The first name of the narrator is unknown. The interviews covers Mr. Remier's migration from Georgia to New York, New York; his social life; his experience of racial discrimination in New York; and his working life. Remier describes social activities in which he and wife participated in New York City, including a social and benevolent organization named the Georgia Association. He recounts the ease with which he and his family settled in New York, due in part to his wife having family there. He describes racial discrimination as not affecting him, as he worked and socialized exclusively within his community.

Elevator operators |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.


Undated
Box: 50 Reel : 166a (Master reel [31142054874907])
Box: 1 Folder : 69 Remier, [Unknown]: Transcript
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 218 (Access cassette) Richards, Evadni: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Evadni Richards was born in Jamaica in 1895. She was one of eight children, four of whom survived childhood. She immigrated to Cuba in 1921. She immigrated to the United States in 1922 and settled in New York, New York. She worked in the garment industry until her retirement in 1968 and was a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. She married in 1928.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Rona Weiss on March 28, 1973 at the headquarters of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) Local 22 in Manhattan, New York. The interview covers Evadni Richards' early life in Jamaica, her immigration to the United States (US), her work in the garment industry, and her union activity. Richards discusses her early life in Jamaica, including her education at a dressmaking school in Kingston and her decision to immigrate to Cuba with a friend. She discusses working as a domestic worker and companion in Cuba before immigrating to the US in 1922. She discusses her brother's business as a shoemaker in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan and his illness, which led to his return to Jamaica in 1924 and left her alone in the US. She discusses her work in the garment industry, including her wages; her work in the designing room doing handwork; and the other West Indians who worked in the factory with her. She compares Jamaica and New York from her childhood and the 1920s, in particular that there was no segregation in schools or churches; the influence of colonialism in the workplace; and that wages were better in New York, despite still being relatively little. She discusses discrimination in the garment industry; her opinion that all workers, regardless of race or ethnicity, faced a certain amount of discrimination; and racial discrimination she faced in the garment industry, in particular not being allowed to work as a designer despite her training. She recounts being chosen to learn to operate a special sewing machine despite being the only black worker in the factory.

Richards discusses early organizing attempts of the ILGWU in the early 1930s; her participation in strikes before she was a member of the union; and the differences in pay and working conditions after she joined the union. She discusses cultural programs organized by the ILGWU, in particular Fannia Cohn and her Know Your City program; an orchestra and dance troupe organized by the union; the popularity of these programs with the general public; her participation in the chorus; and the participation of the chorus and orchestra in the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair. She discusses the union's abandonment of funding of these programs in 1946 in favor of their cooperative housing programs.

Other topics include Richards' attendance at a singing school in the Bronx and her membership in an opera troupe; the immigration of her siblings to various countries; her decision to not become a US citizen until after her husband's death in 1966; her childhood in the interior of Jamaica; and her relationships with her extended family.

See also: Immigration, Migration, and First Impressions of New York, New York and the United States; Life Before Immigration or Migration; Leisure; and Neighborhood.

An electronic transcript of this interview is available by request.


1973 March 28
Box: 50 Box : 167a - 167b (Master reel [31142054874907])
Box: 1 Folder : 70 Richards, Evadni: Index
1973 March 28
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 34 (Access cassette) Rief, Fannie: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Fannie Rief was born in 1890 in a small town in southern Austria. Her father was a glazier and a cantor. Rief immigrated to the United States in 1907, where she married and had one son.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Manfred Putzka on April 2, 1973 at the Kingsbridge Heights Nursing Home in the Bronx, New York. The interview covers Fannie Rief's childhood in Austria, her immigration to the United States (US), her working life, and her family life. Rief recounts aspects of her early life in Austria, including brief biographies of her siblings. She recounts not attending school as only boys were formally educated and teaching herself to read and write Yiddish. She discusses anti-Semitism, wondering why it exists, and her belief that Jews were treated better in Austria than in Germany and Russia. She recounts immigrating alone to the US in 1907 and living with a family friend in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. She describes working as a servant for a number of Jewish families in New York City. She discusses her belief that although life in the US was hard, it was better than her life in Europe and describes ways in which new immigrants helped each other acclimate to life in the US. She discusses the decline in religious adherence in US amongst Jewish immigrants. She recalls her husband's career as a machine operator in a ladieswear shop and his activity in an unspecified union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union). She discusses her son's education, his marriage, and his worry over her health and well-being.


1973 April 2
Box: 50 Reel : 168a (Master reel [31142054874907])
Box: 51 Reel : 168b (Master reel [31142054874915])
Box: 1 Folder : 71 Rief, Fanny: Transcript; Summary; and Index
1973 April 2
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 219 (Access cassette) Robinson, Irene: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Irene Robinson was born on January 30, 1902 in Plaisance, British Guiana. She was an only child. Her father died when she was young and her mother traveled often, leaving her with her aunt. She attended a church school and studied typing and Pitman shorthand in the Kingston section of Georgetown, British Guiana. She immigrated to the United States in March 1924, initially settling in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York with her friend's sister. She married on May 3, 1925 in a Lutheran church on 126th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem and later moved to Brooklyn. Her husband was from King and Queen County, Virginia. They had five children. She worked as a transit clerk and as a machine operator in the garment industry. She belonged to Local 140 of an unspecified union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union). Her husband was a musician and an unsuccessful restaurateur.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Edmund Lake and Scott Holmes on April 7, 1973 at Irene Robinson's home at 220 Kingston Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. The date is unknown. This interview covers Robinson's childhood in British Guiana; her immigration to the United States (US) in 1924; and her life and work in New York, New York. Robinson begins by describing her childhood in Plaisance, British Guiana, recalling how discipline and the desire to make something of herself were instilled in her through her household chores, education, and corporal punishment. She describes the racial demographics of her classmates as being mostly black but not feeling animosity between the black and East Indian populations of British Guiana; and not experiencing racial discrimination and prejudice until she lived in the US. She discusses Great Britain's relationship with British Guiana and her work as secretary in a Marcus Garvey club in British Guiana.

Robinson recalls wanting to come to the US because she had heard that American stenographers earned good wages. She describes her journey to the US in March 1924, during which she felt seasick and alone, and nearly died when her ship sank. She recalls living with her friend's sister on 128th Street in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan and her awe at seeing snow for the first time. She recounts a trip she and her husband took to the southern US after they were married, focusing on her initial experience with racial discrimination in the US and how it made her wary of people. She describes moving near Linden Boulevard in Brooklyn in order to provide a safer environment and better educational opportunities for her children.

Robinson explains that she went into factory work because the hours allowed her to care for her children and that one of her friends taught her to operate a sewing machine. She recalls working for various garment factories and joining Local 140 of an unspecified union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union), which supported members financially during strikes and helped them achieve better working conditions and wages. She emphasizes the role of the Anglican Church throughout her life and her children's experiences at Greater Refuge Temple in Harlem. Other topics include the life, education, and work of her five children; her and cousins' appearances as a singing group, the Robinson Children, on various New York City radio stations; her husband's occupations; a comparison of parenting methodologies between her generation and the generation of parents at the time of the interview; and her travels since her retirement in 1967.

See also: Life Before Immigration or Migration; Immigration, Migration, and First Impressions of New York, New York and the United States; Interview Compilation for Radio Broadcast; and Passage.

Guyanese |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.


1973 April 7
Box: 51 Reel : 169a - 169b (Master reel [31142054874915])
Box: 1 Folder : 72 Robinson, Irene: Index
1973 April 7
Box: No Master Rocco, Dominick: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Dominick Rocco was born in Procida, Italy on July 13, 1901. He was the youngest of three children. He attended school in Italy for four years while working with his father transporting sand and cement along the Italian coast. He immigrated to the United States in 1924. He married Adeline Esposita in 1929, and they had four children. He worked as a longshoreman in Brooklyn, New York and was a member of the International Longshoremen's Association.

Scope and Content Note

The interviewer, date, and location of the interview are unknown. This interview covers Dominick Rocco's childhood in Procida, Italy; his illegal immigration to the United States (US) in 1924; and his life and work as a longshoreman in Brooklyn, New York. Rocco begins the interview by describing his childhood in Italy; his father's cargo ship business; and the changes in Procida from when he left to the time of the interview, noting an increase in educational opportunities and a decrease in the number of people employed in labor-intensive jobs. He discusses being encouraged to immigrate to the US after seeing the success of his father's workers who would go to the US and return to Italy wealthier. He explains that his immigration in July 1924 impeded him from acquiring his citizenship until 1948. He recounts his settling on 2nd Street in Brooklyn with his cousin's family and immediately working as a longshoreman. He recalls joining the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) but notes that its early incarnations were weak and indistinct due to its lack of communication and organization, especially during the Great Depression. He discusses the fact that longshoremen were predominantly Italian and notes that the large need for the occupation dwindled over time and will perhaps completely disappear in the future. He describes living in a predominantly Italian neighborhood in which there were many large families of four to five children and that the older generations made sure to pass the traditions of their homeland to the next generation. Other topics include his marriage and subsequent move to 49th Street and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn in 1929; his first time taking the 7th Avenue subway in 1924; and his belief in building a better life for himself in the US.


Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 151 (Access cassette)
Box: 101
Box: 1 Folder : 104 Rocco, Dominick: Subject Cards
Undated
Box: Missing Rockwell, Alfonso: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Alfonso Rockwell was born in North Cumberland County, Virginia in 1907. He had one brother. Their father was a cook in fish factories, and their mother maintained the family farm, with the help of her children. Rockwell attended school up to eighth grade in Virginia. He left Virginia when he was 16 years old and migrated to Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he lived for 12 years before migrating to New York, New York. He married twice but had no children. He was a construction worker, dishwasher, and cook. He joined an unspecified union (likely a construction workers' union) for a short time.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Mary B. Alexander at the Kingsbridge Heights Nursing Home in the Bronx, New York on an unspecified date. The audio recording for this interview is missing. This interview covers Alfonso Rockwell's childhood in Virginia; his migrations to Atlantic City, New Jersey and New York, New York; and his work and leisure activities. Rockwell describes his hometown, noting his work on the family farm and differences in the town between his childhood and the time of the interview. He notes that there was a distinction between men's work and women's work, with men fishing and women working on the farms or in tomato factories. He explains that he left Virginia when he was 16 years old because he had heard that jobs and wages were better in Atlantic City. He describes working in construction in Ocean City, New Jersey; liking the lack of a union; marrying his first wife; and going to baseball games, pool rooms, dances, and church during his free time. He discusses segregation in his neighborhood; transitioning from construction work to cooking for job security; and his preference for the Postal Savings System over banks. He describes moving to New York; working odd jobs because of the lack of steady work; and returning to Virginia when his grandmother became sick. Other topics include the relationship between Baltimore, Maryland and his hometown; his time in the Army during World War II; his political affiliation; and his religious beliefs.

Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 103 Rockwell, Alfonso: Summary and Index
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 26 (Access cassette) Rogers, Naomi (Thompson)

Biographical Note

Naomi (Thompson) Rogers was born in 1902 in Northampton County, Virginia. Her family lived on a small farm. She had three sisters and two brothers. She attended school in Virginia and continued her education through 10th grade at Kittrell College in North Carolina. She married in 1917, had one son, and separated from her husband before migrating to New York, New York. She worked as a domestic worker for different families in New York state before working at Rockefeller Center, Inc. between 1951 and 1966.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Shirley Stow on April 16, 1974 at an unknown location. This interview covers Naomi (Thompson) Rogers' childhood in Northampton, Virginia; her migration to New York, New York; and her life in New York City until 1966. Rogers begins the interview by briefly describing her time in Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland. She describes migrating to New York in 1930 when she was 29 years old in order to find work and support her son, who was living with her mother in Virginia. She explains that she worked as a live-in domestic worker on 81st Street and Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, in the Bronx, and in Pleasantville. Other topics include her passing the civil service examination; her involvement with churches in Virginia and New York; and her son's experience in the Army during World War II.


1974 April 16
Box: 101
Box: 51 Reel : 171a (Master reel [31142054874915])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 192, 192a (Access cassette)
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 169 (Access cassette) Rosanno, Adele; Stella Loregio; Rose [Unknown]; and Other Unidentified Italian Women: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Adele Rosanno was born in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. She was one of seven children. Her father immigrated to the United States (US) from the Abruzzi region of Italy in 1889. He worked as a cabinetmaker in Italy and held various jobs in the US before settling at E. B. Jordan, a furniture factory, where he later became a floor manager. Her mother was also born in Abruzzi and immigrated to the US with her family when she was three years old. Rosanno worked as a manager in her husband's restaurant on Houston Street in Manhattan and as a saleswoman. At the time of the interview, she volunteered at the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary & Saint Stephen Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn.

Stella Loregio immigrated to the US in 1929 when she was around 28 years old. Her husband was born in Brooklyn. They had two children. At the time of the interview, she resided at 128 Union Street in Carroll Gardens.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Nina Cobb on May 16, 1975. The location is likely the Carroll Gardens Senior Center at 380 Court Street in Brooklyn, New York. Many people can be heard conversing over one another and passing in and out of the room, making the current narrator hard to hear. Several other people were present at this interview including Frances and Rose, who are only identified by their first names; Lily (likely Lily Campanile); an unspecified man who acts as a translator between the interviewer and Stella Loregio; and several other unidentified women. This interview covers the history of Adele Rosanno's father; Rosanno's life in Brooklyn, New York; parts of Stella Loregio's life and work; and several unnamed participants' stories of their lives and work experiences in the United States (US).

Rosanno begins by describing her father; his immigration to the US from Italy in 1889; and his inheritance of his father's farm in the Abruzzi region of Italy. She describes his struggle to find work as a cabinetmaker in the US, noting that he worked on the subway in New York City before getting a job at E. B. Jordan, a furniture company, where he later became a floor manager. Rosanno recounts meeting her husband at a masquerade dance; working as a manager in his restaurant on Houston Street; and monitoring the bar and wait staff as they had a tendency to steal from the business. Other topics from Rosanno's portion of the interview include her family and their educations and occupations; her job as a saleswoman; and her involvement with the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary & Saint Stephen Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn.

