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Collection Working in Paterson: Occupational Heritage in an Urban Setting

Articles and Essays

  • Historical Maps of the Study Area

    These maps illustrate some of the geographic and architectural features which provide context for understanding the social demographics for the city of Paterson, New Jersey.

  • American Folklife Center Documents Occupational Culture in Paterson, NJ

    A team of researchers from the American Folklife Center has begun a four-month study of occupational culture in Paterson, New Jersey, the nation's first planned industrial area.

  • Twenty-First Avenue: Place of Conjunction

    Introduction: Neighborhood & Work. Paterson's well-defined neighborhoods are populated by people who strongly identify with them — with neighborhoods, or "sections," such as Hillcrest, Lakeview, Peoples' Park, Riverside, Sandy Hill, and Stoney Road. The feeling appears to be rooted in connections between residential and industrial development, between social identity and occupational identity. Therefore, because its exploration could illuminate important intersections between work and other ...

  • Watson Machine International: Microcosm of American Industrial Development

    Historical Depth and Change. Watson Machine International is probably the oldest continuously operated manufacturing firm in Paterson. Founded in 1845, it fabricates and refurbishes a variety of machines used in the wire, cable, and fiber-optics industries; some of its earliest products were machines used in the textile industry.1 The company is a microcosm of American industrial development. From its founding by two British immigrants ...

  • African American Family Business in Paterson, New Jersey

    Migration North after World War II. According to Louis McDowell — preacher, distributor of free food to those in need, and owner of McDowell's Barber Shop, on River Street — Paterson was "itself" between the 1930s and the 1950s. Then, it was "a beautiful little city," one that welcomed his family fresh from their farm in Mississippi. With his older sister leading the charge, ...

  • Narratives of Work: Stories Told by Retired Workers and Their Children

    During the summer of 1994, Center folklife specialist David Taylor led a team of researchers on a four-month study of occupational culture in Paterson, New Jersey. The study, "Working in Paterson," was sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Office of the National Park Service (Philadelphia), under a 1992 federal program, the New Jersey Urban History Initiative (see Folklife Center News, summer 1994).

  • Paterson's Hot Texas Wiener Tradition

    Introducing Hot Texas Weiner. A dozen miles northwest of midtown Manhattan, Paterson, New Jersey, is the home of the Hot Texas Wiener. Each year, the members of the many cultural communities populating this multicultural, multilingual city eat hundreds of thousands of deep-fried beef hot dogs, topped with spicy mustard, chopped onions, and a distinctive chili sauce.