Thursday, April 28, 2016

Noble & Cooley Employees, 1938

This week the archive volunteers took a little time off to visit the Granville library's "history room." There are many impressive collections including various records, family genealogies, photos, artifacts and so on.

We happened to find the photo below, depicting the Noble & Cooley work force on October 7, 1938. Amazingly the index to who's who had been glued to the back of the photo by some wise soul and is also shown here.

Noble & Cooley was Granville's major employer and provided much-needed jobs during many hard times in the rural community of Granville. In many cases local farming families worked at N&C to supplement their farm income, often doing piece-work from home depending on the season and what their farming schedule allowed. Families worked at Noble & Cooley across generations so the sense of community and dedication at the company created strong bonds.

It is worth noting how many members of various families are in the photo: Lees, 7; Petersen, 4; Richards, 3; Collier, 3; Peebles, Trench, Hodge and Jackson, 2 each. If the clock were turned back to 1900 or so you might see many of the same families, plus some Holcombs, Nobles, Rowleys, etc.

As always, you can click on the photo for a larger version:

The photo is all the more fascinating when you consider it was taken during the depths of the Great Depression and everyone shown here is no doubt grateful to have employment. Putting the photo in further context, in 1938 the Nazis invaded and annexed Austria, and began a program of constructing their soon-to-be notorious concentration camps. In September the Great Hurricane of 1938 stuck southern New England. By the day this photo was taken the German occupation of Czechoslovakia had begun. It was becoming clear to an increasing number of people in England and the United States that war loomed on the horizon. Within a few years war would touch the lives of the people of Noble & Cooley, Granville and the world like never before. Grimly historic times indeed.