Philadelphia Immigration

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Philadelphia Immigration is a collaboration between students in West Chester University’s spring 2018 HIS 480: Digital History, HON 451: Immigration and Digital Storytelling, Professors Janneken Smucker and Charles Hardy, archival partner Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries, and numerous regional institutions who have generously supported the project.

This project draws on archival interviews conducted in the early 1980s for I Remember When: Times Gone But Not Forgotten, a series of 13, 30-38 minute radio documentaries broadcast on WHYY-FM, Public Radio in Philadelphia, written and produced by Charles Hardy III. The series explored the history of Philadelphia during its industrial heyday through the memories of those who had lived through it. The programs documented work experiences, family and neighborhood life, the life experiences of immigrants and industrial workers, city politics, the Influenza pandemic of 1918, courtship and romance, and city culture.

The oral history project conducted to produce I Remember When included interviews with thirty-nine women and fifty-eight men. Of these, there were twenty-two first or second-generation Jews, nineteen Italians, seven Irish, six African Americans, four Poles, three Czechs, two Hungarians, one Chinese and one Mexican. The occupational breakdown included factory and construction workers, housewives, lawyers, politicians, business owners, newspaper reporters, labor organizers, doctors, and a professional boxer. More than half of the people interviewed did not make it into programs, so many of these voices are available here for the first time. All of the interviews are archived at the Nunn Center.

Note:  The above descriptive information came from the organization's About page.

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