Lehigh Valley Apparel Industry

This is a collection of audio interviews with five former apparel-manufacture employees who worked for various Lehigh Valley companies, and in various functions from the 1960s into the 1990s. In the interviews, they address topics such as how and why they entered this business, labor relations, morale among their fellow employees, and the decline of the industry. They also speak of differences among apparel companies, and how full-time work in this industry interacted with their family lives.

Brian Alnutt, professor of history at Northampton Community College, conceived of this project and created this collection. He was aware that the Lehigh Valley was once home to a large decentralized apparel manufacturing industry which employed many thousands of workers, primarily women. This industry went into a steep decline beginning in the 1980s and he noted that little historical attention had been paid to the industry or to its large workforce; this oral history project was an attempt to rectify this absence.

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