Collection ID: M.33

Collection context


1919-1983, circa 1995, and undated
The Brass Workers History Project was a group of historians and film makers who were interested in researching the experiences of Waterbury brass workers in the early 1980s. The project collected oral history interviews, original archival materials and copies of reference material. The project culminated in a documentary film called Brass Valley and a book with the same title. This project influenced the Mattatuck Museum's oral history projects and its history gallery.
9 Linear Feet and 10 legal size manuscript boxes, 1 records center carton, 105 cassette tapes, 2 film reels, u-matic tapes, 2 microfilm reels, and 5.48 GB of digital files (pdf, wav, mp3, avi)
English .


Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Scope and Content:

The Brass History Workers Project Collection spans from 1919-1995 and documents the project to learn more about the public history of brass valley workers. The collection is broken into 5 series. One series, Labor Movement, is further divided into 5 subseries that reflect donations of materials about the labor movement from specific individuals, and one general subseries about the labor movement in the Brass Valley. The collection contains photocopies of documents and a diary, handbooks and materials for brass factory employees, newspaper clippings, redacted FBI files, correspondence, scrapbooks, and photographs.

Additionally, there are 51 oral history interviews were conducted with 80 individuals between 1980 and 1981. These are largely on cassette tapes, though some were also videotaped. The video tapes are restricted due to format issues. Additionally, several of the interviews have been restricted due to sensitive content at the request of the interviewee. The oral histories are in the process of being digitized.

Biographical / Historical:

The Brass Worker's History Project was organized in the early 1980s by four people: Janet Stackhouse, Jerry Lombardi, Jeremy Brecher and Hank Murray. The group was influenced by a shared interest in public history: a push away from researching and writing about "the greats" of history, and an investigation into everyday life. In Brass Valley they write: "We see this kind of history, not as an academic exercise, but as a social act, a way people can communicate with each other about their experiences, needs, aspirations, and potentials."(272)

Utilizing new oral history techniques, the Jeremey Brecher and Janet Stackhouse interviewed 80 Brass Valley workers in 51 interviews. They were interested in people's everyday lives, their social clubs and neighborhoods, their work, and their involvement, if any, in labor movements.

Processing information:

The Mattatuck Museum acknowledges that this specific collection includes an oral history that reflect various forms of oppression, including but not limited to offensive and outdated language or negative stereotypes. In order to uphold the principles of free access to our collections, these materials are presented in their original and unaltered forms for research and study to address and confront the racist realities of American history and inform our present moment. By providing online and physical access to these historical documents and objects, the Mattatuck Museum does not endorse any attitudes, prejudices, or behaviors depicted in them. Please let us know if you find materials that may be missing a content warning or if you have suggestions for how we can improve.


63 Prospect St
Waterbury, CT, USA
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