Rosanno introduces her friend, identified as Rose, who discusses the types of community organizations in Carroll Gardens and emphasizes the role of religious organizations. She notes that many of the volunteers were older women who no longer worked, but needed to socialize and keep busy. She focuses on the contributions of those in the Jeanmen's Guild of Saint Agnes Church and the volunteer work that went into making bed jackets for Saint Rose's Free Home for Incurable Cancer at 71 Jackson Street in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan.

All of the women describe their impressions of how the role of women has changed since they were young women, specifically noting the increasing number of women in the workforce. One woman recalls working as a telephone operator until her marriage and wishes she had continued working after raising her children because she liked her job. The women compare their children to the generation of children at the time of the interview, remarking that children have become more spoiled but also more intelligent. Many of them note that they knew nothing about sex or pregnancy until they married because their parents felt that children should not be exposed to such knowledge. In contrast, they observe how the generation of children at the time of the interview know more about these topics than they did at the same age.

Stella Loregio speaks predominantly in Italian, with an unidentified man acting as a translator at the very end of her narrative. She describes her immigration to the US; parts of her family history; her husband's family and his death; a trip she made to Italy and her return to the US in 1950; and the life of her children at the time of the interview.

Other topics discussed in the general interview include Italian mourning traditions, particularly those affiliated with widows, and many of the women's trips to Italy, both in the past and at the time of the interview.

See also: Campanile, Lily.


1975 May 16
Box: 51 Reel : 172a (Master reel [31142054874915])
Box: 52 Reel : 172b (Master reel [31142054874923])
Box: 1 Folder : 73 Rosanno, Adele; Stella Loregio; Rose [Unknown]; and Other Unidentified Italian Women: Summary
1975 May 16
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 35 (Access cassette) Rothman, Helen Taub: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Helen Rothman was born in 1900 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but was raised in a small town in Hungary. Her family owned a liquor distribution company in Hungary. She returned to the United States in 1920 and settled in New York, New York. She married in 1921.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Josh Brown on May 9, 1973 at Helen Rothman's apartment in Manhattan, New York. The interview covers both Rothman's life and that of her brother, David Klein, who was also interviewed for the New York City Immigrant Labor History Project. She discusses her early life in Hungary, including living with an aunt and uncle in Hungary while the rest of her family returned to the United States (US). She discusses her education, her parents' separation, and her aspiration to become a psychiatrist. She recounts meeting her husband; moving to Budapest with him after World War I; and deciding to emigrate once Béla Kun came to power. She discusses her immigration to the US and her reunion with her family. She recounts meeting her younger siblings and feeling shocked at the transformation of her family from upper middle class intellectuals to people concerned only with the management of the family shoe store. She discusses her rebellion against her eldest brother, Henry, who controlled every aspect of the family, from how their business was run to how the family would vote in political elections.

In discussing her brother David's life, Rothman focuses on his involvement with Socialist Party of America; his erratic behavior and subsequent schizophrenia diagnosis; and the fact that the family had him legally committed to a state psychiatric hospital for over twenty years.

See also: Klein, David.

Mental illness |x Family relationships.


1973 May 9
Box: 52 Reel : 173a (Master reel [31142054874923])
Box: 1 Folder : 74 Rothman, Helen Taub: Transcript; Summary; and Index
1973 May 9
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 55 (Access cassette) Rubin, Rose: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Rose Rubin was born in Bialystok, in the Polish region of the Russian Empire in 1889. She worked in a union textile factory before her immigration to the United States (US) in 1907. In the US she worked in the garment industry and in a handkerchief factory. She married her first husband in 1908 and had one child with him before his death in 1910. Her second husband had two children from a previous marriage, and they had three children together. After his death, Rubin returned to work in the garment industry.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Suzanne Michelle on April 3, 1974 at the Bialystoker Home for the Aged on East Broadway in Manhattan, New York. Main topics include Rose Rubin's life in Bialystok, in the Polish region of the Russian Empire; her life in the United States (US); her family; her employment in the US; her leisure activities; and her opinions of the US. Rubin discusses her family in Bialystok, including her father's work as a carpenter and her three sisters and two brothers. She discusses two of her sisters dying days apart from diphtheria, and her brothers serving in the Russian Army. She recalls her work in the textile industry as a quill winder and her arrests for union involvement. She discusses the 1906 Bialystok pogrom, specifically she and her coworkers barricading themselves into their factory, and her house not being destroyed despite the looting and destruction of many businesses and homes.

Rubin recalls her immigration to and early life in the US, including her boyfriend sending for her; entering the US through Ellis Island, New York; sharing a room with three other girls for nine dollars a month; and having financial difficulties despite the low cost of living. She discusses her family life while in the US, including her marriage in 1908; moving with her husband to Paterson, New Jersey; the birth of her first child; the death of her husband in 1910; and her financial struggles afterward. She discusses her second marriage, including her husband's two children from a previous marriage; their three children together; and his death before World War II (WWII).

Rubin recalls her work experience in the US, including working in the garment industry before her first marriage; taking in textile work at home after her first child was born; and working in a factory manufacturing US Army uniforms during WWII. She discusses reading newspapers such as the Paterson News and Bintel Brief in the  Jewish Daily Forward; being active in social work within her community, in particular helping a sick neighbor find a doctor and collecting food for the neighbor's family; and enjoying the amount of freedom afforded to her in the US.


1974 April 3
Box: 52 Reel : 174a - 174b (Master reel [31142054874923])
Box: 1 Folder : 75 Rubin, Rose: Summary
1974 April 3
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 168, 168a (Access cassette) Saltalamacchia, Angelina and Rose Davy: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Angelina Saltalamacchia was born in Messina, Italy around 1895 and was one of seven children. She immigrated to the United States (US) in 1911 when she was 17 years old. She worked as a machine operator in a textile factory in Brooklyn, New York until her marriage in 1913. Her husband was born in Italy in 1886 and immigrated to the US twice, first in 1902 and again in 1909. In Italy he worked on a farm and in the US he worked for an unspecified telephone company in New York City, as a clerk in a grocery, but spent the bulk of his career as a longshoreman. They had five children.

Rose Davy worked as machine operator in dress factories in Brooklyn. Her father was a longshoreman and her mother packed dates. The family lived in Brooklyn and in Cleveland, Ohio. Davy married and had children.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on May 14, 1975 by Jay Facciolo and David Lightner at a senior citizen center in Brooklyn, New York. At first Lily Campanile, Rose Davy, Agnes Mazza, and Giacomina Pasqua discuss their husbands' work as longshoremen and the ways in which they would acquire jobs. They quickly start talking over one another and the interviewers decide to speak to the women in smaller groups. Angelina Saltalamacchia and Rose Davy are recorded together. The interview with Angelina Saltalamacchia focuses on her husband's work as a longshoreman, but also covers his working life in Italy and in the United States (US) before becoming a longshoreman; their immigration to the US; her working life before their marriage; and their children. She discusses her husband's career as a longshoreman in the US, including how hard he worked; his salary; and the amount of compensation they received after he sustained a workplace injury. She recounts the different jobs he held in the US before he became a longshoreman, including working for an unspecified telephone company in New York City and as a clerk in a store. She discusses her reasons for immigrating to the US and other family members who immigrated before her. She describes different jobs she had before her marriage; her work as a machine operator in garment factories; lists the locations of the factories in New York City and what each produced; and the work she did at each factory. She describes her unhappiness at her first job, due to not being able to speak or understand English. She discusses her children, including their birth dates; the death of one from leukemia; and the occupations of her surviving children.

The interview with Rose Davy covers her working life and her family. She describes her work in a mattress factory in Brooklyn, making burlap cushions for cars and boats. She recounts having to carry 12 of these cushions at a time; continuing to work while she was pregnant; and losing her job when she was six months pregnant. She discusses her father's recuperation after sustaining an injury in his work as a longshoreman; the compensation her family received after his injury; and the savings they accrued from this compensation. She discusses, at great length, a cousin stealing her father's savings; the family moving from Brooklyn to Cleveland, Ohio; and her mother's work packing dates to support the family. She discusses her work as a machine operator in dress factories in Brooklyn and her supervisor at one factory on State and Smith Streets.

See also: Campanile, Lily and Mazza, Agnes.

An electronic transcript of this interview is available by request.


1975 May 14
Box: 52 Reel : 175a (Master reel [31142054874923])
Box: 53 Reel : 175b - 175d (Master reel [31142054874931])
Box: 1 Folder : 76 Saltalamacchia, Angelina and Rose Davy: Summary
1975 May 14
Box: No Master Saggese, Charles

Biographical Note

Charles Saggese was born near Naples, Italy in 1892. He immigrated to the United States (US) in 1907. In the US, Saggese worked as a barber, an insurance salesman, and an elevator operator. He married in 1923 and had two children. He was a member of the Building Service Employees International Union Local 32B.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Joan Granucci. The location and date are unknown. Main topics include Charles Saggese's immigration to the United States (US); his employment; his marriage and family; his leisure activities; and his political and religious views. Saggese discusses his immigration to the US at the age of 14; his father's promise that he could return to Italy if he did not like the US; and his belief that he would find gold in the streets in the US. He recalls his employment, including becoming a barber at his wife's urging but having to close his barber shop after he developed an allergy to the perfumes; working as a salesman for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company; and working as an elevator operator. He discusses attempting to unionize the elevator workers in his building in 1936 and joining the Building Service Employees International Union Local 32B. He discusses his marriage, including asking his wife to refrain from working after they married because he believed it was the husband's job to provide for his wife. Saggese discusses his children, in particular his son's education as an engineer and his work on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. He recalls leisure activities in which he participated, including attending the opera and joining the St. Rosalie Club likely affiliated with his parish, where he served as a secretary. He discusses his political views, including being a registered Democrat and having a polling place in his barber shop. He discusses his views on religion, including considering himself Catholic but not attending church regularly and his belief that all religions were essentially the same.

See also: Immigration, Migration, and First Impressions of New York, New York and the United States.


Undated
Box: 101 Sansone, Mary: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Mary Sansone was the founder of the Congress of Italian Americans Organization (CIAO) in Brooklyn, New York.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Joan Granucci at the Congress of Italian Americans Organization (CIAO) in Brooklyn, New York on April 9, 1974. The interview covers Mary Sansone's founding of and work at CIAO and stereotypes of Italian Americans. Sansone discusses the perception that Italian Americans are family oriented and will support each other through any difficulty; her work to reveal this perception as false; and her founding of CIAO in order to provide a support network for Italian Americans. She addresses the problem of Italian American students dropping out of high school and her work to lower the dropout rate with different organizations including the Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge Program (SEEK). She discusses the popularity of the CIAO center in Brooklyn and their daycare and senior citizen programs.

An electronic transcript of this interview is available by request.


1974 April 9
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 154 (Access cassette)
Box: 53 Reel : 176a (Master reel [31142054874931])
Box: 1 Folder : 77 Sansone, Mary: Summary
1974 April 9
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 151 (Access cassette) Savio, Joseph

Biographical Note

Joseph Savio was born on May 14, 1891 in a small town in Sicily, Italy. He was one of six children. His father was a shoemaker and a landowner. Savio attended school in Italy for three years and for a short time in the United States (US) after his immigration with his family in 1901. He worked as a delivery boy and a cutter in the glove industry.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on March 26, 1973. The interviewer and location of the interview are unknown. This interview covers Joseph Savio's childhood in Italy, his immigration to the United States (US) in 1901, and his life in New York, New York up to the time of the interview. Savio briefly describes living in Italy, noting that there was a severe economic divide between those who owned property and those who did not. He discusses his family's immigration, with his parents and younger siblings following the earlier immigration of his older siblings. He recounts the family settling in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan; briefly attending school on Solomon Street; struggling to learn English; working as a delivery boy; and being apprenticed to a glove cutter. He discusses his work pressing and cutting the fingers of gloves; perfecting his trade; becoming the foreman of the Steinberg Company for several years; and opening his own business on East 28th Street. He describes the working conditions of the glove factories as filthy, noting that he contracted a disease from the fumes produced in processing the gloves. Other topics include Italian immigrants' opinions on World War I and World War II; the shift in economic and living conditions in the US during the wars; discrimination faced by Italians and Jews in the areas he lived; and differences between New York City and his hometown.

See also: Life Before Immigration or Migration; Interview Compilation for Radio Broadcast; Passage; and Unionization.


1973 March 26
Box: 53 Reel : 177a (Master reel [31142054874931])
Box: 54 Reel : 177b (Master reel [31142054874949])
Box: 101 Cd : ref28 (Access cd [31142054875417]) Schiano, Thomaso: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Thomaso Schiano was born near Naples, Italy in the early 1920s. He immigrated to the US with his wife and two children when he was 26 years old and lived on President Street in Brooklyn, New York. He spent his career working as a longshoreman and was a member of the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1814.

Scope and Content Note

The interviewer, location, and date of this interview are unknown. This interview was conducted in Italian with the aid of a translator who is often hard to hear. Topics include Schiano's life in Italy, his family, work as a longshoreman, and leisure activities. Schiano discusses his early life in Italy including having eight siblings; marrying and having children; and working as a sailor. He remembers immigrating to the United States (US) twice: once on his own and then again with his wife and children. He discusses leisure activities in Brooklyn, New York, including trips to Prospect Park, museums, and Coney Island; reading only Italian newspapers; and listening to Italian music, but not Italian opera. He discusses feeling grateful for the opportunities in the US and identifying as a Democrat. Other topics include being a member of the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1814; finding employment through friends; and working on the docks because he no longer wanted to go out to sea. He speaks at length about his children, including how they spoke to him in Italian while they spoke English amongst themselves; that he supported them until they married so that they would have savings; and his insistence that they attend school rather than work. He specifically describes feeling proud of his son for attending college.

