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 Joseph A. Haley, 1955 February 23 [audio]
Haley describes his impressions of Alfred I. du Pont, his working career with the company, entertainment and amusement along the Brandywine, and the various aspects of the powder business.
Interview with George Christ, 1969 July 23 [audio]
George M. Christ, a worker in the blacksmith shop at Hoopes Brothers and Darlington, describes his career manufacturing wagon wheels. In his interview he details the wheel-making process, various types of tires, the rate of production of wagon wheels, and how the workers utilized the shrinker machine to make wheels.
Interview with Thomas Hoopes, 1969 July 23 [audio](part 1)
Hoopes gives a history of the company including the addition of rubber to wagon wheels, the changes the company underwent during World War II, the introduction of electricity, the relationships with the competition, best business practices, the management of the company, and different types of tires.
Interview with Thomas Hoopes, 1969 July 23 [audio](part 2)
Hoopes gives a history of the company including the addition of rubber to wagon wheels, the changes the company underwent during World War II, the introduction of electricity, the relationships with the competition, best business practices, the management of the company, and different types of tires.
Interview with Edward L. Bader, 1956 November 23 [audio](part 1)
Bader's interview offers details on many aspects of workers' lives in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including pay rates, the workers' homes, and the conditions in the laboratory. He recounts many different explosions, including the 1906 explosion that killed "Buck" Buchanan, the 1908 Press Room Explosion, the Packing House Explosion, one that occurred in the mill, and another that occurred in 1915. His interview also details his impressions of various members of the du Pont family, including Francis G., Lammot, Alfred I., Pierre S., Alexis, and Francis I.
Interview with Edward L. Bader, 1956 November 23 [audio](part 2)
Bader's interview offers details on many aspects of workers' lives in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including pay rates, the workers' homes, and the conditions in the laboratory. He recounts many different explosions, including the 1906 explosion that killed "Buck" Buchanan, the 1908 Press Room Explosion, the Packing House Explosion, one that occurred in the mill, and another that occurred in 1915. His interview also details his impressions of various members of the du Pont family, including Francis G., Lammot, Alfred I., Pierre S., Alexis, and Francis I.
Interview with Edward L. Bader, 1956 November 23 [transcript]
Transcript of interview conducted with Edward L. Bader about his time working in the mills for DuPont. The interview took place in Wilmington, Delaware.
Interview with George Christ, 1969 July 23 [transcript]
Transcript of interview with George Christ who worked for the Hoopes Brothers and Darlington Company. The interview took place in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Interview with Joseph A. Haley, 1955 February 23 [transcript]
Transcript of interview with Joseph Haley who worked at Hagley's powder yards. The interview took place in Wilmington, Delaware.
Interview with Thomas Hoopes, 1969 July 23 [transcript]
Transcript of interview with Thomas Hoopes who worked for the Hoopes Borthers and Darlington Company. The interview took place in West Chester, Pennsylvania.