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.

Search Collection

Interview with Donald Hallam, 1980 September 2 [audio]
Hallam describes his father's childhood along the Brandywine at Bancroft Mills, including entertainment, pranks, and chores. He describes the house in which his father grew up in detail. His mother also recounts working for Bancroft during the war. Hallam describes his own childhood growing up in Wilmington.
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 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.
Interview with Thomas McCray, 1981 February 5 [audio]
McCray describes daily life, including his working career and job responsibilities, typical dress, childhood amusements, holidays and traditions, medical care, and transportation.
Interview with Eugene Bruno, 1981 March 12 [audio](part 1)
Bruno's interview details his childhood in Wilmington, Delaware. He describes the homes in Squirrel Run, how the children used to spend the weekends there after the move having picnics and watching the adults play bocce ball, and his job working at Hodginson Brothers Woolen Mills. He also describes Wilmington in the early twentieth century, particularly the area of Little Italy, where he grew up.
Interview with Eugene Bruno, 1981 March 12 [audio](part 2)
Bruno's interview details his childhood in Wilmington, Delaware. He describes the homes in Squirrel Run, how the children used to spend the weekends there after the move having picnics and watching the adults play bocce ball, and his job working at Hodginson Brothers Woolen Mills. He also describes Wilmington in the early twentieth century, particularly the area of Little Italy, where he grew up.
Interview with Eugene Bruno, 1981 March 12 [transcript]
Transcript of interview with Eugene Bruno who lived in Squirrel Run and whose father worked in Hagley Yards. The interview took place in Elsmere, Delaware.
Interview with Donald Hallam, 1980 September 2 [transcript]
Transcript of interview with Donald Hallam who grew up along the Brandywine while his father worked for Bancroft Mills. The interview took place in Wilmington, Delaware.
Interview with Jennie Sicco Leto, 1984 June 21 [transcript]
Transcript of second interview with Jennie Leto who was an Italian immigrant who grew up in Squirrel Run and Free Park and whose father was killed in an explosion. The interview took place in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.
Interview with Thomas McCray, 1981 February 5 [transcript]
Transcript of interview with Thomas McCray who lived on Rising Sun Lane and Long Row and whose father and uncle were killed in an explosion. The interview took place in Wilmington, Delaware. Also contributing to the interview are Mr. McCray's wife, Lucy Brooks McCray, and their daughter, Jeanette Henry.
Interview with Rose Murabito, 1984 March 22 [transcript]
Transcript of interview with Rose Murabito who worked at Hodgeson's Mill and recalls life in the Hagley area.