Interview with J. Edgar Rhoads, 1969 April 14 [audio](part 5)

Hagley ID:
  • E.J. Rhoads & Sons, Inc. during the Great Depression
    Partial Transcript: "It was a very difficult time indeed, as you know a great many people had to go out of business... we had quite a period of losing money..."
    Synopsis: Rhoads talks about how Rhoads leather factory survived the Great Depression. He talks about what belts sold the best during that time.
    Keywords: E.J. Rhoads & Sons, Inc.; Great Depression; Labor; Leather belts
  • Improvements to tanning leather in the 1930s; Work in World War II; Employing women and African Americans
    Partial Transcript: "I think that the two things mentioned were both suggested and initiated by Philip G. Rhoads..."
    Synopsis: Rhoads talks about improvements to tanning in the 1930s and attributes them to a family member, Philip G. Rhoads. He talks about E.J. Rhoads & Sons, Inc. role in World War II. He says that they avoided war work due to their Quaker faith. He says that they tried to prioritize business with other manufacturers who were doing less than 50% war work. He talks about staffing at this time. He says that they hired women, and have had women working in the factory since. He also says that they have hired African Americans since his grandfather's time. He talks about some of his employees. He talks about African American families moving into Wilmington and gives his opinion on them.
    Keywords: African Americans; Employment; Leather; Rhoads, Philip G. (Philip Garrett), 1902-; Staffing; Women; World War (1939-1945)
  • Job studies at Rhoads & Sons, Inc.; Resolving disputes; Rhoads family history
    Partial Transcript: "Their assignment was primarily to work out job descriptions for every sort of job and give evaluations of these in relation to one another in what we call a job classification system..."
    Synopsis: Rhoads describes a job study that happened at Rhoads. The end purpose of this study was to generate job descriptions and stabilize wages. He talks about settling disputes and discusses splits and disputes in the Quaker faith. Rhoads talks about his family and their involvement with Rhoads leather and how they faced the disputes and challenges associated with running a company.
    Keywords: Classifications; Job Studies; Jobs; Quakers; Rhoads family; Wages
  • Change in building materials; Zoning issues; Rebuilding old equipment instead of replacing equipment; Change in sales policy since World War I
    Partial Transcript: "Yes, the galvanized iron buildings were put up.. they were put up as temporary buildings..." "We thought a great deal about moving out of the city..." "Most of the tanning and curing equipment machinery was purchased new... we built some machines..."
    Synopsis: Rhoads explained that his business used galvanized iron buildings instead of brick as a temporary measure. He explains that they weren't meant to be permanent structures when they were built. Rhoads talks about the possibility of moving his business out of Wilmington, Del. due to zoning or other issues. He notes that the factory is near a residential area. He talks about why he might chose to build his own machinery, rebuild old machinery, or buy new machinery, depending on his needs at the time. He talks about how their sales policies and strategies have changed since the end World War I.
    Keywords: Bricks; Galvanized Iron; Machines; Pollution; Tanneries; Wilmington, Del; World War (1914-1918); Zoning
  • Rhoads' non-business life
    Partial Transcript: "I have probably had more interest in outside things than many business men do have..."
    Synopsis: Rhoads talks about his non-business life and discusses some of his personal activities. He says the was president of the Delmarva council of the Boy Scouts of America. He talks about being involved in establishing a charity hospital. He says that he helped manage budgeting for the European Children's Fund following World War I
    Keywords: Boy Scouts of America; Charity; European Children's Fund; Hospitals; Layton Home; Life; Old Age; Quakers; Religion; World War (1914-1918)
  • Relief work in Europe following World War I
    Partial Transcript: I volunteered to go in the fall of 1919... on December 9th 1919 we sailed from New York..."
    Synopsis: Rhoads talks about being an aid worker in Europe following World War I. He describes how his group worked with limited resources and how they determined who needed their food and aid the most. He also describes how they procured food. He compares what he saw in Hamburg, Germany compared to what a friend saw in Stuttgart, Germany and noted that Stuttgart appeared to have not been as hard hit by the war as Hamburg. He says that the particular organization he worked for lasted for around two years. He talks about loaning money to a German Quaker who wanted to start a grocery store.
    Keywords: Charity; Food; German language; Hamburg, Germany; Medicine; Quakers; Recovery; Stuttgart, Germany; Tuberculosis; World War (1914-1918)
  • Thoughts on the economic situation in Germany following World War I; Thought on reconstruction following World War II; Work with the Commission for Polish Relief
    Partial Transcript: "The economic situation of the German nation and the people was quite desperate, except for the few who had some capital and put it, right at the end of the war, into real estate or something like that..."
    Synopsis: Rhoads talks about the post World War I economic situation in Germany. He talks about the Dawes Plan after World War I and the Marshall Plan following World War II. He says that he believes the Dawes Plan came a little too late to be as helpful as possible. He talks about the collapse of the Weimar Republic. He says that was part of the Commission for Polish Relief during World War II. He talks about the challenges of getting food into Poland via Italy and making sure it was distributed to Polish people.
    Keywords: Commission for Polish Relief; Dawes Plan; Economics; Germany; Italy; Leadership; Marshall Plan; Poland; Refugees; Weimar Republic; World War (1914-1918); World War (1939-1945)
  • Theft of supplies from relief efforts; Thoughts on the escalation of World War II; Relief efforts in India; Knowledge of relief efforts in Vietnam; Raising money for relief and purchasing war surplus goods; Relief efforts in China
    Partial Transcript: "I looked into that very carefully..."
    Synopsis: Rhoads talks about theft of supplies from relief efforts. He says that Hoover's records were very complete and noted that one half of one percent of supplies were lost, mostly due to broken packaging as opposed to outright theft. He says that the some of the supplies went onto the black market in Poland during World War II. He says that it seemed obvious to him that the war would flare up again after Nazi Germany took over Poland. He says that to his mind there has not been peace in the world since 1914. He talks about having served as president of the American Relief for India Corporation. He talks about what he know about relief and development issues along the Mekong River. He talks a bit more about raising money and buying supplies for relief efforts. He talks about relief efforts in China. He talks about getting drugs and medicine into China.
    Keywords: American Relief for India Corporation; Belgium; Black markets; Burma Road; China; Mekong River; Nazis; Poland; Quakers; Theft; War Relief Control Board; World War (1914-1918); World War (1939-1945)

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