Whiting, Indiana: Generational Memory 1991-1993

A Guide to the Collection of Oral History Interviews at Indiana University Bloomington

Finding aid prepared by the staff of the Center for the Study of History and Memory with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Division of Preservation and Access, 2000-2002

Creator: Indiana University Center for the Study of History and Memory
Title: Whiting, Indiana: Generational Memory
Collection No.: ohrc102
Dates: 1991-1993
Quantity:

Quantity: 88 interviews

(Audio files, transcripts, and collateral materials )
Abstract: This collection of interviews primarily delves into the Republican view of Indiana politics from the nineteen twenties to the early nineteen sixties. Major emphasis is placed on both state and national elections and conventions from 1940-1948. The project contains discussions of political campaigns (including finances), the patronage system, and legislation battles. The interviews also reflect on William Jenner by describing his character, beliefs, and influence on Republican politics in Indiana.
Location: Interviews are housed in Franklin Hall, Room 0030A. Contact ohrc@indiana.edu for more information. Copies of interview transcripts are also held by the IU Libraries University Archives. For other locations housing the interviews from this project, please contact the Center for Documentary Research and Practice office.
Language: Materials are in English .
Repository: Center for Documentary Research and Practice
Franklin Hall 0030B
601 E. Kirkwood Avenue
Bloomington, Indiana 47405
ohrc@indiana.edu
URL: https://cdrp.mediaschool.indiana.edu/

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains eighty-eight interviews conducted over three years. All interviews consist of audio tapes and some have typed transcripts.

Restrictions

Usage Restrictions:

The archive of the Center for Documentary Research and Practice at Indiana University is open to the use of researchers. Copies of transcript pages are available only when such copies are permitted by the deed of gift. Scholars must honor any restrictions the interviewee placed on the use of the interview. Since some of our earlier (pre-computer) transcripts do not exist in final form, any editing marks in a transcript (deletions, additions, corrections) are to be quoted as marked. Audio files may not be copied for patrons unless the deed of gift permits it, and a transcript is unavailable for that interview. The same rules of use that apply to a transcript apply to the audio interview. Interviews may not be reproduced in full for any public use, but excerpted quotes may be used as long as researchers fully cite the data in their research, including accession number, interview date, interviewee's and interviewer's name, and page(s).

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[interviewee first name last name] interview, by [interviewer first name last name], [interview date(s)], [call number], [project name], Center for Documentary Research and Practice, Indiana University, Bloomington, [page number(s) or tape number and side if no transcript; if digital audio and no transcript, cite time when quote occurs].

Acquisition Information

Oral history interviews conducted by the Indiana University Center for the Study of History and Memory from 1968 to the present, with particular focus on the history of twentieth-century America and the Midwest.

Collection Inventory

Anonymous , July 21, 1991

No(s): 91-037

Physical Description: 37 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 97 minutes; no index

Scope and Content Note: In this interview, the interviewee relates stories of prejudice, discrimination, and racism aimed at Mexicans, African-Americans, and other minorities in Whiting, Indiana. Also described are the interviewee's family values, the traditional political party affiliation of the interviewee's family and ethnic group, and the nepotism rampant in the hiring practices of many Whiting employers. In addition, generational differences regarding divorce and the interviewee's opinion of the Vietnam War and the welfare system are discussed.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • discrimination
    • divorce
    • Education
    • family values
    • minority groups
    • nepotism
    • political party affiliation
    • racism
    • Vietnam War
    • welfare
    • work ethic

Access Status: Restricted; tapes closed

Anonymous , August 14, 1991

No(s): 91-047

Physical Description: 28 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 60 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: In this interview, the interviewee discusses his family history, his life in Whiting, Indiana, and the deterioration of America and its values that has occurred over the years. He speaks of Slovak immigration and the Slovak community in Whiting, as well as the downside of Standard Oil: unethical work and business practices. In addition, he speaks of the increasing diversity of the area and the artifacts of popular culture he has accumulated from the early twentieth century.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • emigration
    • ethnic diversity
    • family values
    • local artifacts
    • Mexican-Americans
    • nepotism
    • popular culture
    • sex
    • Slovak community
    • unethical labor practices
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Standard Oil Company
    • Westville Hospital

Access Status: Open (interviewee must remain anonymous); Tapes Closed

Belshaw, William , February 24, 1992

No(s): 91-147

Physical Description: 24 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 60 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: William Belshaw, an Indiana native, attended DePauw University and later, Northwestern University School of Law. After spending some time in Illinois, he settled down in Whiting, Indiana, where he worked as an attorney, and eventually, a labor arbitrator. Mr. Belshaw discusses his family history, his work experiences, and his thoughts about how America has changed since World War II.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • attorney
    • labor arbitrator
  • Places:
    • Lowell, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • ethnic diversity
    • labor arbitration
    • law practice
    • Rector's Scholarship
    • Religion
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • DePauw University
    • National Academy of Arbitrators
    • Northwestern University School of Law
    • Standard Oil Company
    • United States Navy

Access Status: Open

Boyle, Austin , November 1, 1991

No(s): 91-145

Physical Description: 26 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 80 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Austin Boyle spent his childhood and the majority of his adult life in Whiting, Indiana. He discusses what Whiting was like during his childhood, his college experiences, and his jobs as a reporter and as a public relations officer for a bank. Mr. Boyle also tells of his experiences in the United States Air Force during World War II. Finally, he shares his thoughts on politics, religion, and family values.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • attendance officer
    • intelligence officer
    • newspaper reporter
  • Places:
    • Chicago, Illinois
    • Mexico
    • New Orleans, Louisiana
    • St. Petersburg, Florida
    • Texas
  • Subjects:
    • D-Day
    • family values
    • Great Depression
    • local politics
    • Mardi Gras
    • petroleum coke
    • Prohibition
    • Religion
    • unions
    • Vietnam War
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Chicago Daily News
    • Inland Steel
    • The New Orleans Item
    • New Orleans Times-Picayune
    • Notre Dame University
    • Standard Oil Company
    • United States Air Force
  • Family Names:
    • Frierson
    • Gore
  • People:
    • Alferez, Enrique
    • Hemingway, Ernest
    • Truman, Harry S.