International Longshoremen's Association. Local 1814 (New York, N.Y.)


Undated
Box: 54 Reel : 178a (Master reel [31142054874949])
Box: 1 Folder : 78 Schiano, Thomaso: Subject Cards
Undated
Box: Missing Scotto, Geraldo: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Geraldo Scotto was born in Monte di Procida, Italy in 1900. He was one of eleven children. He immigrated to the United States (US) in 1920 and settled in an unspecified Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. He married in 1927 and had two children. He worked as a longshoreman and was a member of the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA).

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Joan Granucci with the assistance of Mr. Terranova at an unspecified location in Brooklyn, New York on April 12, 1973. The audio recording for this interview is missing. This interview covers Geraldo Scotto's childhood in Italy; his immigration to the United States (US) in 1920; and his work as a longshoreman in Brooklyn, New York. Scotto explains that he was the first member of his family to immigrate to the US. He describes the work of longshoremen; working conditions on the docks; the demographics of the longshoremen; and the development of the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) and its impact on longshoremen. He explains that, although he moved three times while in the US, he always remained in Brooklyn, specifically in Italian communities near many of his friends and family from Italy. He notes that he did not speak English when he came to the US; that he learned what he knows of the language from his wife, friends, and coworkers; and that he did not experience any discrimination, though he did have trouble finding a job when he first arrived in the US. Other topics include a trip he took to Italy in 1958; his religious beliefs; his children's living and working situations at the time of the interview; and his leisure activities.

1973 April 12
Box: 1 Folder : 105 Scotto, Geraldo: Index
1973 April 12
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 132 (Access cassette) Seltzer, Ida: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Ida Seltzer was born into a large Jewish family in a small town near Minsk, Russia. In 1910, she immigrated to the United States and lived on Eldridge Street in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. She and her husband were both members of the Workmen's Circle.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Karen Kearns at the Workmen's Circle Home for the Aged in the Bronx, New York on an unspecified date. The interview covers Ida Seltzer's early life in Russia; her immigration to and early impressions of New York, New York; her working life; and her marriage. Seltzer recounts her early life in a small town near Minsk, Russia, including being a member of the Jewish community in a town populated by both Jews and Christians and being taught to read and write Hebrew or Yiddish by a tutor in her home. She describes her management of her household; her care of her younger siblings after her mother died; and her difficult relationship with her stepmother, which led to her immigration to the United States (US). Her memories of life in New York City in the early 20th century include reacting to the difference in fashions and hairstyles; eating ice cream for the first time; and learning to use a straw. She recounts her first job in a factory, including learning to use sewing machines and being fined for being late to work before becoming accustomed to time clocks. She describes numerous attempts at organizing by unspecified unions in the factories in which she worked and her decisions to find new work when these attempts failed. She recounts working at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory for one day before the fire in 1911 and describes the general darkness in the factory, the locked stairwells, and the fact that there was no drinking water for the workers.

Seltzer discusses her living situations before her marriage, including sharing a three room apartment with four other family members when she first arrived in the US and moving to another small apartment with the family of a friend. She recounts meeting her husband at her brother's restaurant on Rutgers Street in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, where other workers would meet; learning about labor unions and the Workmen's Circle through her husband; and joining the Workmen's Circle once they were married. She describes their large wedding with 500 guests, and banquets and dances held by the Workmen's Circle that she attended with her husband.

Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring


Undated
Box: 54 Reel : 181a - 181b (Master reel [31142054874949])
Box: 1 Folder : 79 Seltzer, Ida: Summary
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 60a-b, 61 (Access cassette) Sherman, Herbert

Biographical Note

Herbert Sherman was born in Kolomea, Galicia, Austria-Hungary around 1909. His father was a carpenter and his mother worked as a cleaning woman. He had two sisters, two step-brothers, and one half-brother. He attended Hebrew school in Kolomea. He immigrated to the United States (US) in 1921 and attended Seward Park High School, New York University, and Brooklyn Law School. He worked as an inventory clerk at Lane Bryant and as a lawyer after passing the bar exam in 1932. Sherman incorporated the Bay Terrace Jewish Center in Queens and served as its president and as the chairman of the board of trustees. He served on the Bay Terrace Hebrew school board and organized the Jewish community there in order to build a synagogue in the area. He married in 1936 and had three sons.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Abraham Zeller on April 17, 1974 at an unknown location. This interview covers Herbert Sherman's childhood in Kolomea, Galicia, Austria-Hungary; his immigration to the United States (US) in 1921; and his life and work as a lawyer in New York, New York. Sherman begins by describing his childhood in Kolomea, noting that his father immigrated to Canada in 1913 and from there to the US in 1914. He explains that the prolonged absence of his father strengthened the relationship he had with his mother, a well-educated woman who inculcated in him the desire to get an education, and the impact of her death when he was 16 years old. He recalls that Kolomea was on the border between Russia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire and, as a result, the town was often in the middle of border disputes. He explains that his father sent for the family at the end of World War I, but they were unable to immigrate to the United States until 1921. He discusses organizations that aided immigrants upon arrival in the United States, particularly the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and living conditions on the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan. He recounts attending public school in New York, noting that the school had special classes to teach immigrants English. He explains that he began working while he was attending Seward Park High School in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, varnishing sample cases for salesmen and preparing and delivering lunches to workers in a manufacturing company.

Sherman recounts working as an inventory clerk for the Lane Bryant mail order house on 42nd Street between 10th and 11th Avenues in Manhattan, while attending New York University and later Brooklyn Law School. He recalls meeting his wife at a holiday party; their wedding in 1936; and their moves to the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn and the Bayside neighborhood of Queens. Sherman explains that he became a cantor at the chapel in Fort Totten in Queens, which prompted him to establish a synagogue and Jewish community center in the Bay Terrace neighborhood of Queens. He emphasizes his involvement in politics, noting his involvement in the Robert F. Wagner Club; his support of various political candidates during the last 10 to 15 years; and his desire for the the young generation at the time of the interview to develop political acumen and a desire to participate in politics. Other topics include his father's remarriage and his relationship with his stepmother and his step-siblings; religious discrimination both in Europe and the US; the development of standards for lawyers; a comparison of his relationship with his parents and his children's relationship with him; and a comparison of New York City in the past and at the time of the interview.

Lawyers -- New York (State) -- New York.


1974 April 17
Box: 54 Reel : 182a (Master reel [31142054874949])
Box: 55 Reel : 182b - 182d (Master reel [31142054874956])
Box: 101 Siciliano, Leonardo

Biographical Note

Leonardo Siciliano was born in 1907 in Bari, Italy. He immigrated to the United States in 1928 and became a citizen in 1948. He worked as a longshoreman in New York, New York and was a member of the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1814.

Scope and Content Note

Leonard Siciliano was interviewed by David Lightner and an unidentified interviewer on April 11, 1975 at the International Longshoremen's Association Union Hall, on Court Street in Brooklyn, New York. Siciliano often speaks Italian throughout the interview. Luigi Barrara, another member of the Union, is present at the interview, often acting as a translator between Italian and English, as well as clarifying some details. Topics include Siciliano's childhood in Italy, his early work in New York, New York, and his union involvement. Siciliano recollects his early life in Italy, including going to school; working on a fishing boat in the summers; his father working on large ships; joining the Italian Navy; and trying to support his family. His early memories of New York City include being required to join the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) Local 1814 in order to work; working on an Army Base at Pier 2 in Brooklyn; and deciding to become a longshoreman since it did not require working papers. Siciliano discusses how the ILA affected his job, specifically mentioning strikes happening consistently every two years for ten to twenty days each; the $13 compensation provided for work injuries being insufficient; and work gangs that would become an important part of the job.


1975 April 11
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 165 (Access cassette)
Box: 55 Reel : 183a - 183b (Master reel [31142054874956])
Box: No Master Sinclar, Ruth

Biographical Note

Ruth Sinclar had one son, who was born in 1944. She worked in a sweater factory and taught Sunday school at Mount Olivet Church and Calvary Baptist Church in Manhattan, New York.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Edmund Lake. The location and date of this interview are unknown. The first portion of this interview is missing. Main topics include Ruth Sinclar's son, her employment in a sweater factory and as a Sunday school teacher, and her church attendance. Sinclar discusses her son, including his moves to Phoenix, Arizona and Maine in an attempt to control his asthma; his graduation from the University of Maine and Howard University School of Law in Washington DC; his decision to leave Harvard Law School for Howard University; his passing the bar exam in 1961; and his work for a Pacific Line train between attending Harvard and Howard. She discusses working in a sweater factory on Broadway in Manhattan, New York; teaching Sunday school at Mount Olivet Baptist Church and Calvary Baptist Church in Manhattan; and participating in the Parent Teacher Association of her son's school. She discusses the different churches she attended, including joining Mount Olivet Baptist Church in 1933; joining Abyssinian Baptist Church in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan in 1948, but disliking it because Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. spent more time in Washington, DC than Harlem; and joining Calvary Baptist Church in 1963, where she was still a member at the time of the interview.


Undated
Box: Missing Singer, Alex: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Alex Singer was born in Smotrych, Russia. His father was a watchmaker, and his mother managed a grocery store, with the assistance of her children. Singer attended a yeshiva in Russia and night school in the United States (US). He immigrated to the US through Ellis Island, New York and settled with his uncle in a tenement in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan. He worked as a candy salesman before moving into the garment industry, in which he worked as an operator, a cutter, a skirt maker, and a contractor. He was a member of an unspecified operators' union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) Operators' Local 1), cutters' union (likely ILGWU Cutters' Local 10), and skirt makers' union (likely ILGWU Skirt Makers' Local 23) at different points in his career.

Scope and Contents

The interviewer, date, and location of this interview are unknown. The audio recording of this interview is missing. This interview covers Alex Singer's childhood in Russia; his immigration to the United States (US); and his work and union activity in the garment industry in New York, New York. Singer recalls that his hometown in Russia was divided along religious and class lines. He describes the impact of the town's many shuls in creating a sense of community in the village; Jewish traditions; and his education at a local yeshiva. He mentions the relationship between the Russian government and the Jewish population, noting that pogroms were frequent, although not in his town. He explains that he wanted to immigrate to the US because he had heard stories of freedom from those who had returned from the US.

Singer recalls his immigration to the US through Canada. He mentions learning to become an operator, cutter, skirt maker, and contractor in the garment industry, noting that he joined different unions depending on his occupation. He describes becoming more involved in Judaism in order to raise his children within the religion and some of the community organizations he joined. Other topics include the types of work and union activities in his hometown in Russia; his experiences at Ellis Island, New York; his leisure activities; his love of the column A Bintel Brief in The Forward; and his relationships with people both within and outside of his religious community.

Jews, Russian |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.
Amalgamated Ladies' Garment Cutters' UnionInternational Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 1 (New York, N.Y.)International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union . Local 23-25 (New York, N.Y.)
Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 106 Singer, Alex: Subject Cards
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 66 (Access cassette) Sirota, Alex

Biographical Note

Alex Sirota was born in 1903 in a small town near the Dniester River in Romania. He had one brother, who immigrated to South America, and one sister, who remained in Romania. His father was self-employed in Europe and worked as a furrier after he immigrated to the United States (US) during the Great Depression. Sirota attended grammar school in Romania. He immigrated to the US in 1920 and settled at 159 East Houston Street in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. He was a mattress worker and a member and organizer of the Furniture Workers Industrial Union and the United Furniture Workers of America. He married and had two children.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Linda Bauer on May 2 and May 16, 1974 at an unknown location. This interview covers Alex Sirota's working life, his union activity, and his early life in Romania. Sirota discusses his membership and work as an organizer in an unspecified furniture workers' union and the affiliation of that union with the Furniture Workers Industrial Union in 1936. He describes the creation of the United Furniture Workers of America (UFWA) in 1937 and the affiliation of his local with them. He describes his work to unionize the factory at which he worked for the UFWA; a 26 week strike that followed the unionization of that factory; and he and his daughter being threatened by representatives of his employer. He describes the ethnic and racial demographics of the original membership of the UFWA (predominantly Jewish) and the membership at the time of the interview (predominantly black and Puerto Rican). He recounts meetings of the general membership being conducted and recorded in Yiddish, with the minority learning Yiddish in order to participate. He discusses cultivating certain workers to be union officers; officers continuing to work in the shops as an officer's salary was not enough to live on; and this leading to officers having a better understanding of the needs of the general membership. He discusses the union leadership at the time of the interview being paid a substantial salary and not having to continue working in the factories, which he felt led to a separation of the leadership from the general membership and inferior management of the union.

Sirota discusses his early life in Romania, including his memories of the Russian Revolution; anti-Semitism in Romania; and his decision to emigrate. He describes the importance of union officials' dedication to the union over their own personal interests; of the union possessing both organizational and political power; and of the general decline in union membership at the time of the interview. Other topics include a trip he took through France, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Soviet Union in 1951; his two appearances before the House Un-American Activities Committee; the role of the Communist Party of the United States of America in the labor movement; a trip he took to Israel in 1966; his parents' immigration and acclimation to the US; the dangers associated with being a member of the union; his interest in a Jewish paper and Jewish literature; his wife's occupation as a garment worker and member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union; and his opinions of the youth movements occurring at the time of the interview.

