• "The Chinese In New England -- The Work-Shop." Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

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    The Chinese In New England--The Work-Shop
    • Date
    • 1870
    • Creator
    • Davis, Theodore R.
    • Description
    • Written on border: "July 23, 1870" Printed on border: "From a sketch by Theo. R. Davis.
    • Standardized Rights Statement
    • http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/
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    • The New York Public Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • Art and Picture Collection. The New York Public Library

  • "Chinese workers outside Sampson Shoe Factory." Courtesy of North Adams Public Library via Digital Commonwealth.

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    Chinese workers outside Sampson Shoe Factory (dark clothes)
    • Date
    • 1860-1879
    • Description
    • Title from item or materials accompanying item. Date supplied by cataloger.
    • Rights
    • Rights status not evaluated. Contact host institution for more information.
    • Partner
    • Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • North Adams Public Library

  • "Hood Rubber Company,” Watertown, Massachusetts. Founded in 1896, Hood Rubber hired many immigrant Armenians and was mainly responsible for the development of East Watertown into an Armenian neighborhood. Courtesy of Watertown Public Library via Digital Commonwealth.

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    Hood Rubber Company -- Watertown (Mass.).
    • Date
    • 1940-1949
    • Description
    • Hood Rubber Company--Watertown (Mass.) during World War II. Work force working on military boots. Frederic and Arthur Hood, trained under their father and after the U.S. Rubber Co. failed in Franklin and Chelsea, MA, founded a factory in 1896 in East... more
      Hood Rubber Company--Watertown (Mass.) during World War II. Work force working on military boots. Frederic and Arthur Hood, trained under their father and after the U.S. Rubber Co. failed in Franklin and Chelsea, MA, founded a factory in 1896 in East Watertown. During the early years, Hood hired many immigrant Armenians and was mainly responsible for the development of East Watertown into an Armenian neighborhood. Hood had its own auxiliary fire department and alarm system. It took half an hour to cover hood?s 88 acres. By 1920, the company employed ten thousand men and women. Hood encouraged employees to attend Americanization classes and established a settlement house known as the Abraham Lincoln House. Employee turnover was exceptionally low and good relationship with the Company existed. Hood produced rubber footwear, gloves, floor tiles, battery boxes, and a variety of hard rubber and plastic-coated products. In 1920, Hood?s tire division, which had started in 1906, was making 35,000 tires a day and the footwear division over 70,000 pairs of shoes daily--ranked first in New England and third in the United States. During WWII, the Company manufactured bullet-proof fuel cells, de-icers for aircraft, plastic helmet liners and aviation boots. The Town and the Company went to Washington D.C. to fight for the Tariff Act of 1955 to which allowed the Company to continue in business. Many a Watertown family became test subjects, as rubber sole shoes were given to the children, to use for one year. They shoes were then returned to Hood for evaluation. Each child would line up and hope to have the correct shoe size being given out that year. B.F. Goodyear purchased Hood Rubber Company in 1929 and Hood became one of their divisions for footwear and Hood tires? division was moved to Akron, Ohio. Hood Rubber paid 10% of the taxed revenue in the Town. Hood Rubber Company closed in 1969. less
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    • Management Restrictions apply. See application form at http://watertownlib.org/research/historic-watertown/photographs. Contact host institution for more information.
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    • Watertown Free Public Library

By 1890, immigrants accounted for approximately one-third of shoe and boot industry workers in the United States. Massachusetts, however, counted a smaller percentage of its workers as foreign-born, as the well-established industry was already staffed by those native to the state. A few immigrant groups, like those from China and Armenia, found both brief and more lasting places in Massachusetts’ shoemaking industry.

In 1870, workers in a unionized shoe factory owned by Calvin Sampson in North Adams, Massachusetts, went on strike for higher wages and a workday shorter than 10 hours. Undeterred, Sampson fired all of his employees and recruited ninety-five Chinese immigrants from California to replace them. The workers were all men who viewed this employment as temporary; most were gone by 1880.

Local shoe factories became communities within communities for many immigrants. Following the Armenian genocide of 1915, in which more than one million Armenians were massacred in World War I, many Armenian men and women immigrated to Watertown, Massachusetts. There, the Hood Rubber Factorya major producer of the state’s shoe and boot solesemployed many recent immigrants, forming a center for this displaced population and providing resources like medical care and English tutoring.