Access Status: Open

Brown, George , November 28, 1990

No(s): 91-010

Physical Description: 31 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 73 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: George Brown spent the majority of his life in Whiting, Indiana. He discusses the state of the city during several time periods, including World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. After operating a gas station, Mr. Brown went to work for Standard Oil. He speaks of this company's impact on the town and about his work experiences there.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • factory worker
    • gas station owner
  • Places:
    • Gary, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • air quality
    • courtship
    • films
    • Germans
    • Great Depression
    • Marriage
    • Prohibition
    • saloons
    • streetcars
    • tower stills
    • unions
    • United States Civil War
    • vacations
    • World War I
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • AMOCO
    • Fraternal Order of Masons
    • Indiana University
    • Lambda Chi Alpha
    • Standard Oil Company
  • Family Names:
    • Schrage
  • People:
    • Carmichael, Hoagy
    • Nichols, Ed

Access Status: Open

Brummett, Charles , April 9, 1992

No(s): 91-164

Physical Description: 35 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 94 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Charles Brummett moved to Whiting, Indiana from Tennessee in 1960 to find work. He talks about his experiences during World War II and how it changed him. Mr. Brummett also discusses the South and desegregation, including his own perspectives and personal biases. Finally, Brummett talks about how the United States has changed over the years, concluding that the separation of church and state, legalized abortion, and increased drug use have ruined the family values he fought for on the beaches of Normandy.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • factory worker
  • Places:
    • Tennessee
  • Subjects:
    • African-Americans
    • desegregation
    • family values
    • farming
    • local politics
    • school prayer
    • unions
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • United States Army

Access Status: Open

Cheatham, John; Cheatham, Opal , July 28, 1991

No(s): 91-041

Physical Description: 46 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 96 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: John and Opal Cheatham discuss their migration to Whiting, Indiana from the South, their family, the importance of religion in their lives, and their experiences during World War II. In addition, the Cheathams comment on their family values, local employment and the local economy, and local politics.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • cosmotologist
    • dispatcher
    • foreman
  • Subjects:
    • African-Americans
    • child discipline
    • family values
    • labor strikes
    • local economy
    • local politics
    • Religion
    • unions
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Lever Brothers
    • Rand McNally
    • Standard Oil Company

Access Status: Open

Coppi, Jan , June 4, 1991

No(s): 91-138

Physical Description: 30 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 72 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Jan Coppi recalls his childhood, education, and family in Whiting, Indiana. He speaks of local employment and his particular employers, in addition to his local participation in such recreational activities as baseball and hunting.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • dental technician
    • exterminator
    • factory worker
    • fire fighter
  • Places:
    • Wolf Lake, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • baseball
    • Education
    • hunting
    • local business
    • local schools
    • mining
    • Television
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Clark High School
    • Hoosier Theater
    • Inland Steel
    • Lever Brothers

Access Status: Open

Corpus, Maggie , May 14, 1991

No(s): 91-029

Physical Description: 36 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 75 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Maggie Corpus moved with her family to Whiting, Indiana in 1974. She primarily discusses her parents, her childhood, her brothers and sisters, and her own family. She also talks about her work and social experiences in Whiting, particularly focusing on the prejudice she faced as a Mexican American.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • secretary
  • Places:
    • East Chicago, Illinois
  • Subjects:
    • discrimination
    • Education
    • family values
    • hillbillies
    • housework
    • local politics
    • materialism
    • Mexican-Americans
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Inland Steel
  • Family Names:
    • Uñate

Access Status: Open

Curosh, Delores; Curosh, William; DeLuca, Bertha; DeLuca, Michael , March 2, 1992

No(s): 91-151

Physical Description: 87 pages; 3 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 150 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: William and Delores Curosh and Michael and Bertha DeLuca all spent major portions of their adult lives in Whiting, Indiana. Although they primarily discuss their lives in this town, they also talk about their childhoods and families, their lives in Arizona after they left Indiana, and how the country has changed. With regard to their years in Whiting, the Curoshes and DeLucas discuss what it was like raising their families in the community, their employment in Whiting, attitudes toward immigrants there, and religious and political issues within the town.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • electrician
    • store owner
  • Places:
    • Arizona
    • Czechoslovakia
    • Germany
    • Philippines
  • Subjects:
    • Catholicism
    • credit cards
    • emigration
    • family finances
    • Fourth of July
    • Great Depression
    • Greek-Americans
    • Mexican-Americans
    • local airport
    • local crime
    • local politics
    • pollution
    • Religion
    • still cleaning
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • American Trust and Savings Bank
    • Standard Oil Company
    • St. John's Catholic Church
  • People:
    • Truman, Harry S.

Access Status: Open

Dabertin, David , October 11, 1991

No(s): 91-141

Physical Description: 39 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 80 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: David Dabertin, an environmental attorney, grew up in Whiting, Indiana, and continued to live in the area during his adult life. Mr. Dabertin discusses the environmental contamination and pollution in Whiting and how and when this occurred. He also speaks of the companies involved in this contamination and their practices regarding their employees. Finally, Mr. Dabertin talks about his family, his childhood in Whiting, and how much the town has changed.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • environmental attorney
  • Places:
    • Grand Calumet River, Indiana
    • Lake Michigan
  • Subjects:
    • Catholicism
    • conservation
    • drinking water
    • drugs
    • George Lake landfill
    • lead poisoning
    • local politics
    • pollution
    • state environmental controls
    • water filtration
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • AMOCO
    • Calumet College
    • Federated Metals
    • Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs
    • Society of the Precious Blood
    • Standard Oil Company
    • St. John's Catholic Church
    • United Citizens Association

Access Status: Open

Dado, Joseph; Dado, Betty , July 20, 1991

No(s): 91-036

Physical Description: 57 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 90 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Joe Dado grew up in Whiting, Indiana; his wife Betty Dado moved there as a teenager. They remained in Whiting and raised their family there. Mr. and Mrs. Dado primarily speak of their childhoods, their children and grandchildren, and the values and beliefs that are important to them. They briefly discuss how Whiting and its populace have changed over the years and they compare Whiting to Gary, Indiana.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • clerk
    • factory supervisor
    • mechanic
  • Places:
    • Gary, Indiana
    • Hammond, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • 1991 Persian Gulf War
    • divorce
    • family values
    • Great Depression
    • local employment
    • local politics
    • parochial schools
    • Religion
    • unions
    • welfare
    • work ethic
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Whiting Community Center

Access Status: Open

Dewey, Marge , July 30, 1991

No(s): 91-044

Physical Description: 19 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 36 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: In this brief interview, Marge Dewey discusses her life and memories of Whiting, Indiana, including the impact of World War II and the Vietnam War on her life and on Whiting. She speaks of the importance of religion to her life, and comments on local business and the relations among different ethnic groups in Whiting.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • community life
    • ethnic diversity
    • local business
    • Religion
    • unions
    • Vietnam War
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Whiting News
    • Women's Army Corps
  • People:
    • Chrustowski, Stanley
    • Williamson, Eddie

Access Status: Open

Dominiak, Mark; Dominiak, Roberta , April 8, 1992

No(s): 91-162

Physical Description: 39 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 90 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Mark and Roberta Dominiak, long time residents of Whiting, Indiana, describe their memories and perceptions of their childhoods, families, education in local schools, the local economy, and their family values. Roberta Dominiak, a Mexican American, recalls some of the discrimination and harassment she and her family have experienced in Whiting. In addition, the Dominiaks describe community life, the problems posed by the possible introduction of a local airport, and the increasing demographic diversification of the area.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • East Chicago, Illinois
    • Laredo, Texas
  • Subjects:
    • advertising
    • community life
    • ethnic diversity
    • family values
    • local airport
    • local economy
    • local schools
    • Mexican-Americans
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Immaculate Conception Catholic School