Furniture workers -- Labor unions
Jews, Romanian -- United States -- Interviews
United Furniture Workers of America


1974 May 2 and 16
Box: 56 Reel : 186a - 186b (Master reel [31142054874964])
Box: 100 Cassette : 186a - 186b, 186c - 186d (Master cassette [31142054875409])
Box: 101 Cd : ref186c - ref186d (Access cd [31142054875417])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 195, 195a (Access cassette) Smith, Mozelle

Biographical Note

Mozelle Smith was born Marcella Gale at 504 West 125th Street in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. She had one brother. Her mother migrated to New York from Chesterfield County, Virginia when she was 16 years old and worked as a chambermaid in apartments near Columbia University in Manhattan. Smith attended Public Schools 43 and 157 in the Bronx until the eighth grade. She earned her high school equivalency credential when she was 30 years old by attending night school at the Wadleigh School in Harlem. Smith married when she was 30 years old and raised her husband's two sons, but she did not have any children of her own. She worked in domestic service.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Gigi, whose last name is unknown, on May 2, 1974. The location is likely Mozelle Smith's apartment. Gigi often provides long anecdotes of her own. This interview covers Smith's childhood in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York; her education; her work in domestic service; part of her mother's life in Chesterfield County, Virginia; a discussion between herself and Gigi about religion; and Smith's musings on how New York City and its inhabitants have changed since her childhood.

Smith begins the interview by recounting how she received her nickname, Mozelle, in school and how the name has stayed with her. She describes growing up in Harlem and specifically focuses on living in racially mixed areas, both on 125th Street and 127th Street. She explains the impact this had on her education experience, noting that the first school she attended, Public School (PS) 43, was a predominantly white school, where the teachers treated her well, but she often fought with other students when they called her racial slurs. She recalls that when she transferred to PS 157, she expected to be treated fairly because there were more black students, but they ostracized her because she lived in a white neighborhood, which prompted fights with them. Smith recounts her mother not understanding her aggressive reaction to racial slurs and attributes this to her being accustomed to such treatment due to growing up in Virginia. She recounts her mother's time in Virginia and her experience migrating to New York; her mother's job as a chambermaid near Columbia University in Manhattan; the difference in the ways in which lighter and darker skinned black people were treated; and her experience at church and Sunday school.

Smith and Gigi have a long discussion concerning religion, covering topics such as the difference in the way the black community and others practice religion; whether such a delineation should exist; changes in the importance of religion for both groups; and the impact of slavery and African traditions on the development of black spirituality. Other topics include Smith's musings on changes in New York City since her childhood; Spanish becoming as important a language as English in the United States at the time of the interview; her reasons for never having children; and comparing the connotations of being referred to as black or negro.


1974 May 2
Box: 56 Reel : 187a - 187c (Master reel [31142054874964])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 199, 199a-d (Access cassette) Stackhouse, Ollie

Biographical Note

Ollie Stackhouse was born in Rippon, West Virginia in 1912. She had four sisters and one brother. Her father worked on a farm and her mother worked as a midwife and domestic worker. Stackhouse migrated to Baltimore, Maryland in 1933 and later to New Jersey in the 1940s before finally settling in New York, New York in 1945. Stackhouse married in 1944 and had one son born in 1952. She worked in domestic service for various families in Rippon, Baltimore, and New York; as a cook at the Rainbow Room at 30 Rockefeller Center in the Midtown neighborhood of Manhattan; and as a worker in factories that manufactured slips and zippers in New York. She was a member of an unspecified union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union).

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Karen Kearns on November 11 and December 1, 1975. The location is likely Ollie Stackhouse's home. The volume fluctuates and sometimes cuts out before resuming after a few seconds. This interview covers Stackhouse's childhood in Rippon, West Virginia; her migrations to Maryland, New Jersey, and New York; and her work as a domestic employee, cook, and factory worker. Stackhouse begins by describing her childhood in Rippon, West Virginia, noting that she had a tight-knit, self-sufficient family. She explains that the black community accounted for half of the population in Rippon and notes that race relations were relatively cordial despite segregation in the town. She discusses the history of parts of her family; descriptions of where each of her sisters settled; her family's domestic work for and relationship with the Long family in Rippon; and religious and secular holidays and traditions.

Stackhouse explains that her desire to leave Rippon came from listening to stories many of her sisters and neighbors related about living in various cities, including New York, New York. She describes moving to Baltimore, Maryland and living with her sisters on Madison Avenue near Druid Hill Park. She recalls different families for whom she worked; her cleaning responsibilities; her ability to create her own schedule; and leaving one employer because of her racist attitude. She discusses working in a department store, a job she found better than domestic work because of its health benefits and worker's compensation. She discusses the stigma associated with domestic work; her and her family's living and working conditions during the Great Depression; dating practices in Baltimore during the 1930s and 40s; the way in which she met and married her husband; and the limited job opportunities available to the black population in the 1940s.

Stackhouse explains that she moved to New Jersey after her husband was discharged from the Army after World War II and that she acquired domestic work with a family who brought her to New York, New York in 1945. She describes other industries in which she worked, including as a cook at the Rainbow Room at 30 Rockefeller Center in Manhattan; a packer in a garment factory; and as a saleswoman in Macy's. She notes that she enjoyed these jobs more than domestic work because they had less restrictions and allowed her to meet a wide variety of people. She recalls having to adjust her work schedule after her son was born in 1952, giving up her job at Macy's to take care of him when she was unable find a reputable babysitter. Other topics include her husband's employment as a presser in the garment industry and his work for Con Edison; the ways in which women raised families and navigated discriminatory practices at work; a comparison of life in a city and in the country; a comparison of life in the southern and northern United States (US); the typical sequence of a family's migration from the southern to the northern US; and her frequent visits to her remaining family in West Virginia.


1975 November 11 and December 1
Box: 57 Reel : 188a - 188e (Master reel [31142054874972])
Box: 58 Reel : 188f - 188i (Master reel [31142054874980])
Box: Missing Stanley, Mary Belle: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Mary Belle Stanley was born Hyde County, North Carolina. Her mother died when she was young, and she was raised by her maternal grandmother. She attended school in North Carolina up to the fourth grade. She migrated to Norfolk, Virginia; Montclair, New Jersey; and later to Brooklyn, New York, where she lived on Gates Avenue for 40 years. She married and had two children. She worked in domestic service, and her husband worked as a longshoreman.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Mary B. Alexander at the Kingsbridge Heights Nursing Home in the Bronx, New York. The date is unknown. The audio recording for this interview is missing. Topics of this interview include Mary Belle Stanley's childhood in Hyde County, North Carolina; time spent with her aunt in Norfolk, Virginia; her migration to Montclair, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York; her work in domestic service; her husband; her leisure and religious activities; and her children.

Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 107 Stanley, Mary Belle: Index
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 37a-b, 38 (Access cassette) Stein, Yetta: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Yetta Stein was born in Nadvirna in the Polish region of Austria-Hungary in the late 19th century. She moved to Vienna during World War I. She married in 1921 and had one daughter. She and her daughter immigrated to the United States in 1938, with her husband following a year later. In 1939, the family moved to St. Louis, Missouri. Stein and her daughter moved to New York, New York in 1945. Stein was a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Karen Kearns on March 25, 1972 at Yetta Stein's apartment in Manhattan, New York. The interview covers Yetta Stein's early life in Vienna, Austria-Hungary; her immigration to the United States (US); her marriage; her working life; and her union activity. Stein recounts the rape and pillage by Russian troops in Nadvirna in the Polish region of Austria-Hungary during World War I and the fact that this led her family to flee to Vienna. She describes her life in Vienna as happy but constrained by latent anti-Semitism; the fact that she had many friends who were not Jewish; and her surprise at their overt anti-Semitism once Germany annexed Austria in 1938. She recounts that some of her Jewish friends and family became Austrian citizens, but that she and her husband could not afford to do so, and that this saved their lives as the Nazis had no authority over Polish citizens at that time. She recounts deciding to immigrate to the US in 1938 with her daughter; her husband staying in Vienna as he had no family in the US to sponsor his immigration; and the year her husband spent alone in Vienna destroying his mental health.

Stein describes a happy life in the US and attributes it to the freedom accorded to all Americans. She explains that she was advised by the National Council of Jewish Women to move to St. Louis, Missouri so that she and her husband could learn trades without having to be members of a union. She describes their apartment in St. Louis and how happy she was there. She recalls that she and her husband both joined the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) in St. Louis. She recalls that the ILGWU helped her find work in a factory in New York City, where she worked for the next 22 years. She describes how much she enjoyed working in the factory; that she liked both the work and her co-workers; and that she made many friends there, both Jewish and West Indian. She describes how important working outside the home was for the women at the factory and the pride they took in their work. She explains the different jobs in the factory; how they were divided between men and women; and the different pay schedules across these jobs.

World War, 1914-1918 |z Poland |v Personal narratives.


1972 March 25
Box: 59 Reel : 191a - 191d (Master reel [31142054874998])
Box: 1 Folder : 80 Stein, Yetta: Transcript and Index
1973 March 25
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 39 (Access cassette) Sunderman, [Unknown]: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Mrs. Sunderman was born in Frankfurt, Germany in the late 19th century. Her parents owned a hosiery store. She married and had one daughter. Her husband died in 1938 and she immigrated to the United States (US) two years later. In the US she worked as a housekeeper, companion, and seamstress. She was a member of the Workshop Council of the United Council for Jewish Women.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Karin Young on April 24, 1973. The location is likely the Council Workshop for Senior Citizens in Manhattan, New York. The first name of the narrator is not stated. The interview covers Mrs. Sunderman's life in Germany, her immigration to the United States (US), her family, and her life at the time of the interview. Sunderman recalls her early life in Frankfurt, Germany, including her education. She recounts that both of her parents worked in the family's hosiery store and that their leisure time was spent with other members of the family. She describes her life in Frankfurt before and during World War I. She recounts her decision to send her daughter to the US in 1936 after it became clear there was no future for Jews in Germany. She recalls her immigration to the US in 1940; how free she felt upon her arrival in New York, New York despite how hard she had to work; and that she was glad to have her daughter, other family, and friends nearby. She discusses her life at the time of the interview, including continuing to work as a seamstress at the age of 93.

See also: Council Workshop for Senior Citizens II; and Life Before Immigration or Migration.

World War, 1939-1945 |z Germany |v Personal narratives.
World War, 1914-1918 |z Germany |v Personal narratives.


1973 April 24
Box: 60 Reel : 192a - 192b (Master reel [31142054875003])
Box: 1 Folder : 81 Sunderman, [Unknown]: Transcript and Summary
1973 April 24
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 227, 227a-b (Access cassette) Sutton, Kathleen: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Kathleen Sutton was born in Limerick, Ireland in 1900. She immigrated to the United States (US) through Ellis Island, New York in 1912. Sutton worked making paper flowers and as a packer for the department stores Macy's and B. Altman and Company. She married in 1925, and was involved in union activity and politics through her husband.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted on April 22 and May 9, 1974 by Scott Weir at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center in Manhattan, New York. Topics include Kathleen Sutton's childhood in Ireland; her family's immigration to the United States (US); her early life and work experiences in New York, New York; leisure activities and social organizations in which she participated; her marriage and family; her experiences during Prohibition and the Great Depression; and her views on religion and politics. Sutton discusses her childhood in Limerick, Ireland, including the fact that her family was very poor; her father's employment on the docks in Limerick; and her education. She recalls her immigration to the US, including departing from Queenstown, Ireland on the SS Majestic; traveling with her sister and her nephew; and having difficulty obtaining citizenship in the US due to a discrepancy in her name on the ship's manifest. She recalls her early experiences in New York, including feeling lonely and homesick for the first year; being teased due to her accent; being confused about how to use money; interacting with people of different races for the first time; and finding that a majority of the people she met were nice to her because she was from Ireland.

Sutton discusses her work experience, including her first job making paper flowers; her employment as a packer at both Macy's and B. Altman and Company; her promotion to the mail order department of B. Altman and Company and her dislike of the job due to the lack of socializing; and her limited employment as a telephone operator after her marriage and her dislike of working overnight. She discusses leisure activities in which she participated, including seeing movies and Broadway shows before her marriage; having picnics at Fort George in Manhattan; attending soccer games; and taking walks with her husband every night. She recalls her involvement with the Friends of Irish Freedom, including collecting money to support the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland; attending dances sponsored by the organization; feeling obligated to join because she was Irish; and continuing to support the movement towards a unified Ireland even though the organization no longer existed at the time of the interview.

Sutton discusses her husband and his life, including his work as an electrician; his political views; and his involvement in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3. She discusses their children and grandchildren, including their two daughters and their personalities and the participation of one of their grandsons in the civil rights movement.

Sutton discusses her experiences during Prohibition and the Great Depression, including distilling moonshine at a bungalow on Staten Island; obtaining alcohol through a friend who owned a speakeasy; rationing meat and sugar; and learning to use Oleo because of the difficulty obtaining real butter. She discusses religion, including the fact that a majority of her neighbors in the US were Catholic; that priests were seen as infallible; and that she was unlike the rest of her community in that she was not religious. She discusses her dislike of the British because of their treatment of the Irish and the fact that much of her family in Ireland supported the Germans during World War II because they provided weapons to the Irish during the Easter Rising. She recalls her husband's involvement in local politics; her association with many local politicians, including Fiorello La Guardia; and her belief that Irish politicians were trustworthy, while other politicians were only concerned with votes.

See also: Immigration, Migration, and First Impressions of New York, New York and the United States; Passage; and Politics.

Depressions |y 1929 |z New York (State) |z New York.
Prohibition |z New York (State) |z New York
Department stores |x Employees |z New York (State) |z New York.


