audio by genre oral history

Folklore Archive Interview #4028: John Hill recalls the 1913-1914 Copper Country Strike

64:03 minutes (58.64 MB)
Stereo 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)

Mr. John Hill talks about life in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula during the 1913-1914 Copper Country Strike. Topics include: the Italian Hall disaster of December 24th, 1913 and its aftermath, the effect of the strike on migration out of the region, living conditions in Calumet during the strike, the wages of miners, the economic fate of the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company, mining accidents, organizing activities of the Western Federation of Miners, violence during the strike and scab workers.

Interview conducted by Douglas J. Aikenhead, Assistant Archivist for the Wayne State University Folklore Archive on August 9, 1967.

Interview with Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, 1962

21:22 minutes (24.45 MB)
Stereo 44kHz 160Kbps (CBR)

A conversation with Elizabeth Gurley Flynn in which she discusses her upbringing and entry into the political scene as the “girl orator,” her organizing efforts and labor defense work on behalf of the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.), and the evolution of her political beliefs. Of particular interest is a description of her arrest under the Smith Act and her years spent in prison at the Women’s Reformatory in Alderson, West Virginia.

Keywords: Industrial Workers of the World, Communism, Socialism, Lawrence Strike, Joe Hill, Herbert Hoover, Bill Haywood, Joe Hill, McCarren Internal Security Act, Smith Act, Palmer Raids, Tom Mooney, Sacco and Vanzetti Trial

Catherine "Babe" Gelles and Shelton Tappes Oral History

23:03 minutes (21.1 MB)
Stereo 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)

In the fall of 1983 Professor James Moore recorded an oral history interview with Shelton Tappes and Catherine "Babe" Gelles, both early organizers for the United Auto Workers Union (UAW). Taped in Tappes’ Detroit home, the interviewees gave firsthand account of 1937's "Battle of the Overpass," a brutal response by members of the Ford Service Department to the UAW organizing effort against Ford Motor Company. The interview lends offers two different vantage points: Gelles’, as that of a member of the UAW's Women's Auxiliary, and Tappes’ as that of a Ford Employee and early Black organizer. Their testimony includes description of brutal assaults on organizers that occurred at the hands of Ford Servicemen, including Walter Reuther, Richard Frankensteen, and Gelles herself; demonstrated anti-union bias by the Dearborn Police Department; description of triage set up in the union hall to attend to the wounded; and UAW organizing efforts that followed the event. The interview was recorded for use in Mass Producing Fords, a documentary for the United Kingdom’s Open University.

Courtesy: James Moore Audio Recordings.

Please note: Due to the personal nature of oral history, the Library prohibits use of the material in any way that infringes on individual right to privacy, or results in libelous statements or slander, in accordance with U.S. law.