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 Catherine Cheney, 1987 October 2 [audio]
Cheney discusses some of her family's Christmas traditions as well as those of Hagley in general. Moreover, she details childhood memories of everyday life in Free Park, including the games the children played, chores, and various childhood illnesses. Her interview also discusses her teacher training at the University of Delaware and her later teaching career.
Interview with Catherine Cheney, 1984 February 15 [audio]
Cheney details gardening at Hagley, including using fertilizer and lime on plants, food storage during winter, gardening tools, and using the moon to determine planting cycles. She also discusses laundry, cooking, and various other household chores.
Interview with Catherine Cheney, 1984 March 26 [audio]
Cheney provides details of her life at Free Park, including fear of typhoid in the water supply, delivery of groceries and other items, her sibling dynamic, She details gardening at Hagley, including drying and storing herbs, what kinds of plants were chosen for the garden, different gardening tools, and composting.
Interview with Helen Edwards, 1984 March 8 [audio]
Edwards describes her working career in the powder yards in 1917 and 1918 in detail, including various work tasks, sewing silk bags, the hiring process, various explosions, and how married and unmarried Bloomer Girls worked alongside each other during World War I.
Interview with Helen Edwards, 1986 April 16 [audio]
Edwards describes her working career at DuPont, including an explosion that occurred in 1918 and the flu epidemic in 1919. She also describes her home life, including the family cat, typical dress, the early years of her marriage, Wilmington in the early twentieth century, and cooking and chores.
Interview with Bertha Gregg, 1989 March 17 [audio]
Gregg describes her duties at Hagley. Her interview describes her courtship and early years of marriage with her husband, Pete, a grocer; a flu epidemic that she suffered during a pregnancy; her family history; daily life in Wilmington; and holiday and special traditions.
Interview with Bertha Gregg, 1989 March 23 [audio]
Gregg describes her duties at Hagley. Her interview describes her courtship and early years of marriage with her husband, Pete, a grocer; a flu epidemic that she suffered during a pregnancy; her family history; daily life in Wilmington; and holiday and special traditions.
Interview with Mary Braden Jackson, 1986 July 13 [audio]
Jackson's second interview describes Sam Frizzell's store, the du Pont family as landlords, Christmas and Thanksgiving traditions, and Easter and Fourth of July parties, Mrs. Crowninshield's Willing Workers, the library at Christ Church, and daily life along the Brandywine. She also describes the 100th and 150th anniversary celebrations of the DuPont company in detail.
Interview with Mary Braden Jackson, 1986 August 17 [audio](part 1)
Jackson's third interview describes the Squirrel Run house in detail, Tom Toy's tavern and Dugan's tavern, her understanding of the mill workers' job responsibilities, her father's garden, ordering from Larkin's catalog, and typical dress and shoes. She also discusses her working career at Pennsylvania Railroad and dating customs.
Interview with Mary Braden Jackson, 1986 August 17 [audio](part 2)
Jackson's third interview describes the Squirrel Run house in detail, Tom Toy's tavern and Dugan's tavern, her understanding of the mill workers' job responsibilities, her father's garden, ordering from Larkin's catalog, and typical dress and shoes. She also discusses her working career at Pennsylvania Railroad and dating customs.
Interview with Mary Braden Jackson, 1989 January 19 [audio]
Jackson's fifth and final interview details the laundry process, how her mother made clothes, and her relationship with her stepmother.
Interview with James F. Toy Sr., 1971 September 4 [audio]
Toy describes his work on Mrs. Louise du Pont Crowninshield's staircase in detail, the restoration of the First Office, and Mrs. Crowninshield's decorating style. He also describes in detail his memories and work on Eleutherian Mills and Winterthur.
Interview with James F. Toy Sr., 1971 September 15 [audio]
Toy describes changes in restoration made to Eleutherian Mills, including the layout of the house, as well as the First Office. He also describes how A.I. du Pont built his wall around Nemours and his work on the sunken garden.
Interview with Faith Betty Lattomus and Madaline Betty Walls, 1969 June 12, 1969 June 25 [transcript]
Transcript of interview with Faith Betty Lattomus and Madaline Betty Walls recalling their time growing up along the Brandywine. The interview took place in Wilmington, Delaware.
Interview with William Stewart Allmond, 1969 June 10, July 3 [transcript]
Transcript of interview conducted with W. Stewart Allmond who worked in the foundry business. The interview took place in Newark, Delaware.
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 Elizabeth Beacom, 1967 May 29 [transcript]
Transcript of interview with Elizabeth Beacom about her time living in Squirrel Run while her father worked for the DuPont refinery. The interview took place in Wilmington, Delaware.
Interview with Ferdinand D. Bickel, 1969 June 12, 1969 June 25 [transcript]
Transcript of interview with Ferdinand D. Bickel who worked for DuPont's explosives department. The interview took place in Wilmington, Delaware.
Interview Catherine C. Irving (Mrs. A. Duer Irving), 1974 February 21 [transcript]
Transcript of interview with Catherine C. Irving recalling her memories of Louise du Pont Crowninshield. The interview took place in Wilmington, Delaware.
Interview with Franklin W. Bradway, 1958 February [transcript]
Transcript of interview with Franklin W. Bradway recalling his time workig for DuPont as a chemist. The interview took place in Wilmington, Delaware.
Interview with William H. Buchanan, 1958 August 7 [transcript]
Transcript of interview with William H. Buchanan recalling life on the Brandywine while his father worked for DuPont. The interview took place in Wilmington, Delaware.
Interview with Dennis Buckley, 1975 January 10 [transcript]
Transcript of interview with Dennis Buckely recalling his youth growing up on the Brandywine. The interview took place in Wilmington, Delaware.
Interview with Joseph M. Campbell, 1957 August 15 [transcript]
Transcript of interview with Joseph M. Campbell who worked for DuPont in the Hagley yards. The interview took place in Wilmington, Delaware.
Interview with Catherine Cheney, 1964 April 3 [transcript]
Transcript of interview with Catherine Cheney who lived in Free Park and whose grandfather and father were guards at Hagley mills. The interview took place in New Castle, 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.

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