1974 April 22 and May 9
Box: 60 Reel : 193a - 193c (Master reel [31142054875003])
Box: 61 Reel : 193d - 193f (Master reel [31142054875011])
Box: 1 Folder : 82 Sutton, Kathleen: Summary
1974 April 22 and May 9
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 133a-b (Access cassette) Tamovitz, Israel

Biographical Note

Israel Tamovitz was born Vilna, Russia. He was one of six children and had two brothers and three sisters. His father worked for a freight station in Vilna while his mother stayed home and cared for the children. Tamowitz immigrated to the United States (US) in 1910 in order to avoid being drafted into the Russian Army. He paid an agent to smuggle him out of Russia and traveled to the US, arriving at Ellis Island, New York. He settled in Pennsylvania with his brother. He worked as a salesman both in Russia and in the US. While in Russia, he was an active member of the General Jewish Labour Bund of Lithuania, Poland, and Russia.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Francis Facciolo on March 24, 1975 at an unknown location. This interview covers Israel Tamovitz's life in Vilna, Russia; his involvement in the General Jewish Labour Bund of Lithuania, Poland, and Russia; his immigration to the United States (US) in 1910; and some of his life in Pennsylvania. Tamovitz begins by explaining his involvement in the Bund, noting that he learned about the organization through word of mouth; began attending meetings held in the woods; and keeping his coworkers informed about demonstrations and proclamations against the czar. He discusses the relationships among factions within and outside of the organization; the relationship between the people and the police; Tamovitz's arrest; and his brother's involvement in the Bund.

Tamovitz recalls that his initial impression of the US was that of a beautiful, free country in which every person could go where he wanted and stay informed of government policies. He describes the development of an unspecified miners' union in the Pennsylvania town where he settled; the impact John Mitchell and the miners' unions had on working conditions; and the decline of mining, which forced workers into other industrial occupations and trades. Other topics include his brother's immigration to the US and the fate of members of his family that remained in Vilna during World War I and World War II.

Coal miners |x Labor unions |z United States.
Allgemeyner Idisher arbayṭerbund in Liṭa, Poylen un Rusland


1975 March 24
Box: 61 Reel : 194a - 194b (Master reel [31142054875011])
Box: No Master Tannenbaum, Rose: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Rose Tannenbaum was born in 1896 in the Lithuanian region of the Russian Empire. Her grandfather was a lumber merchant. She immigrated to the United States when she was 16 years old. She lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and New York, New York. She married and had one son. She worked in a wholesale sweater business and belonged to B'nai B'rith International.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Victor Scheluchin on April 30, 1973 at the Council Workshop for Senior Citizens on 125th Street in Manhattan, New York. The interview covers Rose Tannenbaum's family and her working life in the United States (US).

Tannenbaum recounts her reasons for immigrating to the US, including an impending pogrom in her town and general anti-Semitism in the Russian Empire. She recounts immigrating to the US with two of her brothers; her mother and her remaining siblings immigrating to Austria; and her father and grandfather remaining in Lithuania. She recounts settling in Lancaster, Pennsylvania upon her arrival in the US; moving to Philadelphia; working in a five-and-ten; and meeting and marrying her husband. She discusses moving to New York, New York with her husband; his work as a music salesman; and her enjoyment of her work in a wholesale sweater business. Other topics include the deaths of her family in Austria and Israel during World War II (WWII); her travels to Europe before WWII to visit her family; and her attendance at Brooklyn College to study Hebrew and an unidentified school on 14th Street in Manhattan to study Russian.

See also: Council Workshop for Senior Citizens III.


1973 April 30
Box: 1 Folder : 83 Tannenbaum, Rose: Summary
1973 April 30
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 173 (Access cassette) Taranto, Raphael

Biographical Note

Raphael Taranto was born near Sicily, Italy in 1890. He had six sisters and four brothers. He first immigrated to the United States (US) in 1908 and stayed with his brother and uncle but returned to Italy in 1911 to serve in the Italian Army. He married his wife while in Italy and returned to the US in 1918. He worked as a longshoreman and was a member of the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1814. His wife worked in the garment industry and was a member of an unspecified union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union).

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by John Jentz on March 24, 1975 at the Carroll Gardens Senior Center at 380 Court Street in Brooklyn, New York. A second interviewer, identified as Frank, joins the interview after 20 minutes. Raphael Taranto speaks predominantly in Italian and is assisted by a translator, John Laccari. The volume of this recording fluctuates.

This interview covers Raphael Taranto's immigration to the United States (US) in 1908; his return to Italy to serve in the Italian Army between 1911 and 1918; and his work as a longshoreman in the US. Taranto begins by describing the reasons he immigrated to the US, explaining that he believed that he could have a better life there. He discusses working as a longshoreman in Brooklyn, New York until 1955 and joining Local 1814 of the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA). Other topics include the development of Local 1814 and the ILA; segregation and discrimination among different immigrant groups; and a comparison of living conditions in New York City in the past and at the time of the interview.

International Longshoremen's Association. Local 1814 (New York, N.Y.)


1975 March 24
Box: 62 Reel : 196a (Master reel [31142054875029])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 152 (Access cassette) Terranova, Benny: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Benny Terranova was born in 1912 in Brooklyn, New York and was one of eleven children. His parents were born in Sicily, Italy. His father owned a bakery in Brooklyn. Terranova graduated from Public School 103 and attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan for a year and a half before leaving school to work with his father. He worked as a baker and as a longshoreman. He was a member of an unspecified Italian bakers' union and the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA). He was an official and president of an unspecified local (likely Local 1814) of the ILA. He married in 1940.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Joan Granucci and Martin Lesser. The date and location are unknown. The interview covers Benny Terranova's childhood, his family, his working life, and his union activity. Terranova discusses his childhood; his education; his father's insistence that he leave school at age 14 to help in the bakery; and his father's indulgence of his children. He discusses becoming interested in organizing his father's bakery as a member of an unspecified Italian bakers' union; working to organize other local bakeries; and becoming disillusioned with the industry. He recounts his decision to become a longshoreman; his first jobs as a longshoreman; and unsafe conditions on the waterfront. He recounts alternating between working on the waterfront and in the bakery for four years before switching to working as a longshoreman full time after seeing the work of the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) to improve working conditions. He discusses the frequent strikes organized by the ILA and how these led to steady increases in wages in the 1940s and early 1950s. He describes the different jobs he held on the waterfront and his rise through the ranks, from working in the holds of the ships to being a superintendent working in an office. He discusses officials of the ILA, in particular Anthony Anastasio and Joseph Ryan. He describes the ethnic and racial demographics of the longshoremen in New York; the organization of ILA locals along racial and ethnic lines; and difficulties in organizing different racial and ethnic groups into one local. He discusses the issues he felt were most important for longshoremen at the time of interview, including health and safety and improvement of pensions.

An electronic transcript of this interview is available by request.


1973 April 12
Box: 62 Reel : 198a - 198b (Master reel [31142054875029])
Box: 1 Folder : 84 Terranova, Benny: Subject Cards
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 207, 207a (Access cassette) Thompson, Lizziemae

Biographical Note

Lizziemae Thompson was born in Wilson, North Carolina in 1928. She was one of eight children. Her father worked at R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and her mother managed the household. She graduated high school in 1947 and attended Pfeiffer State Teacher's College in Misenheimer, North Carolina for one year on a scholarship. She married in 1947 and had two children. She migrated to New York, New York in 1949 and lived on both 121st and 122nd Streets between 7th and 8th Avenues in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan. She worked as a substitute teacher at Public School 68 and another unnamed school in New York City. In 1959, she began working as a dietitian at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx. She was an active member of Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union and was elected shop steward from 1960 to 1967.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Nina Cobb at Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union on Novemeber 12, 1975. Other people can be heard conversing in the background. This interview covers Lizziemae Thompson's childhood in Wilson, North Carolina; her migration to New York, New York; her work in Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx; and her involvement in Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union. Thompson begins the interview by describing her childhood in Wilson, including her grandmother's plantation and the education and occupations that her siblings pursued. She explains that she worked as a children's caretaker for multiple summers, noting that the family she worked for would go to Montauk, New York in order to visit the children's father, who was in the Navy. She notes that these visits inspired her love for New York and prompted her to move to the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan with her husband and children in 1949. Thompson briefly describes working as a substitute teacher for Public School 68 in the Bronx, New York and another unnamed school but notes that she went to work at Montefiore Hospital in 1959 in order to acquire better wages and more stable work.

The rest of the interview focuses on Thompson's experience at Montefiore Hospital and her involvement in Local 1199. She details her work in the dietary department managing and serving patients' meals. She emphasizes the different ways in which men and women were treated on the job; discusses tensions between the medical and support staff; and these tensions leading to difficulties in union organization. Thompson describes the environment at Montefiore, noting the hierarchy of hospital employees; the issues and hazards of working with the hospital food trucks; the tight-knit community formed in the dietary department; and the ways her department's delegates aided other hospital departments. She emphasizes the relationship between the union and the hospital, including reception of the union in various departments within the hospital; the impact the union and strikes had on working conditions and hours in the hospital; strikes in 1958 and 1959, and the community's support for the union; the active involvement of black and Puerto Rican members in the union; and important members of Local 1199, in particular Teddy Mitchell and Leon Davis.

Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union (New York, N.Y.)


1975 November 12
Box: 63 Reel : 199a - 199c (Master reel [31142054875037])
Box: 63 Reel : 200a - 200b Thompson, William

Biographical Note

William Thompson was born in Florida. He joined the Army during World War I and was stationed in France, where he unloaded ships and guarded prisoners of war. He worked in a drugstore in Boston, Massachusetts after the war and migrated to New York, New York on September 3, 1923, where he worked unloading goods from ships. He worked on a freight train and as a railroad porter with the Pullman Palace Car Company. He was a member of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and the American Legion. At the time of the interview, he volunteered with the American Red Cross and other unspecified non-profit organizations.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Shirley Stow on April 1, 1974 at an unknown location. This interview covers William Thompson's childhood in Florida; his experience in the Army during World War I; his migration to New York, New York; his work as a porter for the Pullman Palace Car Company; and his volunteer work at the time of the interview. Thompson begins with a summary of his childhood in Florida, including living with his aunt after his mother died; picking beans on his aunt's farm; playing baseball, swimming, and fishing during his leisure time; and going to church and Sunday school. He recalls acquiring a job on a freight train when he was 17 years old and being drafted into the Army during World War I. He explains that although his particular battalion did not experience racial discrimination, black soldiers in other regiments reported such treatment. He recounts being discharged from the Army in 1919 and settling in Boston, noting few black residents in the area. He describes migrating to New York, New York on September 3, 1923 and finding work unloading goods from ships for two years.

Thompson describes his work as a porter for the Pullman Palace Car Company, including traveling throughout much of the United States and parts of Canada and Mexico; making beds and cleaning rooms; the seniority basis for rail assignments; his membership in the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; a train engineers' strike near Kansas City, Kansas that halted a train in the middle of its journey; the way in which the Pullman Company attempted to replace the porters with Filipino immigrants; and the state of the railroad after the development of transportation alternatives. He concludes by recounting his volunteer activities at the time of the interview for the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross.

Porters |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.


1974 April 1
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 215, 215a (Access cassette) Torres, Tony

Biographical Note

Tony Torres was born in Gurabo, Puerto Rico and had one brother, who became a clergyman. They migrated to New York, New York with their mother in 1918. His brother traveled to Lewiston, Maine and his mother died in an influenza epidemic shortly after their arrival. Torres was placed in various orphanages managed by the Archdiocese of New York including in Kingsbridge, Tarrytown, and Mount Loretto in Staten Island. He attended school in these orphanages through ninth grade, left the orphanage when he was 17 years old, and moved to the Eastern Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan. He worked in haberdasheries and in a bakery. He was a member of an unspecified bakers' union (likely the Journeymen Bakers Union of New York).

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Jimmy Torres on May 9 and 13, 1974 at an unknown location. This interview covers Tony Torres' migration from Puerto Rico to New York, New York, and his work in haberdasheries and a bakery. Torres mentions that he, his mother, and his brother migrated to the New York, New York in 1918 in search of better economic opportunities. He describes being sent to a series of orphanages after his mother died during the influenza epidemic in 1918. He notes that while he did learn English in the orphanages, he also lost his native Spanish while living there and mentions that the orphans tended to stick together regardless of their nationality. Torres explains that he worked various odd jobs until he found stable work in a haberdashery, emphasizing how specific trades were usually associated with specific social networks or ethnic groups. He describes getting a job at a bakery through the newspaper; joining an unspecified bakers' union (likely the Journeymen Bakers Union of New York); being elected shop steward; and enduring a seven month strike for better wages and work hours. He notes that, at the time of the strike, the union was composed of mostly independent locals that kept to themselves whereas, at the time of interview, the locals presented a more united front within the industry.

Torres explains that Puerto Ricans who migrated to New York remained mostly in tight-knit groups; migrants emphasized the importance of tradition, especially the retention of the Spanish language; and that their children integrated with other ethnic groups, diluting some of the strong Puerto Rican traditions. He notes the lack of organization and leadership in the Puerto Rican population, which he believes contributed to their lack of a political presence, particularly in New York City. Other topics include the relationships between different immigrant populations where he lived and worked; New York City politics, predominantly focusing on Fiorello La Guardia and Vito Marcantonio; the surge in Puerto Rican migration to the United States in the 1940s; Puerto Rican involvement in politics; the development of labor unions, with emphasis on the inclusion of immigrant and minority groups; the mechanization of bakery work and its impact on bakers; his leisure time activities; and a comparison between the importance of religion to his generation of Puerto Ricans and younger generations.

See also: Ethnicity; Family; Leisure; Politics; and Unionization.

Puerto Ricans |x Cultural assimilation |z New York (State) |z New York.


1974 May 9 and 13
Box: 64 Reel : 202a - 202d (Master reel [31142054875045])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 164 (Access cassette) Tossio, Primo: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Primo Tossio was born in Rome, Italy and was the oldest of eight children. His father was a longshoreman. Tossio attended four years of school before joining the workforce, selling newspapers and shoveling coal for ships. He immigrated to the United States in 1926 when he was 16 years old. He worked as a longshoreman and was a member and superintendent of an unspecified union (likely the International Longshoremen's Association).

