Oral histories on work and daily life in the Brandywine Valley

About this collection

A collection of approximately 200 interviews conducted between 1953 and 1990 with people who lived and worked in New Castle County, Delaware. The recollections of the subjects cover a period from about 1900 to 1960. While the majority of the interviews are with those who have a connection with the DuPont Company or du Pont family either as employees or inhabitants of the area surrounding the company's operation on the Brandywine River, the collection also includes interviews with those who worked in other industries in Delaware during this era such as Hodgson Woolen Mill, Lobdell Car Wheel Company, Hoopes Brother & Darlington, and Joseph Bancroft & Sons. In addition to documenting work and labor during this period, the interviewers delve deeply into the social and cultural lives of their subjects. Issues related to domesticity, gender, education, childhood, ethnicity, medicine, etc. are among the topics covered in the interviews. Also of note are interviews with a journalist (Fred Reybold) and an early broadcaster (Willard Wilson) who worked in Delaware.

    For more information about the collection, click here to view the finding aid.
    Image: Vance Mitchell during 1968 interview. Click to view.

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Interview with Pierre Ferraro and Eugene Ferraro, 1955 June 13 [audio]
The Ferraros describes explosions in 1890, 1898, and 1915, the villages along the Brandywine, the political views of the workers, various impressions of members of the du Pont family, and life in Walker's Bank, including entertainment, wages, and chores.
Interview with Jennie Sicco Leto, 1984 June 21 [audio]
Leto describes life along the Brandywine, including christenings, her grandmother's home and garden, her education, and entertainments and amusements. She also describes her family's history and emigration from Italy, Christmas traditions, and impression of various du Pont family members.
Interview with Jennie Sicco Leto, 1983 May 25 [audio](part 1)
Leto describes the layout of the various villages along the Brandywine, anecdotes about the neighbors, and daily life during her childhood.
Interview with Jennie Sicco Leto, 1983 May 25 [audio](part 2)
Leto describes the layout of the various villages along the Brandywine, anecdotes about the neighbors, and daily life during her childhood.
Interview with C. Natalie Rogerro Meriggi, 1984 June 20 [audio]
Meriggi discusses winter pastimes, lacemaking, Christmas traditions, and winemaking. She also discusses cooking, gardening, and herb lore, medical care, the Italian community at Hagley, and her parents' feelings as immigrants. She touches on celebrations, such as holidays and weddings.
Interview with Mary Perrone, 1984 February 22 [audio]
Perrone describes her home in Squirrel Run, her daily activities as a homemaker and head of a boarding house, illnesses and explosions that affected the community, and the Italian community at Hagley. She provides many rich anecdotes.
Interview with Mary Perrone, 1984 July 24 [audio]
Perrone outlines her wedding and reception in great detail, their neighbors and friends along the Brandywine, the workplace death of Charlie Gaino, her two married homes, and household routines and chores.
Interview with Rocco Perrone, 1984 July 10 [audio](part 1)
Perrone describes daily life in Squirrel Run, Christmas at Winterthur, picnics and bocce in the summer, medical care, Perrone's impressions of various du Pont family members, traveling home to Italy, and other daily activities along the Brandywine.
Interview with Rocco Perrone, 1984 July 10 [audio](part 2)
Perrone describes daily life in Squirrel Run, Christmas at Winterthur, picnics and bocce in the summer, medical care, Perrone's impressions of various du Pont family members, traveling home to Italy, and other daily activities along the Brandywine.
Interview with Fred Marenco, 1984 March 5 [audio]
Marenco describes childhood pranks and pastimes, keeping boarders at his family's home, holiday parades and celebrations, and life in the Wilmington area in the early twentieth century. He also discusses community life, including relations between Irish and Italian families, the lack of crime, social status, relationships with the neighbors, and working odd jobs for DuPont.
Rocco Perrone, Margaret Perrone, Victorine Camoirano, and Mary Oliverri Guerrina, 1985 March 12 [audio]
The interview covers daily activities and life along the Brandywine, including chores, transportation, and the relationships among the Italian community at Hagley.
Interview with Rose Murabito, 1984 March 22 [audio]
Murabito describes her family home, chores and daily activities, her education, memories of explosions, and her family's history. She also describes working at Hodgson's mill on the spinners and the reels as well as her work at a cigar factory. Furthermore, she discusses Christmas traditions, various games and entertainments, and gardening.