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Work Projects Administration (WPA), NJ Writers' Project, Historical Records Survey: "Newark at Work" Research Materials (ca. 1936 - 1942)
RepositoryNew Jersey State Archives [in progress]
Collection IDFWPNW021
Size10 boxes
Collection Description
This collection consists of extensive research materials, including typed extracts from many publications as well as original interviews carried out by project staff. Some of the topics addressed include: Newark history in general, Urban Culture, Urban Conditions, City Planning, Industries, Factories, and Industrial Development. Project researchers include L. N. Bessell, Edith Goorwitz, Ann Musumeci, Ernest Pentz, and David Lewis. Although the collection includes a number of draft chapters, there is no evidence of a final publication or report.

NOTE: Interviews carried out by the project (1939-1941) typically include a brief history of the firm or business (name of founder, date established in Newark); product, marketing, and shipping information; plant organization (union or non-union), skilled or semi-skilled workers, number of workers, male/female, and sometimes race or ethnicity. The firms visited range from those with a handful of workers to those with hundreds of employees.
Collection Contents
The collection was apparently transferred from larger boxes or file drawers, each of which was repacked into two standard cartons. Box numbers are: Box WA-1A, Box WA-1B, Box WA-2A, Box WA-2B, Box WA-3A, Box WA-3B, Box WA-4A, Box WA-4B, Box WA-5A, and Box WA-5B. A summary of the collection contents is as follows:

Boxes WA-1A and 1B: contains mostly folders on early Newark history and on transportation, "Indian Path to Airport -- canals, railroads, highways, airport." Files include timelines, excerpts from books, proceedings of the NJ Historical Society, business and manufacturing directories, newspaper articles, manufacturing censuses, and industry lists, as well as transcripts of articles and announcements in newspapers, brochures, bills and legislative material

Box WA 2A: contains, among other files, Folder 371, "Airport - Land Deals" with clippings relating to the Newark Meadowlands case, an 82-day trial in which the seven defendants were acquitted (1939-1940); Folder 540, "1920-1940, Labor after World War," with material on new trends, left-wing unions, the CIO, industrial strife, and the Newark City Labor Board, and publications regarding workers' rights (ca. 1939-1941). Also present is a 7-page report on a "Newark Labor Relations Board Symposium" (held at the Essex House, Dec 8, 1939), with brief summaries of various speakers' comments, including Mayor Ellenstein's speech on the history of the Board; Miss Florence Peterson, Chief of the Industrial Relations Division, U.S. Department of Labor, was "a bright particular star of the evening, not talking much but cogently." Another file, labeled "Chemical Industry in Newark; Rewrite -- A. Basil Wheeler" contains a 12-page draft report that includes US Census of Manufactures lists, with numbers of firms by category (i.e., drugs, colors and pigments, insecticides, perfumes and cosmetics, etc.) number of employees, total wages and total product in dollars; and an alphabetical list of "Old and New Firms" (1941)

Box WA -2B: Most of the box consists of chronological files of extracts from the Sentinel of Freedom, Daily Advertiser and other press, and a few book extracts (1820s-1869). Topics in the chronological files include notices of runaway slaves, fires, meetings, legislation, etc. A file on Early Settlers of Newark contains extracts or transcripts of vital records, deeds, wills, etc. for a few families (Ward, Camp, Baker). The box also contains many transcripts of interviews pertaining to the metal industries in Newark. Interviews in Folder 602 include: Lee H. Harrison, plant manager of Bingham Brothers, Brown St. and Lister Ave., glues, gums, pastes and printers' rollers; Chester Braun, Haussling Soda Apparatus Manufacturing., 60 Arlington St.; William P. Gregory, treasurer, New Jersey Galvanizing and Tinning Works, foot of Pacific St.; Truman Young, Asst. Publicity Manager of Pyrene Manufacturing Works, 560 Belmont St., fire extinguishers and tire chains; Arthur E. Allen, secretary, Roto Company, 145 Sussex Ave., oiler tube cleaners; Heyman Klein, President, Kingsland Cooperage, Inc.; Balzer Holzl, president, Eagle Tool and Machine Co., 37 Freeman St., plastic molds; A. A. Sacke, president, Pole and Tube Works, Inc,, 230 Pacific St., flag poles and tubular masts; E. Bartlett Headden , vice-president, Motor Improvements , Inc, 365 Freylinghuysen Ave., oil filters; Eugene L. Fortney, Fortney Manufacturing. Co., 247 NJRR Ave., steel molds and plaster materials; D. H. McAvoy, vice-president, American Metal Co., 247 Verona Ave., sheet metal; Joseph J. Komara, president, Empire Finished Steel Corp., 722 Frelinghuysen Ave., cold finished steel bars and shafting; Andrew W. McCabe, Standard-Dickerson Corp, 68 Oliver St., frosted foods cabinets and displayers; Elsie Nase, Office Manager, Donald Steel Treating Corp., 147 Thomas St., steel treating service to textile and other industries in Newark

Box WA-2B, Folder #601: contains material on "Celluloid and Plastics," including a booklet "Celluloid -- Grand-Daddy of the 'em All," by George H. Boehmer, general sales manager, Celluloid Corporation, 290 Ferry St., with history of the company and photographs of president W. S. Landes, interior factory scenes including employees, and products. Also present are

interviews with H. K. Haviland of the Development and Research Department of Celluloid Corp. and with Mr. Clare of Claremould Plastics Corp., 117 Edison Place

Other files in this box include: "General File -- Iron and Steel Products," with interview transcripts: Walter Heller, Heller Brothers Co., Inc., 865 Mt. Prospect St., steel plant;

H. Buchlein, owner H. Buchlein's Sons, 255 Market St., steel and rubber stamps, badges, and stencils; Louis Schneider, owner Louis Schneider, 252 Market St., badges, rubber stamps, stencils; and Arthur E. Barlow, Sacks-Barlow Foundries, Inc., 357 Wilson Ave., casters of malleable iron.