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Howard Harris at the West End Italian Club in Manhattan, New York on April 8, 1975. This interview covers Primo Tossio's childhood in Rome, Italy; his immigration to the United States (US) in 1926; and his work as a longshoreman in New York, New York. Tossio describes his childhood in Italy, noting that his education was cut short when his father fell ill and he had to work in order to support his family. He recounts immigrating to the US illegally in January 1926; arriving in Baltimore, Maryland; and being assisted by local Italians on his way to New York. He describes his job as a longshoreman; his work in both Brooklyn and Staten Island; and the difficulty of loading ships due to the organizational work that accompanied it. He recounts joining an unspecified union (likely the International Longshoremen's Association); gaining a greater sense of job security; moving into management positions including hatch foreman and superintendent; and sending most of his salary to his family in Italy. Tossio focuses on the relationship between the workers and the stevedore, noting that the stevedore was paid more money. He explains that the stevedore would not hesitate to fire someone whom he felt was not working hard enough and that he maintained a small group of favored workers whom he consistently employed.

An electronic transcript of this interview is available by request.


1975 April 8
Box: 101
Box: 62 Reel : 197a - 197b (Master reel [31142054875029])
Box: 1 Folder : 85 Tossio, Primo: Subject Cards
1975 April 8
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 247, 247a-b, 248, 248a (Access cassette) Unger, Margareta

Biographical Note

Margareta Unger was born in Austria. Her mother died when she was one and a half years old and her father died five years later. She was raised by her stepmother before being sent to various relatives, one of whom abused her, which prompted one her teachers to gain custody of her. She attended school in Vienna as well as other schools in northern Austria. She married Rudolph Unger in 1912 when she was 15 years old. They immigrated to the United States on December 24, 1920, staying with her brother-in-law before getting their own apartment on 65th Street and 1st Avenue in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. She worked as a domestic worker; as a worker in a perfume factory, as the chef, manager, and owner of Viennese restaurants in both New Hampshire and New York; and as a pattern maker and department head at McCall's.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Scott Weir at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center in Manhattan, New York on April 23 and May 8, 1974. This interview covers Margareta Unger's childhood in Austria; her immigration to the United States (US) in 1920; and her life and work in the US up to the time of the interview. Unger begins by describing her childhood in Austria; her father's remarriage after her mother's death; his death, which left Unger with her stepmother, who was soon unable to care for her; and her movement among a series of relatives, one of whom physically abused her. She describes returning to Vienna to attend high school; meeting her husband in a coffeehouse; and emphasizing her stepmother's disapproval in the difference in their ages. She recalls renouncing her religion for her husband and enduring a protracted court battle to sever her stepmother's guardianship over her. She explains that her husband's wealth was seized by the state as funds for World War I (WWI); her poverty during WWI; her immigration to Russia in 1917 after her husband was drafted into the Austrian Army and stationed there; and their illegal immigration back to Austria in order to avoid the Russian Revolution.

Unger explains that many of her husband's siblings already lived in the US and that one brother returned to Austria to bring them back to the US. She recalls being frightened by the amount of brick houses in the US, thinking that these buildings were all jails, and living in a house with steam heat, a luxury reserved for the rich in Austria. She notes that she was able to acclimate more easily to the US than her husband; quickly finding work as a domestic worker; renting a hotel in New Hampshire during one summer so that she could set up her own Viennese restaurant; struggling to find consistent employment; and teaching her husband English so he could become a chauffeur. She recalls visiting her brothers-in-law in Brodhead, Wisconsin and Rockford, Illinois in 1934 and 1935 and her husband encouraging her to help them grow their business. Unger discusses opening another restaurant on 280 Greenwich Street in Lower Manhattan, where she worked as the chef and manager while her husband worked the cash register and washed the dishes. She recalls food shortages during World War II forcing them to close; finding work as a pattern-maker and later department head at McCall's; working with the pantograph machine; and disguising patterns sent to England so the company could avoid taxes. Other topics include her interactions with the local authorities and the mafia in New York City; her trips to Austria and other European countries; her husband's illnesses and death; her health; and her volunteer activities after her retirement.

See also: Life Before Immigration or Migration; Immigration, Migration, and First Impressions of New York, New York and the United States; and Politics.


1974 April 23 and May 8
Box: 64 Reel : 203a (Master reel [31142054875045])
Box: 65 Reel : 203b - 203f (Master reel [31142054875052])
Box: 66 Reel : 203g - 203h (Master reel [31142054875060])
: Access Cassettes Folder : 36 (Access cassette) Unidentified African-American man

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Eric Perkins on May 21, 1973. The narrator and location of this interview are unknown. The narrator of this interview does not provide any information about himself. This interview covers the reasons for black migration within the United States (US); the history of black sociopolitical movements; and the living and social conditions of black populations in northern cities in the US. The narrator describes reasons black families would migrate from the southern US to the north, including a boll weevil infestation that severely damaged the cotton crop during the 1920s; the repression of minorities in the south; better education opportunities in the north; positive accounts from relatives; the economic opportunities created by the decreased immigration from Europe during World War I; and the idealistic mythology surrounding the north. He recounts the ways in which racial segregation in the south gave rise to a black middle class that worked toward fulfilling the needs of the black community. He elaborates on different sociopolitical movements that occurred between the Civil War and the time of the interview, noting that each of these developments assigned importance to different aspects of black life. He discusses Garveyism, the Tuskegee movement, the Niagara movement, and the development of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Topics relating to these movements include the liberation of black people; the immigrationist movements; the development of the foundation of a strong black economy; and the legal struggles for social and political equality. The narrator focuses on the logistics of the typical migration, including how a single family member, usually a young man, would establish the living and financial situation before the rest of the family moved. He explains that black families typically settled in what he referred to as the black belts of the city, crowded areas with poor living conditions that were eventually alleviated by public housing projects. Other topics include the exclusionary tendencies of labor unions, which led to black employees developing their own unions, especially for unskilled labor; the differences between the older and younger generations' forms of leisure and entertainment, and the differences between white and black families with the extended family playing a much larger role in black families.

See also: Interview Compilation for Radio Broadcast.


1973 May 21
Box: 101
Box: 58 Reel : 190a (Master reel [31142054874980])
Box: 59 Reel : 190b (Master reel [31142054874998])
Box: No Master Unidentified Italian-American woman

Biographical Note

The narrator is not identified by name. She was born 1897 in a predominantly Italian neighborhood in the Bronx, New York, on 149th Street between Courtlandt and Morris Avenues. She had one brother and two sisters. Both of her parents emigrated from Italy. Her mother was born in Salerno. Her father owned a bricklaying business and a number of apartment buildings in the Bronx.

The narrator's husband was a stonemason. They married in 1915 and had four children. They lived on 155th Street, between Elton and Melrose Avenues. Between 1950 and 1971, she worked as a machine operator in a garment factory, in which she served as chairlady for the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Local 23-25. Her husband was a member of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North America, also known as the Shriners.

Scope and Content Note

The location of the interview and the names of the narrator and interviewer are unknown. The interview was conducted in 1973. It covers the narrator's childhood and early life in the Bronx, New York; her family; and her working life. She explains that her father owned a bricklaying business; that he worked primarily in building apartment buildings; and that the business was run out of their house. She recounts assisting her father with the payroll and learning how to read architectural plans with him. She recounts attending Bird's Business Institute in the Bronx in order to assist her brother with the management of the business after the death of their father. She explains that she assisted her husband in the management of his masonry business after their marriage.

The narrator recounts working as a machine operator in a garment factory for 21 years and serving as the chairlady in that shop for the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Local 23-25. She explains role of the chairlady in working with the supervisor to set prices for each garment and settling arguments between the union and management in regards to prices.

Other topics include her mother's immigration to the US; her children, their occupations, and their families; the ethnic demographics of different neighborhoods in the Bronx in which she lived; her sons' military service during World War II; and a trip to Italy in 1939.

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 23-25 (New York, N.Y.)


1973
Box: 33 Reel : 148 Unidentified man

Biographical Note

The name of the narrator is unknown. He was a member of the Permanent Administrative Committee (PAC) of Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Karen Kearns. The name of the interviewee, as well as the date and location of the interview are unknown. The narrator discusses the creation of the Permanent Administrative Committee (PAC) for Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union; the PAC's mission to establish rights for hospital employees; and the representation problems arising from conflicting interests between community hospitals and research and teaching hospitals.


Undated
Box: 100 Cassette : 345 Unidentified Russian man, Rose Gelberg, and Hersh Rabinowitz

Biographical Note

There are three separate interviews included. First is an unidentified Russian man, second is Rose Gelberg, and third is Hersh Rabinowitz.

Unidentified Russian Man:

The name of the narrator is unknown. He was born in Vilna, Russia in 1897. He immigrated to the United States (US) in 1914, where he lived with his father and two of his brothers on Henry Street in Manhattan, New York. He worked in the garment industry, and in a hotel during the summers. While in the garment industry, the narrator was involved with the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) 1916 dressmakers' strike. He was also involved with the Workmen's Circle, the Educational Alliance, and the Socialist Party of America

Rose Gelberg:

Rose Gelberg was born in Warsaw, in the Polish region of Russia in the early 20th century. Gelberg, her husband, and their child immigrated to Toronto, Canada and then to the United States (US) in 1926. After their immigration, her husband became a Yiddish teacher. Gelberg was a member of the Workmen's Circle, the Educational Alliance, and the Socialist Party of America.

Hersh Rabinowitz:

Hersh Rabinowitz was born in the Ukraine region of Russia. He immigrated to Palestine in 1920 and then to the United States (US) in 1923. In Russia, he attended an unspecified polytechnic institute. In Palestine, he was employed as a metal worker and was a member of an unspecified metal workers union.

Scope and Content Note

There are three separate interviews included. An unidentified Russian man discusses his expectations of New York, New York; his employment in both the garment and hotel industries; his political view, and his involvement with social organizations. Rose Gelberg discusses her changing view of the Socialist Party of America; her thoughts about the Workmen's Circle and Educational Alliance, and their importance to the Jewish community of which she was a part; and the difference between her beliefs about Judaism and those of her children. Hersh Rabinowitz discusses leaving Palestine because he was unsuccessful in joining the political movement to build Palestine and was not interested in building the physical infrastructure, and his interview is continued under Rabinowitz, Hersh.

Unidentified Russian Man:

The interviewer, narrator, location, and date of this interview are unknown. The main topics discussed include the narrator's expectations of New York, New York in comparison to the reality he experienced; his employment in both the garment and hotel industries; his political views; and his involvement with social organizations. The narrator recalls expecting New York to be technologically advanced and prosperous; feeling disappointed when he realized that he would continue to be poor; and believing that he was lied to in regards to the economic situation of immigrants in the United States (US). He discusses his employment in the garment and hotel industries, including being taught by his cousin how to sew on an electric sewing machine; not receiving compensation for the first three weeks of his employment; and working as a driver for an unnamed hotel during the summer months. He recalls the 1916 dressmakers' strike and his membership in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

The narrator discusses his political views, including joining the Socialist Party of America; voting in every election after his naturalization; and feeling that his step-children were registered as Democrats rather than Socialists due to the way they were educated. He recalls his involvement with social rather than political organizations; joining the Workmen's Circle for economic benefits and social reasons; attending lectures and concerts through the Educational Alliance; and the fact that his children were involved with the Young Circle League of America.

Rose Gelberg:

The interviewer, location, and date of this interview are unknown. The main topics include Rose Gelberg's changing view of the Socialist Party of America; her thoughts about the Workmen's Circle and Educational Alliance, and their importance to the Jewish community of which she was a part; and the difference between her beliefs about Judaism and those of her children. Gelberg discusses her Socialist tendencies, including being introduced to Socialism through the Allgemeyner Idisher arbayṭerbund in Liṭa, Poylen un Rusland in Russia; joining the Socialist Party of America after her immigration to the United States (US); feeling differently about Socialism at the time of the interview, but continuing to consider herself a Socialist; and believing that the Socialist party went through too many phases, which is why it did not survive. She discusses her thoughts on important members of the Socialist Party, including Morris Hillquit, Meyer London, and Norman Thomas.

Gelberg discusses the Workmen's Circle, including it being the only place where Jewish children were able to learn Yiddish outside the home; her opinion that it was more of a politica than social organization; and the fact that she sent her children there to learn Yiddish. She recalls the Educational Alliance, including its goal to help immigrants assimilate into American society; its emphasis on learning the basics of the English language; and its focus on culture rather than politics. She recounts seeing the best Socialist speakers there. She discusses her children considering themselves nationalistic Jews while she and her husband considered themselves more cultural Jews; her children practicing Judaism only on major holidays; and believing that they stopped speaking Yiddish because it was a part of a culture in which they had not grown up.

Hersh Rabinowitz:

Hersh Rabinowitz discusses leaving Palestine because he was unsuccessful in joining the political movement to build Palestine and was not interested in building the physical infrastructure. He explains that he had emigrated from Russia because he wanted to continue his education and had been led to believe that there was a polytechnic institute in Haifa. He recounts his disappointment in being misled about the institute upon his arrival in Palestine; finding work in the metalworking industry; and becoming the secretary of an unspecified metal workers' union.

This interview continues under Rabinowitz, Hersh.

Women socialists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews.
Jews, Polish |z New York (State) |z New York |x Social conditions.
Jewish socialists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews.
Russians |z United States |x Societies.
Yiddish language |x Social aspects |z United States.
Russians |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.
Antisemitism |z Russia |x History |y 20th century.
Socialist parties -- United States.
Strikes and lockouts |x Clothing trade |z New York (State) |z New York.
Russians |z New York (State) |z New York |x Social life and customs.
Jews, Russian |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.
Russians |z New York (State) |z New York |x Economic conditions.
Allgemeyner Idisher arbayṭerbund in Liṭa, Poylen un RuslandEducational Alliance (New York, N.Y.)Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring


Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 240 (Access cassette) Unionization

Scope and Content Note

This recording contains excerpts of several interviews, all of which focus on discussions of labor unions in New York, New York. The volume and sound quality of this recording fluctuates between excerpts. These excerpts cover the effect the Wagner Act had on unionization and strikes; types of union leadership positions; the impact of technology on certain industries; methods employers used to circumvent union workers' demands and prevent non-union workers from joining the union; methods that union workers used to disrupt strikebreakers; and a comparison of unions in the past and at the time of the interviews. The interviews cover the way in which different groups participated in and interacted with the union. The narrators discuss different aspects of strikes including their successes and failures; the types of conditions that prompted strikes; and the impacts strikes had on working conditions.

