1918-1925 Archive of 8 Meticulous, Detailed Diaries of Life in the Industrial Heyday of Philadelphia through the Voice of a Young Married Father Who is Insecurely Employed

By: Unknown

Price: $1,989.99

Quantity: 1 available

Book Condition: Good


On offer is an outstanding collection of diaries. Covering 8 years from the end of WWI until the mid 1920s, they offer a terrific look at an average workingman's daily life in a large urban centre. The diaries are unique in that they lack covers and consist of pages carefully sewn together with strong cord. The diaries are in excellent condition. The author of the diaries is unknown. Context indicates that he is a younger man, married to 'Lillie', and that he has two children - Fannie and George [Mar 31/19]. Context also confirms that he worked for the city at an office located "on the Boulevard". The 'Boulevard' was and remains a local name for the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Boulevard located in Philadelphia, PA. The type of work that he does is not specified but again, context suggests that it involved drafting and/or supervision of construction or roadwork for the city. When he lost his position in August of 1918, it was of enough significance that a reporter from the local newspaper showed up to interview him regarding his termination. In meticulous detail, he chronicles his daily life: "Went down to the Hall in the morning. Saw Proctor in regards to my vacation which he advised me to take beginning next Monday. Got salary and deposited same in Grand Trust Co. Wrote letter to Proctor regarding stove in office. Got home at 1: 30 PM for dinner, after which I went over to the garage and reported to Miss Carroll that the tubes had been stolen out of my machine (car or truck). ... Took Inspectors Daily Reports on Contr 685mBarber Contr to Mr. Proctor who gave them to Chambers for storage" [Jan 31, 1918]; "... Mr. Proctor came out in the afternoon. Took him over to Clem Webb's office to discuss extra excavation matter on 3 ft sewer Contr 2074Took him along down as far as York Road. Got home at 6: 00 PM. Spent evening at home. Lillie went to church in evening" [Feb 27, 1918]. In August, he received the disappointing news that his job was being terminated: "Called me in the office and informed me that letter was on its way advising me that the Director had decided on account of the work on the Boulevard having shut down to abolish my position Sept 1 st. Mr. Proctor expressed regrets for the action taken and offered to do anything he could for me. Returned home at 4: 45. Spent evening at home" [Aug 20, 1918]. A week later, he landed a job at Midvale Steel Co. Midvale Steel Co was established in 1867. Never a company focused on raw tonnage production, it developed a huge reputation as a niche player in the steel market, focusing on scientific management and high-quality products. Midvale operated continuously until 1976 when its last plant closed. The corporate assets were purchased by Heppenstall-Midvale AG, a Swiss-based engineering and heavy lifting manufacturing firm. Interestingly, Heppenstall-Midvale AG had its roots with an 1889 steel manufacturing company formed by Sam Heppenstall in Pittsburg, PA. Our diarist's work at Midvale extended until the end of the year and 1919 opens with him back looking for work. He notes times when he either applied for positions in person [Feb 25, 1919] or by mail [Mar 10, 1919], all without success. He even went back to his former employer to see if he could get his job with the city back. He spent almost the entire year doing a variety of small jobs. However, his diaries indicate that he had adequate income to support his family. He was able to purchase a rental property and at times helped his father on a farm that they owned. He began working more and more with his father on various jobs that related to either surveying or drafting plans and blueprints. His year-end financial record shows that he owned rental properties and a number of investments - railroad stocks, bonds, etc. Over the next five years, his diaries show that he worked with his father on a variety of surveying, drafting and engineering-type jobs. His annual, year-end financial records show a steady increase in earning over the years and in increase in his investment portfolio. Some sample work-related entries include; "Father and I worked all day surveying [ ] Ribbon Mfg Co's tracts at Bath PA. Hoed in garden after supper" [May 31, 1921]; "Father and I worked all day at the Decter for the Bethlehem Construction Co. Spent evening at home" [Apr 11, 1923]; "Father and I started a new line from Industrial Lewistown [ ] to Penn Allen in the afternoon. Mr. Henry Jones of the [ ] Edison Co came to see me at 6: 00 PM in regards to subscription to Lehigh's [ ] Fund…" [Oct 30, 1923]; "... Worked all day at the Penn Allen assisting the Silo Contractor's engineer to XSection silo site..." [Mar 12, 1924]; "...Father and I worked all day at the Nazareth Cement plant making a property survey…"[Aug 29,1925]. In addition to his work record, his diaries are rich in the details of his daily life. He notes the costs of items purchased (and in some cases, passed on as they were deemed too expensive). He comments on the growth and progress of his children - George needing glasses, violin lessons, etc. He is an active member in his community, especially the Masonic Lodge that he belongs to. This is an excellent collection of diaries. For a social historian, especially one focused on early 20th century life in the industrial heartland of Pennsylvania, this is a superb primary resource. It is essentially a well-written, longitudinal study of life in the industrial heyday of 1920s Philadelphia and region. It's detail encompasses work, family life and the interaction with family members and friends in the wider community. All eight diaries contain 365 pages each and are in Good condition. All diaries measure 5x3". ; Manuscripts; 8vo 8" - 9" tall

Title: 1918-1925 Archive of 8 Meticulous, Detailed Diaries of Life in the Industrial Heyday of Philadelphia through the Voice of a Young Married Father Who is Insecurely Employed

Author Name: Unknown

Categories: M. Benjamin Katz, Books & Manuscripts, 20th Century Manuscript, 20th Century Diary,

Publisher: Philadelphia, Philedalphia, PA and Surrounding Area: 1918-1925

Binding: Self-wraps

Book Condition: Good

Seller ID: 0011030

Keywords: Life In 1920s Philadelphia; Midvale Steel Company; Heppenstall-midvale AG, Surveyors, Family Business, Unemployed, Job Seeking, 20th Century Families, Inter-war America, American Dream, Patriarch, Men's Voices Handwritten, Manuscript, Document, Letter, Autograph, Writer, Hand Written, Documents, Signed, Letters, Manuscripts, Historical, Holograph, Writers, Autographs, Personal, Memoir, Memorial, Antiquité, Contrat, Vélin, Document, Manuscrit Papier Antike, Brief, Pergament, Dokument, Manuskript, Papier Oggetto D'antiquariato, Atto, Velina, Documento, Manoscritto, Carta Antigüedad, Hecho, Vitela, Documento, Manuscrito, Papel, INDUSTRY, Unknown Diarists,