Access Status: Open

Dryjanski, Joann; Dryjanski, Raymond , May 14, 1991

No(s): 91-031

Physical Description: 39 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 87 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Joann Dryjanski, born on March 28, 1932, and her husband, Raymond Dryjanski, born on April 3, 1918, discuss their lives in Whiting, Indiana, their employment histories, the increased crime rate in recent years, and the increase in local unemployment. Mrs. Dryjanski recalls her first marriage and the foreign mission work she did in Japan at that time. Mr. Dryjanski speaks a little of his service during World War II and his memories of the Great Depression. In addition, the couple speaks of the ethnic diversity and different neighborhoods of Whiting.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Hammond, Indiana
    • Japan
    • Robertsdale, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • ethnic diversity
    • family values
    • foreign mission work
    • Great Depression
    • local crime
    • local employment
    • steel mills
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Civilian Conservation Corps

Access Status: Open

Dudzik, Helen , February 10, 1991

No(s): 91-019

Physical Description: 33 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 72 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Helen Dudzik, born on November 17, 1916, is a lifelong resident of Whiting, Indiana who recalls her childhood, family, personal employment history, and education in this interview. She speaks of the ethnic de facto segregation that characterized Whiting in her youth, and of other memories, including those of dime stores, home births, the Standard Oil fire of 1955, Roman Catholicism, the prominence of church youth organizations, and World War II. She also discusses local employment, crime, pollution, and changes over the years.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Hammond, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • Catholicism
    • church youth activities
    • community changes
    • dime stores
    • ethnic diversity
    • home births
    • local crime
    • local employment
    • local politics
    • Polish immigrants
    • pollution
    • steel mills
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Standard Oil Company

Conditions Governing Access: Open

Dvorscak, Agnes; Dvorscak, John , March 12, 1991; May 14, 1991

No(s): 91-021

Physical Description: 48 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 90 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: John Dvorscak, born in 1905, and his wife Agnes Dvorscak, born in 1912, discuss their lives in and memories of Whiting, Indiana, including local employment at Standard Oil Company, church-centered community life, the Great Depression, and the increasing materialism of recent years. Mr. Dvorscak describes the cleaning of tower stills at Standard Oil, his activities with industrial baseball teams in the nineteen twenties, job safety, wages, and the cost of living. In addition, the Dvorscaks discuss pollution, local politics, the increase in the area's population of Mexican-Americans, candle workers, and the popular pastimes of attending vaudeville productions and going to the movies. Mr. Dvorscak also speaks of his family's emigration from Austria-Hungary, in which they walked to Bremen, Germany and took a ship to Ellis Island.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Ellis Island, New York
  • Subjects:
    • community changes
    • community life
    • cost of living
    • emigration
    • films
    • Great Depression
    • industrial baseball teams
    • job safety
    • local employment
    • local politics
    • materialism
    • Mexican-Americans
    • pollution
    • still cleaning
    • vaudeville
    • wages
    • women workers
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Standard Oil Company
  • People:
    • Willkie, Wendell L.

Access Status: Open

Etter, Donald , April 8, 1992

No(s): 91-161

Physical Description: 21 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 60 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Donald Etter, born on February 24, 1952, discusses his views on political, religious, and marital commitment, as well as his difficulty completing projects and processes that are of little interest to him. He speaks of religion in general, of the Baptist, Pentecostal, and Catholic faiths, and of his recreational drug and alcohol use in the context of religious restrictions against such activities. In addition, Mr. Etter discusses his ex-wife, his marriage and divorce, and his relationship with his parents.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • alcohol
    • Catholicism
    • drug testing
    • marijuana
    • Marriage
    • Pentecostal faith
    • recreational drug use
    • Southern Baptist Church
    • women's movement
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Fraternal Order of Masons
    • Whiting Baptist Church

Access Status: Open

Etter, Donald , May 15, 1991

No(s): 91-032

Physical Description: 32 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 87 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Donald Etter, born on February 24, 1952, recalls his childhood and life in Whiting, Indiana as the son of Southerners who migrated to the area. He speaks of the benefits of employment at AMOCO, of the ethnic segregation and discrimination that characterized Whiting (decreasingly over the decades since the nineteen seventies), and the religious practices associated with the Southern Baptist Church. In addition, Mr. Etter discusses local politics, the increasing emphasis on environmental pollution, the strength and importance of labor unions, and drug use and experimentation.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Kentucky
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • discrimination
    • drugs
    • ethnic diversity
    • political party affiliation
    • pollution
    • religious practices
    • Southern Baptist Church
    • unions
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • AMOCO
    • Culver Military Academy
  • People:
    • More, Albert

Access Status: Open

Etter, James; Etter, Sara , June 25, 1992

No(s): 91-171

Physical Description: 46 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 115 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: James Etter, born in 1927, and his wife Sara Etter, born on August 29, 1930, discuss their respective families and childhoods, especially during the Great Depression, their marriage, and moving north to Whiting, Indiana to find work after Mr. Etter's service in World War II. They discuss setting up their home in Whiting, and the local industry, ethnic diversity and discrimination, air pollution, community life and social ties, and the local economy there. In addition, the Etters discuss being labeled as Southern "hillbillies" in Whiting, and their deep commitment to the Whiting Baptist Church.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Kentucky
    • La Havre, France
  • Subjects:
    • community life
    • discrimination
    • ethnic diversity
    • Great Depression
    • local economy
    • local industry
    • pollution
    • rural life
    • unions
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Hartford Baptist Church
    • Standard Forge
    • Standard Oil Company
    • Whiting Baptist Church
    • Works Progress Administration

Access Status: Open

Flores, José; Flores, Estela , May 14, 1991

No(s): 91-027

Physical Description: 43 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 85 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: José Flores, born on May 1, 1925, and his wife, Estela Flores, born on October 6, 1928, recall their childhoods and families in Mexico and Texas, respectively, their emigration to the United States, and the life they made for themselves in Whiting, Indiana. The discuss the discrimination they experienced as Mexican-Americans, the increase in the Mexican population of Whiting over the years, the work ethic and family values they transmitted and emphasized to their children, and Mr. Flores' membership in the steel workers' union.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Mexico
  • Subjects:
    • child discipline
    • discrimination
    • emigration
    • family values
    • Mexican-Americans
    • women's movement
    • work ethic
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Inland Steel
    • United Steelworkers of America
  • People:
    • Peña, Raymond