See also: Burke, William; Cappeletti, Caroline Lavecchia; Magliacano, Joseph; Savio, Joseph; Torres, Tony; and Ward, Katherine.


Undated
Box: 66 Reel : 204a - 204b (Master reel [31142054875060])
Box: 101 Uttaro, Antonio

Biographical Note

Antonio Uttaro was born in Italy. His father was a business owner. Uttaro immigrated to the United States on the Giuseppe Verdi when he was 18 years old. He worked predominantly in the garment industry sewing piecework and was an active member of both the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union Local 89 and the Industrial Workers of the World. Over the course of his life, he went from being an anarchist to being a Socialist before largely removing himself from politics after he retired.

Scope and Content Note

The interviewer, date, and location this interview are unknown. Antonio Uttaro and the interviewer occasionally speak in Italian. This interview covers Uttaro's childhood in Italy; his immigration to the United States (US); and his life in Boston, Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and New York, New York up to the time of the interview. Uttaro describes his childhood and young adult life as being influenced by liberal politics, recounting listening to Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta speak in his hometown and how he developed a strong dislike for rules and organization. He describes immigrating to the US as a way to become independent of his family, particularly of his father's strict household rules. He recalls his first moments in the US as frightening, describing how a stranger had to help him locate his cousin in Somerville, Massachusetts after he got off the train in Boston. He recounts his life in Pittsburgh with his sister; his return to Boston; and his dual responsibilities as a presser working in a tailor shop during the day and as a student at night. He describes his work as a presser as being seasonal and having to find various other jobs during the off-season. He recounts marrying his wife in 1924; moving to New York by himself in 1927 to pursue better employment opportunities; and sending for his family a few months later. He notes that he had no desire to become an American citizen until his son became upset about admitting at school that his father was not a citizen, and that doing so ostracized him from some of his Socialist friends. He describes becoming a member of both the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) Local 89 and the Industrial Workers of the World, detailing the growth of the ILGWU despite tension between the Socialists and Communists within the union. Throughout his interview, Uttaro emphasizes the practicality of compromise, noting that even though he was an active member of the union and a Socialist, he tended to criticize his affiliates when he believed they were pursuing their ideals to extremes. He discusses taking part in a program through the union in which he visited older union members who lived alone after he retired at age 65.

Socialists |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.
Industrial Workers of the WorldInternational Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 89 (New York, N.Y.)


Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 162 (Access cassette)
Box: 66 Reel : 205a (Master reel [31142054875060])
Box: 67 Reel : 205b (Master reel [31142054875078])
Box: No Master Vercelino, [Unknown]: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

The first name of the narrator is unknown. Mrs. Vercelino was born in Turin, Italy and immigrated to the United States (US) in 1926. Her father and brother immigrated to the US a few years before. Her father worked in construction and her brother worked for an automobile company. She lived on Christopher Street in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York and in the Bronx. She married and had one daughter. Her husband worked as a salesman for a chain of foreign grocery stores. She worked as a dressmaker until the birth of her daughter.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by John Salerno on April 25, 1973 at the Council Workshop for Senior Citizens on 125th Street in Manhattan, New York. The first name of the narrator is unknown. The interview covers Mrs. Vercelino's immigration to the United States (US); her first impressions of New York, New York; and her views on society at the time of the interview. Vercelino discusses her immigration to the US and her first impressions of New York City. She discusses the quota system imposed by the Immigration Act of 1924 and its impact on her family and other immigrants from Italy. She discusses differences in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s and at the time of the interview, in particular her opinion that most people were not interested in helping others and were concerned with their own well-being.

An electronic transcript of this interview is available by request.


1973 April 25
Box: 1 Folder : 86 Vercelino, [Unknown]: Summary and Subject Cards
1973 April 25
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 41a-b (Access cassette) Vogel, Ella (Ellen): Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Ella (Ellen) Vogel was born in Lithuania in the late 19th century. Her family immigrated to the United States in 1905 and lived in Connellsville, Pennsylvania. Her father was an insurance agent for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. She moved to the Bronx, New York in 1922.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Kathleen Gimblet at the Kingsbridge Heights Nursing Home, Bornx, NY on April 9, 1973. interviewer, location, and date of this interview are unknown. The interview covers Ella (Ellen) Vogel's early life in Lithuania, her family's immigration to the United States (US), and her impressions of New York, New York in the early 20th century. Vogel recounts her early life in Lithuania, including her education at an all girls Hebrew school. She recounts her family's immigration to the US and their life in Connellsville, Pennsylvania. She recalls moving to New York, New York with her mother and brothers in 1922 and working as a cashier at a number of department stores before leaving to care for both of her parents when they became ill. Her memories of life in New York City in the early 20th century include riding the subway, double-decker trolleys, and boats with her friends; and attending the theater.

Department stores |x Employees |z New York (State) |z New York.


1973 April 9
Box: 67 Reel : 207a - 207b (Master reel [31142054875078])
Box: 100 Cassette : 208a - 208b (Master cassette [31142054875409])
Box: 1 Folder : 87 Vogel, Ella (Ellen): Transcript and Summary
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 71a-b (Access cassette) Wachsler, [Unknown Man] and [Unknown Woman]: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

The first names of the narrators are unknown. Mrs. Wachsler was born in 1897 in a small town in Poland. She was one of nine children. The family immigrated to Hungary when Wachsler was seven years old and settled near the Carpathian Mountains. Her father was a merchant, dealing in nuts in Poland and in fruit in Hungary. She immigrated to the United States in 1923 and lived with her brother and his family in the Bronx, New York. She was a member of an unspecified labor union in Hungary.

Mr. Wachsler was a member of the Austro-Hungarian Army, the Hungarian Red Army, and an unspecified Social Democratic party in Hungary.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Zelda Huhnenberg on April 21. The year and location of the interview are unknown, as are the first names of the narrators. The interview covers Mrs. Wachsler's childhood in Poland; Mr. and Mrs. Wachsler's lives in Hungary after World War I; their opinions on the governments of Mihály Károlyi, Béla Kun, and Miklós Horthy; Mrs. Wachsler's brother's immigration to the United States (US) in 1911 and his life there; and Mrs. Wachsler's immigration to the US in 1923.

Mrs. Wachsler describes her childhood in a small town in Poland, including her older siblings' hatred of her because their mother died soon after she was born; her sisters' work as housekeepers and hairdressers; and their education. She discusses her religious upbringing and the fact that the people in her town were Hasidim. She discusses the anti-Semitic laws in Poland that restricted the occupations for Jews and the fact that most Jewish men were salesmen, including her father who traded in fruit and nuts.

Mr. Wachsler discusses his childhood in Hungary; his lack of religious education; and his early jobs in Budapest. He recounts the political situation in Hungary after World War I, in particular the governments of Károlyi and Kun; his service in the Hungarian Red Army, despite his opposition to Communism; his membership in an unspecified Social Democratic party in Hungary; and his time in a concentration camp after the counter-revolution.

The Wachslers discuss the Communist revolution in Hungary, including breadlines, unemployment, ration stamps, and the currency devaluation by the Communist regime. They discuss the counter-revolution, including Horthy's puppet government and the different classes that fought in the counter-revolution. Mrs. Wachsler describes the confusion that people in Budapest felt about the changes in power; their distrust of the press; and their dislike of the Communists. They discuss the Party of Race Defenders within Horthy's government; their anti-Semitic propaganda; their establishment of quotas for Jewish students in schools; and their removal of Jewish professors from the universities. They discuss labor unions in Hungary, including the benefits for members; the fact that workers were automatically enrolled in a union when they worked for a union factory; and the dissolution of the unions under Horthy.


Undated
Box: 67 Reel : 208a - 208b (Master reel [31142054875078])
Box: 101 Cd : ref208a - ref208b (Access cd [31142054875417])
Box: 100 Cassette : ref208 (Master cassette [31142054875409])
Box: 1 Folder : 88 Wachsler, [Unknown Man] and [Unknown Woman]: Transcript and Summary
Undated
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 234, 234a (Access cassette) Wagner, Frank

Biographical Note

Frank Wagner was born in October 1903 on East 87th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. He had three siblings. His mother died when he was three years old. His father immigrated to the United States prior to Wagner's birth and worked as a waiter in Lüchow's Restaurant in Manhattan until he was paralyzed by a stroke at the age of 58. Wagner attended a so-called soup school on 80th Street, Public School 70, and an unspecified high school school in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan until he was 16 years old. He worked as a delivery boy; a track worker for New York Central Railroad; a machinist; and a bedding maker for Louis Cone and Sons at 210 128th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan. He was an active member of the International Association of Machinists Lodge 434 and the Bedding, Curtain and Drapery Workers Union Local 140 of the United Furniture Workers of America, which was brought before the House Un-American Committee in the late 1930s.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Mark Hirsch on March 29, 1973 at Frank Wagner's home in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, New York. This interview covers Frank Wagner's childhood in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan; his work as a delivery boy, machinist, track worker, and bedding maker; and his union activity. Wagner begins by describing his childhood, noting that his mother's sister raised him and his siblings after his mother died. He explains that he lived in a railroad flat on 235 East 80th Street in the Upper East Side and recounts having frugal meals and fighting with other children over broken boxes that were used as fuel for the stove. He notes that he started working at nine years old in various jobs, including newspaper and grocery delivery boy. He discusses he and his siblings' education; his time playing baseball; and the demographics of his neighborhood.

Wagner recounts wanting to follow in his cousin's footsteps as a machinist; his cousin helping him get a job at his company handling work applications and introducing new employees to their departments; working to become an apprentice machinist; and joining the International Association of Machinists (IAM) Lodge 434. He recalls a nine month strike that occurred in 1921 when he finished his apprenticeship, noting that the strike failed due to strikebreakers brought in from England and the IAM declaring the strike unauthorized. He describes working briefly for the New York Central Railroad as a track worker before working in the bedding industry and joining the Bedding, Curtain and Drapery Workers Union Local 140 of the United Furniture Workers of America. He explains his involvement in both the industry and the union by covering topics such as the industry's filthy factory conditions; his participation in strikes in 1932 and 1934; his work in negotiating better pay and more holidays for Local 140's members; his time as an elected union officer in 1945; and his time as unofficial president of the union from 1947 to 1951. Other topics include his activity in politics, specifically in an unspecified Democratic club; his time on the education committee of the IAM; his memories of hiding in local community members' houses in order to avoid the police during the machinists' strike of 1921; his love of playing pool; and his wife, who immigrated to the US from Germany in 1929.

See also: Interview Compilation for Radio Broadcast.

Furniture workers |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.
Machinists |z New York (State) |z New York.
United Furniture Workers of AmericaInternational Association of Machinists


1973 March 29
Box: 68 Reel : 209a - 209c (Master reel [31142054875086])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 216 (Access cassette) Walters, Alma

Biographical Note

Alma Walters was born on February 22, 1903 in Saint Kitts and Nevis. Her father was a merchant seaman who died when she was young. Her mother worked as a maid in Saint Kitts and remarried after immigrating to the US with her employers when Walters was five years old. Walters attended school in Saint Kitts before immigrating to the United States in 1917 when she was 14 years old. She married in 1922 and had five children. She and her husband divorced in the 1930s, and she married her second husband in 1945. She took a course in nursing at Fort Benning, Georgia in 1962. She worked as a children's nurse for a family in Jersey City, New Jersey; as a nurse at Fort Benning, Georgia and in New York, New York; and as a baby nurse at Brooklyn Community Hospital in Brooklyn. She also worked in different factories making lampshades and buttonholes. She was a member of an unspecified union (likely Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union).

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Karen Kearns at Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union on October 24, 1975. This interview covers Walters' childhood in Saint Kitts; her immigration to the US;, her marriages and children; and her working life, predominantly as a nurse in Jersey City, New Jersey; Fort Benning, Georgia; and Brooklyn. Walters begins by briefly describing her childhood in Saint Kitts, noting that she lived with her grandparents, aunt, uncle, and sister; and that her grandfather owned his own land. She discusses her immigration to the US in 1917, including making herself appear older in order to board the ship; enduring the eight day voyage alone; and being unable to eat much. Walters describes settling in Jersey City with her mother and stepfather, who were the superintendents of a 60 family apartment building, and how she started working rather than continuing her education. She explains that she got her first job working as a telephone operator in her apartment building and was later hired as a nurse for the children of the Lerner family in Jersey City. Walters explains that the Lerners and their staff treated her like family, and that the chauffeur and chef took a particular interest in her. She recounts meeting and marrying a chauffeur from Virginia in 1922, noting that she separated from him when he lost his job during the Great Depression and had no inclination to find another one.

Walters discusses her and her children's move to New York, where she worked various jobs before marrying her second husband, who served in the Army, during World War II; traveling back and forth between the US and Germany with him between 1951 and 1956; and adopting another child in Germany. She describes taking a course in nursing while she lived in Fort Benning from 1956 to 1962; working night shifts as a baby nurse at the Brooklyn Community Hospital for 11 years when the family moved back to New York; and augmenting the household income when her husband retired from the Army. She recalls joining an unspecified union while at the hospital (likely Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union) but notes that her hospital did not go on strike because the administration acquiesced to their demands once they saw what was happening in other hospitals in the area. She describes her duties as a baby nurse and emphasizes the friendly relationship among the staff members in the hospital. Other topics include the lives and occupations of her children; her living conditions during the Great Depression; and racial discrimination in Georgia.

Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union (New York, N.Y.)


