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Audio Recording "They were there with hats in hands."

"They were there with hats in hands."

About this Item


  • "They were there with hats in hands."


  • Hardin, James (Collaborator)
  • Lautenberg, Frank R. (Narrator)
  • Taylor, David Alan, 1951- (Interviewer)

Created / Published

  • 1995-03-22


  • -  Interviews
  • -  Oral history
  • -  Sound recordings
  • -  Textile industry
  • -  Silk industry
  • -  Legislators
  • -  Ethnography
  • -  United States -- New Jersey -- United States--District of Columbia--Washington


  • Ethnography
  • Interviews


  • -  Interview with U.S. Senator Frank J. Lautenberg at his office in the Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C., March 22, 1995. Lautenberg is a native of Paterson, NJ, and he sponsored federal legislation that created the New Jersey Urban History Initiative which, in turn, led to the American Folklife Center's 1994 field research in Paterson.
  • -  Summary of audio segment: Story about FL's father and a friend attempting to take a day off from work into observe a religious holiday when they worked at Dougherty's Silk Mill. "[My father] was embittered by those who took advantage of the working people. And he saw it in many ways. He described the hat-in-hand confrontation with Mr. Dougherty of Dougherty Silk Mill fame. Because he wanted to take the day off and he and his very dearest friend went to ask for a religious holiday off. And the foreman said, 'Sure you can take the day off, just don't come back to work here.' So they went to make an appeal to the owner of the mill--this Mr. Dougherty--and they wouldn't let my father and his friend go in to see Mr. Dougherty. But as luck would have it Mr. Dougherty walked out of the office at the opportune time and they saw him. And the meeting was described not by my father but by the friend whose brother is still active in the labor movement. He retired but he's a well-known name in the labor movement. He's a man in his late eighties I'd say. And he says that they were there with hats in hand (because they wore hats in those days) in awe of the owner of this mill. But [they] explained their situation and said that they didn't want any money, they just wanted the day off. But they desperately need their jobs and they didn't want to lose them. The story goes that he said to them: 'Not only can you take the day off but I'm going to pay you for it.' And the message they came away with was that you had to beg for something you should have had."


  • Analog Audio Cassette

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1995/028: WIP-DT-A027

Source Collection

  • Working in Paterson Project Collection (AFC 1995/028)


  • American Folklife Center

Digital Id

Online Format

  • audio

Rights & Access

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Credit line

Working in Paterson Project collection, 1993-2002 (AFC 1995/028), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Hardin, James, Frank R Lautenberg, and David Alan Taylor. "They were there with hats in hands.". -03-22, 1995. Audio.

APA citation style:

Hardin, J., Lautenberg, F. R. & Taylor, D. A. (1995) "They were there with hats in hands.". -03-22. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Hardin, James, Frank R Lautenberg, and David Alan Taylor. "They were there with hats in hands.". -03-22, 1995. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.