Access Status: Open

Frankowski, Clementine , August 14, 1991

No(s): 91-046

Physical Description: 33 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 79 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Clementine Frankowski, born in 1906, discusses her parents' emigration from Poland, her siblings' diseases and deaths before the advent of antibiotics and modern medicine, and her career as a physician in Whiting, Indiana. Dr. Frankowski speaks of her years in medical school at Loyola University, her medical practice in Whiting, and the sexism she experienced at hospitals such as St. Catherine's. In addition, she comments on how her Catholicism impacted her medical practice, especially in the area of birth control.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • physician
  • Subjects:
    • birth control
    • cancer
    • Catholicism
    • diseases
    • medical practice
    • medical school
    • national politics
    • poverty
    • racial diversity
    • sexism
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • St. Catherine's Hospital
    • Standard Oil Company

Access Status: Open

Gehrke, Betty , September 28, 1990

No(s): 91-004

Physical Description: 27 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 73 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Born in 1911, Betty Gehrke discusses her parents, and her memories of World War I and World War II, including V-E Day and V-J Day. She recalls the 1955 Standard Oil fire and the immediate reactions of the Whiting community to the disaster. In addition, she speaks of the impact television had on daily life and comments on life during the Great Depression. Mrs. Gehrke also discusses pollution, racial diversity, and local politics in Whiting.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • homemaker
    • librarian
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • community life
    • gender roles
    • Great Depression
    • hoboes
    • local politics
    • pollution
    • racial diversity
    • racism
    • Television
    • V-E Day
    • V-J Day
    • World War I
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Plymouth Congregational Church
    • Standard Oil Company

Access Status: Open

Gehrke, Clarence; Gehrke, Betty , October 11, 1991

No(s): 91-142

Physical Description: 51 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 86 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Clarence Gehrke, born in 1909, and his wife, Betty Gehrke, discuss their families and childhoods, and the life they made together in Whiting, Indiana. Much of the interview is dedicated to a description of the collection of the Whiting-Robertsdale Historical Society, the curator of which is Mrs. Gehrke. The Gehrkes discuss World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II in Whiting, as well as Standard Oil, the area's foremost employer and business. In addition, they comment on various local businesses, the industrial modernization that occurred in the nineteen fifties, and the 1955 fire at Standard Oil.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Whiting, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • Danger Keep Out
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • Great Depression
    • industrial modernization
    • local artifacts
    • local business
    • local politics
    • pollution
    • World War I
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Standard Oil Company
    • Whiting-Robertsdale Historical Society
  • People:
    • Mostil, Johnny
    • Mullins, M.L.

Access Status: Open

Gima, Marguerite , November 9, 1990

No(s): 91-007

Physical Description: 46 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 110 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Marguerite Gima, born in 1915, discusses her parents' emigration to America, her family, the ethnic division in Whiting, Indiana, and the changes that have taken place in Whiting over the years. She discusses her family's values, the changing importance attributed to the attainment of American citizenship, and the impact of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Vietnam War on her family and on Whiting. In addition, she recalls Whiting community life and the centrality of the Fourth of July Parade in Whiting in years past.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • East Chicago, Illinois
    • Hammond, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • American citizenship
    • Arabs
    • community life
    • emigration
    • employee benefits
    • ethnic diversity
    • family values
    • Fourth of July
    • Great Depression
    • Greek Orthodox church
    • local business
    • pollution
    • Tourism
    • Vietnam War
    • women's movement
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • American Legion
    • American Maize
    • Greek Catholic Union of the USA
    • Standard Oil Company
  • People:
    • Kopcha, Joseph

Access Status: Open

Grenchik, Philip J. , August 19, 1992

No(s): 91-168

Physical Description: 26 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 78 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Philip J. Grenchik, born in 1938, speaks of his family and life in Whiting, Indiana, giving special emphasis to the history of banking and his career in banking there. He discusses the difficulty in purchasing housing in Whiting because of the stable number of houses and the extremely limited possibility of expansion. In addition, Mr. Grenchik comments on the hidden wealth of Whiting's citizens, largely blue collar workers with strong work ethics who often bought Standard Oil stock and lived frugally. He also discusses the demographic diversity of the Whiting community.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • banker
  • Places:
    • Gary, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • banking
    • ethnic diversity
    • real estate
    • work ethic
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • American Trust and Savings Bank
    • AMOCO
    • Whiting Community Center

Access Status: Open

Gresko, Joseph , May 14, 1991

No(s): 91-023

Physical Description: 38 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 74 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Joseph Gresko, born on February 14, 1921, recalls his family and childhood in Whiting, Indiana, and tells of his work experiences at Standard Oil Company and of his experiences during World War II. He comments on the centrality of religion to Whiting community life, where every parish had a baseball team in the nineteen twenties and nineteen thirties. In addition, Mr. Gresko remembers Prohibition and the bootlegging that occurred. He also discusses the layoffs caused by machinery modernization and technological innovation at Standard Oil, the pensions Standard Oil provided, and his own involvement in local politics.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • bootlegging
    • ethnic diversity
    • hoboes
    • industrial modernization
    • local politics
    • Pearl Harbor
    • pensions
    • petroleum coke
    • pollution
    • Prohibition
    • unions
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • American Legion
    • Standard Oil Company
  • People:
    • Bessignano, Nick
    • Kocan, Helen
    • Schrage, Waller

Access Status: Open

Gresko, Sophie , March 12, 1991; October 11, 1991

No(s): 91-022

Physical Description: 55 pages; 3 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 106 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Sophie Gresko, born in 1902 in Czechoslovakia, recalls her journey to the United States in 1911, her childhood, family, and her adult life in Whiting, Indiana, and her employment history as a young widow with two children to support. She describes the creation of a Slovak bank in Whiting, community life in the town, and the norm among Slovak women of using midwives rather than doctors in giving birth in the first few decades of the twentieth century.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Czechoslovakia
  • Subjects:
    • community life
    • Education
    • emigration
    • midwifery
    • Slovak Dom
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association
    • Liberty Savings and Loan Association
    • Whiting Community Center
  • People:
    • Ciesar, John
    • Kocan, Helen
    • Kozacik, Michael

Access Status: Open

Haynes, Charlotte , December 6, 1990

No(s): 91-011

Physical Description: 29 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 80 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Charlotte Haynes, born on August 16, 1940, discusses her family and upbringing in rural Kentucky, the move to Whiting, Indiana, and her career as a librarian. She speaks of her education, the Civil Rights Movement, her memories of the atomic bombs being dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and of the Vietnam War. She comments on the negative impact her father's alcoholism has on her family and the importance of the Southern Baptist Church to her youth. In addition, she briefly discusses the best and worst United States presidents, in her opinion, and her hobbies of gardening and camping.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • librarian
  • Subjects:
    • camping
    • child discipline
    • Civil Rights Movement
    • Education
    • gardening
    • Southern Baptist Church
    • Vietnam War
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Whiting Library
  • People:
    • Johnson, Lyndon Baines
    • Truman, Harry S.
    • Reagan, Ronald Wilson
    • Roosevelt, Eleanor

