Project SummaryThis collection comprises two groups of interviews with Philadelphians: interviews from the early 1980s were conducted by Charles Hardy III, Marc Gallichio, and Judy Levin for I Remember When: Times Gone But Not Forgotten, a public radio series of 13, 1/2 hr. documentaries on the history of Philadelphia in the early 20th century broadcast by WHYY-FM in 1982 and 1983. The interviews document life in Philadelphia's ethnic, working-class neighborhoods, work at the Stetson Hat Company and other industrial workplaces, the influenza pandemic of 1918, city politics and the unsuccessful campaign by Marine General Smedley Darlington Butler enforce Prohibition in the mid-1920s, and generational conflicts between Old World parents and their Americanizing children.
As part of West Chester University’s “Oral History of Philadelphia Immigration,” course taught by Charles Hardy and Janneken Smucker in Spring 2019, students participated in a service-learning project partnering with the Free Library of Philadelphia to conduct oral history interviews at branch libraries with recent immigrants to Philadelphia. Interviewees include those originally from Nigeria, China, Iraq, Liberia, the Soviet Union, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. These interviews complement the earlier interviews by examining the experiences of immigrants today, allowing students to make connections across 100 years of time, comparing and contrasting the experiences of diverse immigrant groups and how the Philadelphia region has received and integrated immigrants into its larger community.
Both sets of interviews are publicly accessible on the public digital history project, Philadelphia Immigration
, a partnership of West Chester University and the Nunn Center.