Oral History Project at Hagley Preserves Brandywine Valley Stories

The project includes over 150 interviews conducted between 1954 and 1990 by Hagley's staff and volunteers.

The Hagley Library in Wilmington, Delaware has expanded its digitized Brandywine Valley Oral History Project.The project includes over 150 interviews conducted with residents and workers in Northern Delaware. They were recorded between 1954 and 1990 by Hagley’s staff and volunteers.

Interviews focus on the routine lives of those who made their lives in the Brandywine Valley during the latter decades of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth, recalling not only family life and traditions but the hazardous conditions of local industry. Northern Delaware’s industry was then, as it is now, typified in the name duPont, then a major producer of black powder. The company’s diversification and expansion over the century is traced through the stories told in these interviews.

The audio files were digitized from the original magnetic tape recordings in 2013 and 2014. The latest expansion of the project adds text transcripts, making the project accessible to a larger audience, and allowing users to search for specific words and phrases.