Access Status: Open

Herakovich, Elizabeth , May 30, 1991

No(s): 91-135

Physical Description: 19 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 47 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Elizabeth Herakovich, born on August 3, 1929, joined by her husband, Robert Herakovich, discusses how and when she and her husband met, her experiences during World War II, including having five brothers in the service, and her children. She recalls attending the 1964 New York World's Fair and traveling with her husband and children, and she shares her opinions on the Vietnam War, pollution, and local crime. In addition, Mrs. Herakovich comments on her education and employment history.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • New York, New York
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • 1964 New York World's Fair
    • local crime
    • pollution
    • Vietnam War
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Standard Oil Company
    • State Bank of Whiting

Access Status: Open

Herakovich, Robert , May 30, 1991

No(s): 91-048

Physical Description: 34 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 64 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Robert Herakovich, born on December 20, 1919, recalls his family and childhood in Whiting, Indiana, and describes the physical changes that the environment and real estate of Whiting have undergone. He discusses his work in and the importance of the steel mills, Standard Oil Company, and AMOCO to Whiting. In addition, Mr. Herakovich speaks of his service in World War II, and his memories of the 1955 Standard Oil fire.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Gary, Indiana
    • India
    • Whiting, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • family values
    • steel mills
    • unions
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • AMOCO
    • Standard Oil Company

Access Status: Open

Hiduke, Carolyn; Hiduke, Andrew , March 3, 1992

No(s): 91-154

Physical Description: 60 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 106 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Carolyn and Andrew Hiduke speak of their respective youths and families in Whiting, Indiana, the family values with which they were reared and which they later adopted, and employment in Whiting. The Hidukes discuss the grocery store they owned, Mr. Hiduke's career as a probation officer in the juvenile courts, and their move to Arizona for retirement. In addition, they comment on their opinion that society is breaking down and that American culture has become increasingly materialistic.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • probation officer
  • Places:
    • Arizona
    • Hessville, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • 1929 stock market crash
    • child discipline
    • community life
    • juvenile court
    • materialism
    • Vietnam War
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • St. John's Elementary School
    • Union Tank Car Company
  • People:
    • Cunningham, Wayne
    • Truman, Harry S.

Access Status: Open

Hlebasko, Mary; Hlebasko, George , November 8, 1990

No(s): 91-005

Physical Description: 58 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 99 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: George Hlebasko, born in 1907, and his wife, Mary Hlebasko, born in 1910, each recall their family's history of emigration to America from Czechoslovakia, their childhoods in Whiting, Indiana, and their education at Catholic schools. The speak of local businesses, the importance and role of Standard Oil in their lives, local politics, and community life in Whiting. In addition, the Hlebaskos discuss the many houses they have built over the years and the change in associated costs, as well as the disintegration of modern society represented by increased divorce rates and the lack of child discipline.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • child discipline
    • class segregation
    • community life
    • Czechoslovakian immigrants
    • divorce
    • Fourth of July
    • Great Depression
    • local crime
    • local politics
    • pollution
    • still cleaning
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Congress of Industrial Organizations
    • Kolar's Saloon
    • St. John's Elementary School
    • St. Mary's Byzantine Church
    • Standard Oil Comapny
  • Family Names:
    • Hlebasko
    • Suranich

Access Status: Open

Hodges, Wade; Hodges, Jimmie , May 15, 1991

No(s): 91-033

Physical Description: 39 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 69 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Wade Hodges, born on December 13, 1949, and his wife, Jimmie Hodges, born on October 12, 1950, each recall their childhoods and families in Arkansas, their move to Whiting, Indiana, and they discuss their children, Jason and Travis, who are present for part of the interview. The Hodges relate their respective employment histories, and Mr. Hodges emphasizes the benefits of working at AMOCO and being a member of the labor union there. In addition, the Hodges speak of their family values and views on and experiences with child discipline.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Arkansas
  • Subjects:
    • child discipline
    • family values
    • unions
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • AMOCO
    • Standard Oil Company

Access Status: Open

Homco, Edward C. , November 9, 1990

No(s): 91-008

Physical Description: 27 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 60 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Father Edward C. Homco, born in 1919, discusses his family, childhood, and the tight-knit Slovak community in Whiting, Indiana. He speaks of the recent trends of materialism and individualism as contributing to the breakdown of society. In addition, Father Homco comments on the Catholic priesthood, experiences in different parishes and with fellow priests, and on his memories of Prohibition and Whiting's Fourth of July parade.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • Catholic priest
  • Places:
    • Czechoslovakia
    • Whiting, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • Americanization
    • community life
    • Fourth of July
    • materialism
    • Prohibition
    • Slovak Dom
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • AMOCO
    • Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
    • Society of the Precious Blood
    • St. John's Catholic Church

Access Status: Open

Hovanec, Florence , August 18, 1992

No(s): 91-167

Physical Description: 32 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 72 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Florence Hovanec, born on September 18, 1918, recalls her parents and childhood in Whiting, Indiana, the life she made there raising her own family, and community life in general. She discusses her memories of the Great Depression, the changes in family values that she has observed over the years, and the increasing diversity of Whiting's population. In addition, Mrs. Hovanec speaks of the importance of Catholicism and her church in her life.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • Catholicism
    • community life
    • ethnic diversity
    • family values
    • Great Depression
    • immigration quotas
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • St. John the Baptist Church

Access Status: Open

Jancosek, George , January 28, 1991

No(s): 91-017

Physical Description: 24 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 85 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: George Jancosek, a dentist and orthodontist born on September 5, 1932, recalls his family and childhood in Whiting, Indiana, growing up with no central heating or hot water, and the work ethic and emphasis on education he gained from his Czechoslovakian parents. He speaks of local politics, the importance of Catholicism, the strong cultural ties in the community, and the setting up of his dental practice in Whiting. In addition, Mr. Jancosek cites America's moral degradation and increased materialism as some of the major changes that have occurred over the years.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • dentist
    • orthodontist
  • Places:
    • Austria-Hungary
    • Gary, Indiana
    • Korea
  • Subjects:
    • Catholicism
    • dental practice
    • Education
    • local politics
    • morals
    • pollution
    • Slovak immigrants
    • steel mills
    • Vietnam War
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Standard Oil Company
    • United States Army
  • Family Names:
    • Bercik
  • People:
    • Roosevelt, Franklin Delano

Access Status: Open

Jancosek, JoAnn , January 29, 1991

No(s): 91-016

Physical Description: 22 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 57 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: JoAnn Jancosek, born on February 23, 1940, recalls her youth and family in Whiting, Indiana, where her father was a police officer and she had to take over many of the household duties because her ailing mother was unable to perform them. One of her earliest memories is of the Standard Oil fire in 1955. She describes local politics, her participation in Polish folk dancing and her vague memories of World War II. In addition, she speaks of her college education and life in Robertsdale, Indiana.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Robertsdale, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • garbage burning
    • local politics
    • Polish folk dancing
    • pollution
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • AMOCO
    • St. Adalbert's Catholic Church
    • University of Detroit Mercy