1975 October 24
Box: 68 Reel : 210a - 210b (Master reel [31142054875086])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 216a (Access cassette) Walters, [Unknown Man]

Biographical Note

Mr. Walters was born in Jamaica in 1895. His father was a stonemason and his mother worked as a housekeeper for a doctor in Albany, New York. He and his parents immigrated to the United States (US) when he was 19 years old. He lived in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, New York and attended an unspecified vocational school for carpentry. He worked in the construction industry as a carpenter and mechanic and joined an unspecified construction workers' union in New York City.

Scope and Content Note

The interview with Mr. Walters was conducted by Victor Scheluchin at the Council Workshop for Senior Citizens on 125th Street in Manhattan, New York on April 18, 1973. The first name of the narrator is unknown. This interview covers Mr. Walters' childhood in Jamaica; his immigration to the United States (US) when he was 19 years old; and his life and work in the construction industry in New York, New York. Walters begins by describing the reason his family immigrated to the US, noting that his family moved primarily due to economic conditions. He explains that many of his relatives had already immigrated to the US and some of his immediate family and distant relatives followed his family after their immigration. He notes that the family made sure to help any new members adjust to life in the US. He recalls attending an unspecified vocational school at which he learned carpentry, and working in the construction industry as a carpenter and mechanic. He recalls working on the George Washington Bridge, Madison Square Garden, The Daily News Building, the subway in Queens, and schools near the City College of New York. He joined an unspecified construction workers' union in New York City, which he remembers specifically for its assistance in reducing working hours. Walters lived in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan and noticed that, while he felt safe in his neighborhood, there was a divide between the white and black populations. He emphasizes the role of the sanitation workers in New York City, explaining that he believes that they are more important than the police because they keep the city clean. He notes that while gangsters have consistently been a problem in New York City, narcotics have made the generation coming of age at the time of the interview more violent and destructive than their predecessors. Other topics include his family's religion; a comparison of the relevance of the church in the past and at the time of the interview; the importance of a construction worker's tools; his experience during the Prohibition era; racial and ethnic segregation and discrimination in New York City neighborhoods; his leisure time in a book club; and a comparison of New York City in the past and at the time of the interview.

See also: Council Workshop for Senior Citizens II; and Interview Compilation for Radio Broadcast.

Construction workers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews


Undated
Box: 99 Reel : 993a (Master reel [31142054875391])
Box: 76 Reel : 993b (Master reel [31142054875169])
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 161, 161a (Access cassette) Wanderling, Angelina: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Angelina Wanderling was born in 1902 in New York, New York. She lived in the East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan. Her parents were born in Salerno, Italy and immigrated to the United States in the late 19th century. Her father worked in sanitation. Wanderling left school after completing the eighth grade and started working in the garment industry, first as a floor girl and then as a machine operator. She was a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) Local 89. She married and had two children. Her husband was a house painter. At the time of the interview, she volunteered as a friendly visitor for the ILGWU.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Santa Cigliano-Laudiero. The date and location of the interview are unknown. The interview covers Angelina Wanderling's working life, her union activity, and her family. Wanderling discusses her early work experiences in garment factories, including not enjoying section work because of the repetition, and looking for better jobs. She discusses her attempts at organizing factories in which she worked and the opposition she met from immigrant workers who were afraid to lose their jobs. She describes herself as aggressive and dissatisfied with the poor working conditions in the factories, but understanding the hesitation of the other workers. She recounts a strike in 1932 and 1933 led by the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) in which she convinced her co-workers to participate; one factory where workers had not joined the strike and her decision to disconnect the factory's electricity; and the benefits the ILGWU gained for them after the strike. She discusses her work as the chairlady in the factory, in particular convincing management that the work involved more than sewing and that workers' examination of the garments and adaption to new styles should be included in their salary. She discusses her decision to leave and return to the workforce at different times, the types of work she performed, and the salaries she received.

Wanderling discusses her family; her parents' immigration to the United States; the love her father showed her and her siblings; her mother's work raising 13 children; and her own children and grandchildren. She discusses childbirth, comparing her experience to her mother's and describing why women feared giving birth in a hospital in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Other topics include her love of movies; her education; her desire to know what sort of women would wear the clothes on which she worked; and the types of apartments in which she lived with her husband and children.

An electronic transcript of this interview is available by request.

Childbirth |z New York (State) |z New York.
Women labor leaders -- New York (State) -- New York
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 89 (New York, N.Y.)


Undated
Box: 69 Reel : 211a - 211d (Master reel [31142054875094])
Box: 1 Folder : 89 Wanderling, Angelina: Summary
Undated
Box: No Master Ward, Katherine

Biographical Note

Katherine Ward was born in 1867 in County Sligo, Ireland. She immigrated to the United States (US) through Castle Garden, New York and lived with relatives in Morrisville, Pennsylvania. She lived with an aunt in New Jersey for two years before moving to New Haven, Connecticut with another aunt. In New Haven, Ward was employed making boxes at Sargent and Company. She married in 1889 and had two daughters and one son. During World War I, Ward and her family moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for her husband's work as a surveyor. Her husband died in 1933; one of their daughters died in 1967; and their son died in 1972.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by John Davenport at Katherine Ward's home on April 24, 1974 by an unknown interviewer. Ward's daughter, Katherine, assists her during part of the interview. Main topics include Ward's life in Ireland, her immigration to the United States (US), her employment, and her marriage and family. Ward discusses her family in Ireland, including her mother's birth on Coney Island, Ireland; her father's employment as a farmer; her parents' arranged marriage; her nine siblings; and the death of her mother when Ward was nine years old. She recalls studying to be a teacher in Ireland and taking promotion examinations proctored by British academics. She discusses her family's difficulty with protecting their property from destruction and theft by the English.

Ward discusses her immigration to the US, including sailing from Dublin to Liverpool, England to Castle Garden in Manhattan, New York; being extremely seasick throughout the voyage; and being met in New York by her great-aunt from Morrisville, Pennsylvania. Ward recalls being employed by Sargent and Company in New Haven, Connecticut making boxes; working as an organizer for the Knights of Labor; and being fired from Sargent and Company after management learned she was associating with union workers.

Ward discusses her husband, including their meeting in New Haven during the Blizzard of 1888; his proposal after she was fired from Sargent and Company; and their wedding in January of 1889. She discusses their children, including their daughters' education at St. Mary's Academy and Albertus Magnus College in New Haven; the fact that their daughters both became teachers; the death of their son in 1972 due to a stroke; and the death of one of her daughters in 1967 from an aneurism.

Throughout the interview Ward shares anecdotes about family members in Ireland and the US, including her grand-aunt being disowned because she married an Englishman and her father threatening English hunters with a pitchfork after they rode through his cabbage garden.

See also: Immigration, Migration, and First Impressions of New York, New York and the United States; Leisure; Passage; and Unionization.


1974 April 24
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 13a-b, 135, 136a-b, 137 (Access cassette) Weiner, Jean: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Jean Weiner was born in a small village in Bessarabia, Russia and was one of four children. Her father was a tailor and immigrated to the United States in the first decade of the 20th century. He worked as a finisher on ladies' coats, suits, and capes. The rest of the family joined him four years later and lived on Clinton Street in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. Weiner worked as a seamstress in ladies' garment and underwear factories. She was a member of an unspecified union (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union). She was married.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Louise Mayo on March 2, March 28, and April 11, 1975 at Jean Weiner's daughter's home and other unspecified locations. The interview covers Jean Weiner's childhood in Bessarabia, Russia; her family's life after their immigration to the United States (US); her working life; and her union activity. Weiner describes the daily life of her family in Bessarabia in great detail, including specifics on her father's tailoring business; the food her mother would prepare for the family; how her mother made extra money while her father was in the US; and the importance her father placed on education. She describes the different types of apartments the family rented as they moved into better apartments in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York before being able to afford a private house on Vermont Street in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. She recounts that the family had boarders; that her many relatives would frequently visit; how she enjoyed having so many people in the house; and that family and friends would help each other in times of need or illness. She compares the way the family lived in Russia to their life in the US, describing the variety of meat that was available in the US; the way the family shopped for food and goods, mainly from pushcarts on Rivington Street in the Lower East Side; and the different status levels amongst the working class in both countries, which were determined by a person's profession. She recounts her working life, which began soon after she arrived in the US; how much money she was expected to contribute to the household; the division of labor between men and women; and the fact that there were certain jobs that only men could do.

While Weiner does not specify to which union she belonged (likely the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union), she describes her union activity in great detail. She recounts the benefits to working in a union shop and a strike in which she participated. She describes in great detail the chairwoman of her local, whom she describes as well-educated, radical, and a Socialist. She discusses deciding to take a vacation from work as she had enough money to do so and spending the summer with her mother and siblings in Huntington, Connecticut; she and her sister flirting with young men in front of a country store near their camp; and meeting her husband through one of these men. Other topics include the family's more secular life in the US; the Jewish street gang, The Little Augies; life in Jewish neighborhoods in New York City; and pride in her ability to work so that her youngest brother and sister were able to graduate high school and attend college.

Women labor union members -- New York (State) -- New York


1975 March 2, March 28, and April 11
Box: 69 Reel : 212a (Master reel [31142054875094])
Box: 70 Reel : 212b - 212f (Master reel [31142054875102])
Box: 71 Reel : 212g (Master reel [31142054875110])
Box: 1 Folder : 90 Weiner, Jean: Transcript; Summary; and Index
1975 March 2, March 28, and April 11
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 65 (Access cassette) Weinstein, Helen Taub: Audio Recording

Biographical Note

Helen Taub Weinstein was born on July 26, 1897 in Russia. Her family moved outside of Krakow in the Polish region of Austria-Hungary when she was young. She married in 1920 and had three children, one of whom died in World War II.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Suzanne Michel at the Bialystoker Home for the Aged in Manhattan, New York on May 1, 1974. The interviewer and location are unknown. The interview covers Helen Taub Weinstein's childhood in Austria-Hungary; her family's immigration to the United States (US); her family's religious beliefs; her encounters with anti-Semitism in Austria-Hungary and the US; and her personal life. Weinstein describes her childhood outside of Krakow and the resort her parents owned there. She describes Franz Joseph I's lenient attitude towards the Jewish population, in opposition to the majority of the population of Austria-Hungary. She recounts her family's decision to emigrate due to rising anti-Semitism in 1911 or 1912. She discusses the family's resort in Monticello, New York and her work there. She recalls teaching Polish at the school in Monticello and being paid in fruit and vegetables as she did not have a teaching license. She discusses the difference in religious observance between her parents' generation and her own and the anti-Semitism her children faced in school in Queens and Long Island. She describes the loneliness she feels as an older person isolated from her family and the devastation she felt over the death of her oldest son during World War II.

Catskill Mountains (N.Y.) |v Anecdotes.


1974 May 1
Box: 71 Reel : 213a - 213b (Master reel [31142054875110])
Box: 1 Folder : 91 Weinstein, Helen Taub: Transcript and Summary
1974 May 1
: Access Cassettes Cassette : 223, 233a-b (Access cassette) Williams, Ellen

Biographical Note

Ellen Williams was born on April 30, 1938 in Darliston, Jamaica. She was one of nine children. Her father was a coachman and a farmer and her mother managed the household. Williams attended school in Jamaica up to the sixth standard in the British education system. She immigrated to the United States on June 17, 1947 and lived with her cousin at 68 West 117th Street in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. She married in 1948 and lived on 120th Street in Harlem. She later moved to Morningside Avenue in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan and to the Bronx, where she resided at the time of the interview. She worked as a baby nurse for various families in New York City and as a nurse's aide in the Jewish Home and Hospital for the Aged in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan. She joined Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union in 1963 or 1964. She was a member of the West Indian and American Friendly Society and St. John's Lodge in New York City.

Scope and Content Note

This interview was conducted by Sasha Silverstein at the offices of Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union in Manhattan, New York on October 23, November 12, and December 3, 1975. This interview covers Ellen Williams' childhood in Darliston, Jamaica; her immigration to the United States (US); and her life and work as a baby nurse and a nurses' aide in New York, New York. Williams begins by describing her childhood in Jamaica, specifically recalling her father's occupation as a coachman in Kingston; the perception of this job as prestigious due to the wages and uniforms; and his occupation later as a pimento and coffee farmer in Darliston. She recalls that despite the racial segregation in the schools and churches, children were generally friendly with one another. She describes working as a baby nurse for a family in Jamaica, noting that they treated her like family; deferred to her on matters regarding their children; and introduced her to politicians and other friends of theirs. She discusses the differences between life in the city and in the country; the different roles of men and women in both the household and society; the finances of her household; Catholic traditions, including holiday services and the role of godparents; and other secular traditions, particularly birthdays and festivals.

Williams explains that she immigrated to the US at the behest of her cousin and recalls the sponsorship and monetary requirements for her immigration in June 1947. Her initial impression of New York City was that it was filled with trees and well-dressed people. She explains that while her cousins helped her to acclimate to life in New York, she had difficulty adapting to the winter weather. She describes working as a baby nurse for various families in New York City, recalling that after her marriage in 1948, she only took jobs that did not require her to live with her employers. She describes her work and training as a nurse's aide at the Jewish Home and Hospital for the Aged in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan. Williams recalls joining Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union in 1963 or 1964 and notes that despite her initial skepticism of its benefits, the union gave hospital workers greater job security and wage increases. Other topics include the differences between her work as a baby nurse and nurse's aide; her siblings' education, careers, and families; her husband's occupation and family; her interactions with and impressions of union leaders, particularly Doris Turner and Leon Davis; her involvement in the West Indian and American Friendly Society and St. John's Lodge; and her visits to Jamaica to see her family.

Jamaicans |z New York (State) |z New York |v Interviews.
Local 1199 Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union (New York, N.Y.)


1975 October 23, November 12, and December 3
Box: 71 Reel : 214a - 214b (Master reel [31142054875110])
Box: 72 Reel : 214c - 214f (Master reel [31142054875128])

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