Box WA-2B, Folder, "Pre-final Draft -- Iron and Steel" contains a 20-page report, "Iron and Steel" (1941); an alphabetical list of Newark firms, and folders of interview transcripts, arranged by category.

"Cutlery" A. Bolton, Advertising, J. Wiss and Sons, 11-45 Littleton Ave.; William G. Rubinow, president, Rubinow Edge Tool Works, 35 Vesey St.. axes, hatchets, and electroplaters; Bernard Wigder, Wigder Manufacturing, 28 Wickliffe St., nail files, tweezers, scissors; Frederick Everts, Newark Scissors Company, 11 Kirk Place; Robert Stiegmeister, vice-president, Stiegmeister Butcher Saw Supply Co., 7-9 Oliver St.; Mike La Pom, foreman, Finaldi Cutlery Co, 53 Crane St.; William Osiecky, secretary-treasurer, Sheffield Manufacturing. Co., 536 South 10th St., razor blades; Julius Harasty, owner, Blue Blade Treating Co., 360 Jelliff Ave., heat-treating of razor blade steel and spring steel; Ross Nadeau, president, Club Razor and Blade Manufacturing Corp., 36 Green St.; Saverio Allocca, owner [and sole employee], A and P Engineering Co., 22 Green St., "the perfect fruit and vegetable corer"; Arthur G. Nadeau, Best Blades, Inc,, 36 Green St., razor blades

"Forging" E. L. Beatty, Newark Rivet Works, 262 Lafayette St., umbrella hardware and rivets, 350 employees as of 1940; Harold T. Moffett, secretary, National Lockwasher Co., 65 Johnson St., steel window equipment; Elmer E. Ross, president, Positive Lock Washer Co., 181 Miller St.; Hugh T. Hurley, secretary-treasurer, D. Hurley and Sons, 69-79 Manufacturers Place; Wilbur R. Bennett, proprietor, Bennett Insured Steel Treating Co., 130 South St.

"Foundries" Philip R. Van Duyne, president, Meeker Foundry Co., 95 Clay St.; Mary Hamilton, Thomas Colemen Smelting and Refinings Co., Inc., 9 Ferdon St.; Robert F. Moore, president, Flockhart Foundry Co., 79 Polk St.; Joseph P. and Joseph E. Keegan, Kastwell Foundry Co., 183 Christie St., gray iron and semi steel castings; Myrtle Malcolm, vice-president, Malcolm Foundry Co., Inc., 67-69 Polk St., steel castings; J. Haggerty, branch office manager, M. H. Derrick Co., 111 Gotthardt St., gray iron castings; Oscar Carlson, C and O Tool and Manufacturing Co., 20 Orange St., die castings.

Other categories of businesses interviewed were: Hardware, Machine Shop, Machine Tool Accessories, Plumbers Supplies, Pumps, Screw Machine Products, Sheet Metal Works, Stamped and Pressed Metal Products, Steam Fitting and Steam and Hot Water Heating Appliances,

Structural and Ornamental Steel Products, Tools (not including edge tools), Wire Works, and Boiler Shops.

Box WA-3A: contains 5 large folders on early industry in Newark, arranged by date (1830-1909, with gaps). Contents are typed transcripts of items, at first all from the Sentinel of Freedom, later from a wide variety of sources. There are also a number of files on specific industries, e.g., "Dressed Furs," with a transcript of an interview with Mr. Feldman of A. Hollander and Son, Inc,, 143 E. Kinney St., [Feb? 1940], including the history of the firm, types of work done, numbers of employees (seasonal), processes used, marketing, advertising, patents held, etc. and an interview with Thelma Estrin, Hudson Fur Dyeing Co., 29 Congress St., March 6, 1940, with history of family ownership of the firm, an overview of the fur industry in Newark and NJ (customers are all in NYC),and sources of materials. Followed by other interviews from the same firm. "Cigars and Cigarettes" contains a lengthy interview, excerpts from newspapers, and a draft chapter or section on the industry, with brief entries on individual companies.

Box WA-3B, contains a huge section on banking and insurance, with extracts and clippings, publications, statistics, bibliography, etc.; and a large file on real estate..

Box WA-4A: contains more chronological files, and a huge file on the Port of Newark, including information on whaling history

Box WA-4B, includes material on woodworking industries, leather, and printing and publishing

Box WA-5A, consists mostly of files on "Capital and Labor": unions, strikes, bargaining, etc. from early times to the early 20th century. One file, #530, contains extensive extracts from Newark labor coverage in the Camden, Elizabeth, Jersey City, and New Brunswick press, including coverage of the Knights of Labor. One story, from the New Brunswick Daily Home News (Aug 11, 1887), "Newark's Labor War," is on conflict between the Leather Manufacturers' Association and the Knights of Labor. There is coverage of the employers' use of strikebreakers of different ethnicities from the regular employees and details of contract negotiations and union activity.

Box WA-5B: contains material on the clothing, food, metalwork, and transportation industries. Files on the local manufacture of various vehicles include airplane manufacturers.
FormatTextual materials
SubjectsBusiness / Commerce; Industry / Manufacturing
Time Period20th Century
Access policyOpen for research
Finding AidYes
Finging Aid URL