Access Status: Open

Jancosek, John , February 9, 1991

No(s): 91-014

Physical Description: 40 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 111 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: John Jancosek, born on December 24, 1919, recalls his childhood and family in Whiting, Indiana, experiences in the United States Navy, and his wife and marriage. He remembers the Great Depression and how it brought family values and a very strong work ethic to the forefront, both within his family and in the community of Whiting. Mr. Jancosek discusses the discrimination Slavs were often subjected to, his memories of the 1955 Standard Oil fire, the negative aspects of labor unions, and the pollution that has characterized Whiting and its environs. In addition, he speaks of his United States Navy service prior to and during World War II, and also during the Korean War.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • China
    • Japan
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • community life
    • discrimination
    • Education
    • ethnic diversity
    • Great Depression
    • home remedies
    • pollution
    • unions
    • work ethic
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Standard Oil Company
    • United States Navy

Access Status: Open

Judson, James , November 13, 1991

No(s): 91-146

Physical Description: 23 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 43 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: James Judson, born on April 21, 1916, recalls his family and life in Whiting, Indiana, including his experiences traveling and performing with Father Lach's band in the United States and in Europe. He discusses his views on women working outside of the home and relates his memories of being in the United States Coast Guard during World War II. In addition, Mr. Judson speaks of working in New Jersey and his work as a chemist.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • chemist
  • Places:
    • New Jersey
  • Subjects:
    • national economy
    • women workers
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Standard Oil Company
    • United States Coast Guard

Access Status: Open

Jurbala, Anne M. , August 19, 1992

No(s): 91-169

Physical Description: 25 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 54 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Anne M. Jurbala, born in 1924, recalls her family and youth in Whiting, Indiana, how she met her husband and their life together, and the tight-knit Slovak community of which she was a part. She remembers the effects of World War II on her life, and, prior to that, the financial struggles she and her family experienced during the Great Depression. A devout Catholic, Mrs. Jurbala speaks of the importance of prayer and the centrality of religion to her life.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Czechoslovakia
    • Gary, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • Catholicism
    • community life
    • Great Depression
    • national politics
    • pollution
    • women workers
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • AMOCO
    • Dance Land

Access Status: Open

Kaminsky, Ann Marie , May 14, 1991

No(s): 91-026

Physical Description: 38 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 98 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Ann Marie Kaminsky, born on November 17, 1914, recalls her family, childhood, marriage, and life in Whiting, Indiana in this interview. She discusses community life, the work ethic of her parents and of her own generation, and she shares her memories of the 1955 Standard Oil fire.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • work ethic
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Standard Oil Company

Access Status: Transcript Open; Tapes Closed

Kasper, Jim; Kasper, Beth , July 27, 1991

No(s): 91-040

Physical Description: 56 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 96 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Jim and Beth Kasper, born on June 19, 1964 and December 21, 1963, respectively, discuss each of their parents, families, and childhoods in Whiting, Indiana. They speak of the development of their relationship, the values they share, and the role of Catholicism in their lives. In addition, they comment on the moral disintegration of the country, the national economy, and on national politics.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • Catholicism
    • college education
    • family values
    • national economy
    • national politics
    • personal finances
    • real estate
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Republican Party

Access Status: Open

Kirk, Leonard; Kirk, Lucille , July 20, 1991

No(s): 91-035

Physical Description: 33 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 80 minutes; index; poem by interviewee

Scope and Content Note: Leonard Kirk, born on September 6, 1924, and his wife, Lucille Kirk, born on August 13, 1926, each recall their childhoods and families, and they discuss their relationship and the life they made for themselves in Whiting, Indiana. The Kirks speak of community life and retirement in Whiting, their memories of the Great Depression and World War II, their values, and of the shift in values toward materialism that characterizes modern America.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • community life
    • family values
    • farming
    • Great Depression
    • retirement
    • unions
    • World War II

Access Status: Open

Klemm, Barry , December 18, 1992

No(s): 91-173

Physical Description: 71 pages; 3 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 171 minutes; index; 4 photographs of interviewee

Scope and Content Note: Barry Klemm, born in April of 1947, recalls his youth in Whiting, Indiana, and extensively discusses each of his parents and his grandparents, and his relationship with each of them. He also thoroughly describes his employment history and career, which began in the steel mills and expanded to construction, real estate, and finally, the professional business world. Mr. Klemm retains especially strong memories of the assassination of President Kennedy and the Standard Oil fire of 1955. In addition, he speaks of his values, especially of the value his father placed on self-sufficiency and of his contact with, participation in, and opinions of labor unions.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • real estate agent
  • Places:
    • Indianapolis, Indiana
    • Lafayette, Indiana
    • Paducah, Kentucky
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • Cold War
    • community life
    • family values
    • John F. Kennedy assassination
    • pollution
    • unions
    • women workers
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Condes' Restaurant
    • Inland Steel
    • Whiting Community Center
    • Youngstown Sheet and Tube
  • Family Names:
    • McTague
  • People:
    • McTague, Jerome "Mick"
    • Plewniak, Ron

Access Status: Open

Koch, Albert R. , February 19, 1991

No(s): 91-020

Physical Description: 39 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 100 minutes; index; photo of interviewee, articles by interviewee

Scope and Content Note: Albert R. Koch, born on January 21, 1941, shares his memories of his youth, parents, and family in Whiting, Indiana, expressing his love for the area and for his parents and the values they taught him. Mr. Koch speaks of his education at Whiting High School, his work at Inland Steel, and his college education at Indiana State University. He describes community life in Whiting, the impact of Catholicism on his life, and he discusses his philosophy of life.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • author
    • industrial technology teacher
    • librarian
  • Subjects:
    • Catholicism
    • community life
    • Education
    • family values
    • Radio
    • Vietnam War
    • work ethic
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Indiana State University
    • Inland Steel
    • Standard Oil Company
    • Thorton Fractional North
    • Whiting High School
  • People:
    • Neville, Mark
    • Truman, Harry S.
    • Yanas, Andy

Access Status: Open

Kompier, Alexander , April 6, 1991

No(s): 91-140

Physical Description: 51 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 120 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Alexander Kompier, born in November of 1916, recalls his family and youth in Whiting, Indiana, sharing his memories of Prohibition and the Great Depression. He speaks of his service in World War II and how his time spent in an infantry unit in Sicily, Algiers, and England, among other places, stimulated a lifelong love of world travel. After his discharge, he returned and completed his undergraduate and master's degrees with the help of the GI Bill. In addition, Mr. Kompier discusses community life in Whiting, the building of a new marina there, its ethnic diversity, and the high quality of its schools.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • high school teacher
  • Places:
    • Algiers
    • Bloomington, Indiana
    • Sicily
    • Soviet Union
  • Subjects:
    • Education
    • ethnic diversity
    • Great Depression
    • Prohibition
    • Whiting marina
    • world travel
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • George Rogers Clark High School
    • Indiana University
    • Northwestern University
    • Salvation Army
    • Standard Oil Company
    • Whiting Community Center
    • Whiting High School
  • People:
    • Homman, Florence

