At a Glance


How does an industrial past shape current work and play? How does it affect what professions still exist in cities?

American Memory, Library of Congress

Working in Paterson: Occupational Heritage in an Urban Setting

Presents 470 audio excerpts of interviews and 3,882 photographs compiled in 1994 by the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress during a study of occupational culture in Paterson, NJ. The project—sponsored by Congress—explores ways that the industrial heritage of Paterson, with manufacturing roots going back to the 18th century, still affects present-day community life and culture with regard to work practices and leisure activities. Audio files are available in three formats, accompanied by bibliographic records with word-searchable summaries and subject headings. The site includes five essays—from 2,500 to 5,000 words in length with photographs—by project fieldworkers on African American family businesses in Paterson; an ethnography of a single workplace—Watson Machine International, a manufacturing film established in 1845; business life along a single street—21st Avenue, home to Italian and Hispanic communities; a traditional Paterson food—the hot Texas wiener; and remembrances by retired workers.

Offers a 27-title bibliography, annotated links to 32 related sites, and a glossary of specialized terms. Valuable for those studying the intersection of labor and ethnic history, urban history, and the functioning of historical memory.