Access Status: Open

Kosalko, Gayle , July 23, 1991

No(s): 91-039

Physical Description: 27 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 63 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Gayle Kosalko, born on March 30, 1949, discusses her family history and home life growing up in Whiting, Indiana, as well as her own husband and children and their life in Whiting. She speaks of her college education, her political affiliation and Republican beliefs, teaching, and her memories of the Vietnam War and John F. Kennedy assassination. In addition, she describes her involvement in local community youth musical theater productions.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • community theater
    • Education
    • family values
    • John F. Kennedy assassination
    • national politics
    • teaching
    • Vietnam War
    • women workers
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Park College
    • Pennsylvania Avenue Players

Access Status: Open

Kovach, John , July 23, 1991

No(s): 91-038

Physical Description: 25 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 52 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: John Kovach describes the many differences between the lives of his parents, Czechoslovakian immigrants, in Whiting, Indiana, and his own life in Whiting. He discusses his employment at Standard Oil Company, pollution and local politics, his memories of the Great Depression, and briefly highlights his experiences serving in the infantry during World War II. In addition, he shares his opinion on the best and worst United States presidents.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • community life
    • ethnic diversity
    • Great Depression
    • local politics
    • pollution
    • steel mills
    • unions
    • women workers
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Dance Land
    • Standard Oil Company

Access Status: Open

Kraly, Rosemary M. , January 22, 1992

No(s): 91-156

Physical Description: 28 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 72 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Born on May 28, 1926, Rosemary M. Kraly discusses her memories of the private bootlegging that occurred in Whiting, Indiana, during Prohibition, and she speaks of how she met and married her husband. A longtime homemaker, she comments on local employment, her education at Clark High School, and the expectation that she would work immediately after high school until she was married. In addition, Mrs. Kraly recalls the 1955 Standard Oil fire.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • homemaker
  • Places:
    • Streator, Illinois
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • gambling
    • pollution
    • Prohibition
    • Whiting MacNamara basketball team
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Clark High School
    • Standard Oil Company

Access Status: Open

Kus, Leo J.; Michalak, Frank , March 8, 1991

No(s): 91-024

Physical Description: 45 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 131 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Leo J. Kus, born on June 7, 1919, and Frank Michalak, born on December 8, 1917, recall their childhoods and coming of age in Whiting, Indiana. They speak of their experiences during the Great Depression and World War II, their employment at Standard Oil Company, and their experiences with labor unions. They discuss Whiting's community life and the changes it has undergone over the years. Mr. Kus cites the main problem of America as the replacement of faith in God by unfounded faith in man.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • construction pipe fitter
  • Places:
    • Poland
  • Subjects:
    • Catholicism
    • community life
    • ethnic diversity
    • family values
    • Great Depression
    • local industry
    • local politics
    • Religion
    • unions
    • women workers
    • work ethic
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Dance Land
    • Democratic Party
    • Standard Oil Company
    • Whiting Community Center
  • People:
    • Miller, R.B.
    • Roosevelt, Franklin Delano

Access Status: Open

Kus, Leo J. , October 11, 1991

No(s): 91-143

Physical Description: 23 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 60 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Leo J. Kus, born on June 7, 1919, describes the importance of Standard Oil Company to the town of Whiting, Indiana, his years of employment there, the benefits, the union, and the work ethic associated with his years there. He discusses his family, the effects of the Great Depression on local employment, and the high value he placed on education for his own children.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • construction pipe fitter
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • employee benefits
    • family values
    • Great Depression
    • labor strikes
    • layoffs
    • unions
    • work ethic
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Standard Oil Company
  • People:
    • Swearingen, John

Access Status: Open

Labda, Mildred , November 8, 1990

No(s): 91-006

Physical Description: 46 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 75 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Mildred Labda, born in 1903, recalls her childhood, her emigration to America from Czechoslovakia, and her youth and life in Whiting, Indiana. She extensively discusses her family, husband, and children, including their employment and participation in World War II. Mrs. Labda speaks of community life, the Slovak Lutheran Church, and national politics in this interview, as well as emphasizing the importance of religion and a strong work ethic in her life.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Czechoslovakia
  • Subjects:
    • emigration
    • Great Depression
    • national politics
    • Religion
    • Slovak Dom
    • Slovak Lutheran Church
    • work ethic
  • People:
    • Haluska, George
    • Labda, Gerald
    • Labda, Godfrey
    • Labda, Lodie
    • McKinley, Martha Labda

Access Status: Open

Labus, Paul , May 4, 1993

No(s): 91-175

Physical Description: 22 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 54 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Paul Labus, born on October 24, 1955, describes his youth and family growing up in Whiting and Hammond, Indiana. He discusses his career as a painter, his limited employment history, the strong work ethic of his father, and the impact of the Vietnam War on his generation. In addition, Mr. Labus remembers the enjoyment he experienced during Whiting's annual Fourth of July parade and carnival.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • painter
  • Places:
    • Hammond, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • Fourth of July
    • pollution
    • racism
    • Vietnam War
    • work ethic
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Humes and Berg

Access Status: Open

Labus, Stanley , April 6, 1991

No(s): 91-139

Physical Description: 47 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 76 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Stanley Labus, born on November 6, 1926, discusses his Polish parents and their emigration to America early in the twentieth century and recalls his family and childhood in Whiting, Indiana. He speaks of his service in the United States Navy during World War II. In addition, he comments on the values transmitted to him by his parents, the role of Catholicism in his life, his employment at AMOCO, and the activities of the Ku Klux Klan in Whiting in the past.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • East Moline, Illinois
    • Poland
  • Subjects:
    • 1933 National Industrial Recovery Act
    • Catholicism
    • community life
    • Education
    • emigration
    • family values
    • Great Depression
    • local employment
    • local politics
    • steel mills
    • unions
    • Vietnam War
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • AMOCO
    • Keyes Fibre Corporation
    • Ku Klux Klan (1915- )
    • Standard Oil Company
  • People:
    • Clark, George Rogers
    • McKenna, Joseph
    • Roosevelt, Franklin Delano

Access Status: Restricted (transcript open; tapes closed)

Marcisz, John J. , March 3, 1992

No(s): 91-152

Physical Description: 65 pages; 3 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 129 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: John J. Marcisz, born on December 4, 1913, discusses his parents' emigration from Poland, his childhood in Whiting, Indiana, and the emphasis on discipline and Catholic values that characterized his youth. He speaks of his father's years at Standard Oil, and the health problems, including black lung, that his father experienced as a result of the poor working conditions that defined his job as a still cleaner. Mr. Marcisz describes the ethnic diversity of Whiting and hypothesizes that few African-Americans lived in the area until recently because of the community's racism. He also recalls playing the sousaphone and trombone in Father Lach's traveling band when he was in high school.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Arizona
    • Dreamland Villa, Arizona
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • African-Americans
    • Catholicism
    • child discipline
    • discrimination
    • ethnic diversity
    • family values
    • Great Depression
    • local politics
    • pensions
    • racism
    • still cleaning
    • unions
    • working conditions
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Standard Oil Company
  • People:
    • Marcisz, Joseph
    • Marcisz, Mary

Access Status: Open

Massoels, Richard , December 14, 1992

No(s): 91-176

Physical Description: 17 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 35 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Richard Massoels discusses his family and their Slovak ancestry, and emphasizes the importance of family, which he believes to be deteriorating in modern America due to such phenomena as the increased divorce rate. In addition, he recalls his education in Whiting, Indiana, the values he grew up with, and he describes his life in Whiting.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • child discipline
    • family values
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • AMOCO
    • Midway Airlines
    • St. John the Baptist Elementary School

Access Status: Open

Mattingly, Betty L. , November 15, 1990

No(s): 91-009

Physical Description: 23 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 109 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Betty L. Mattingly discusses her parents, growing up with ten brothers and sisters in a two bedroom house, and the discipline that characterized her youth. She describes her employment history and goes on to speak about her role in the United Citizens Association, created in response to the threat of Calumet College draining George Lake, sand mining it, and turning it into a land-fill.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • George Lake, Indiana
    • Robertsdale, Indiana
    • Wolf Lake, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • child discipline
    • ecological activism
    • ethnic diversity
    • family values
    • George Lake drainage
    • pollution
    • prostitution
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • AMOCO
    • Calumet College
    • United Citizens Association
  • People:
    • Christian, Ray

Access Status: Open

Mattingly, Betty L. , April 8, 1992

No(s): 91-160

Physical Description: 27 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 60 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Born in 1933, Betty L. Mattingly describes the hard lives of her parents, how they met, and the value they placed on education. In addition, she discusses her extended family, including her mother's relationship with her many brothers and sisters, and their lives, careers, and current whereabouts.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Tennessee
  • Subjects:
    • poverty
  • Family Names:
    • Christian
  • People:
    • Christian, Elsie Mary

Access Status: Open

McNinch, Estela , February 25, 1992

No(s): 91-148

Physical Description: 35 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 67 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Estela McNinch, born in July of 1964, discusses her parents' move from Texas and Mexico to Whiting, Indiana, the discipline she recalls from her childhood and adolescence, and her memories of her youth in Whiting, in general. She speaks of her high school class and the direction of the lives of some of her classmates. In addition, Mrs. McNinch, a Mexican American herself, comments on the role and experiences of Mexican-Americans in Whiting, and of diversity and discrimination in the town.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • discrimination
    • divorce
    • ethnic diversity
    • family values
    • hillbillies
    • Mexican-Americans

Access Status: Open

Miller, Victoria , February 5, 1991

No(s): 91-013

Physical Description: 33 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 98 minutes; index; photograph of interviewee

Scope and Content Note: Victoria Miller, born in December of 1919, discusses her Slovak and Hungarian background, her youth in Whiting, Indiana, which was characterized by her suffering of acute eczema, and the trials of life with an alcoholic and often abusive father. She speaks of her life, marriage, and children in this ethnically diverse community. In addition, she describes her interest and participation in handwriting analysis, community theater, and healthy eating.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Whiting, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • alcoholism
    • community theater
    • domestic abuse
    • eczema
    • ethnic diversity
    • family values
    • handwriting analysis
    • healthy eating
    • Marriage
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • AMOCO
    • Marion Theater Guild
    • The Patchworks
  • People:
    • Kennedy, John Fitzgerald
    • Kennedy, Ted

Access Status: Open

Mores, Mary R. , April 30, 1992

No(s): 91-165

Physical Description: 37 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 95 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Born in 1924, Mary R. Mores discusses her Czechoslovakian ancestry, her parents, grandparents, and siblings, and her youth and life in Whiting, Indiana. She speaks of the conditions and details of her mother's migration from Czechoslovakia to the United States at the age of 15. Ms. Mores describes community and family life in Whiting, emphasizing the centrality of Roman Catholicism. In addition, she shares her beliefs regarding several supposed appearances of the Virgin Mary, the negative social impact of television, and environmental pollution in Whiting.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Czechoslovakia
    • Ellis Island, New York
    • Fatima, Portugal
    • Lourdes, France
  • Subjects:
    • Catholicism
    • community life
    • family life
    • family values
    • Great Depression
    • immigration experiences
    • pollution
    • Television
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • St. John's Catholic Church
    • Standard Oil Company
  • Family Names:
    • Jakubovi
  • People:
    • Bush, George, Sr.
    • Grenchik, Steven
    • Mores, Matthew
    • Sagan, Rose
    • Truman, Harry S.
    • Ustanik, Agnes

Access Status: Open

Novosel, Joseph, Jr. , October 15, 1990

No(s): 91-003

Physical Description: 33 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 73 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Joseph Novosel, Jr., born on November 17, 1960, discusses his Yugoslavian family background, his parents and family, and his youth and adult life in Whiting, Indiana. He speaks of the air and water pollution that occurred in Whiting as a result of heavy industry there, as well as his participation in the United Citizens Association to prevent further environmental pollution. He discusses and describes his education, career, community life, political beliefs, and the local economy.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • construction worker
    • engineer
  • Places:
    • Gary, Indiana
    • Hammond, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • Dance Land fire
    • ethnic diversity
    • family values
    • local economy
    • pollution
    • racism
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Midwest Limousine Corporation
    • United Citizens Association
  • People:
    • Reagan, Ronald Wilson

Access Status: Open

Novosel, Joseph, Sr. , October 15, 1990

No(s): 91-002

Physical Description: 38 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 120 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Joseph Novosel, Sr., born on March 15, 1924, speaks of his parents, who emigrated from Croatia/Yugoslavia, and his youth in Whiting, Indiana. He discusses his participation in Boy Scouts, hunting, and fishing as a boy, as well as his memories of Prohibition, bootlegging, and a suicidal boarder who lived with his family for a time. In addition , he speaks of his attempts to enter military service in World War II, his career as an electrician, labor unions, and the area's economy and politics.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • electrician
  • Places:
    • Croatia
    • George Lake, Indiana
    • Wolf Lake, Indiana
    • Yugoslavia
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • community life
    • ethnic diversity
    • family values
    • fishing
    • hunting
    • Jewish businesses
    • local economy
    • local politics
    • morals
    • Prohibition
    • religious divisions
    • unions
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Standard Oil Company
  • People:
    • Klodischitz, Steven

Access Status: Open

Obermiller, William , January 17, 1991

No(s): 91-012

Physical Description: 17 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 47 minutes; index; photo of interviewee, 9 articles about interviewee, Whiting Historical Society newsletter

Scope and Content Note: William Obermiller, born on June 22, 1923, recalls his childhood and life with his parents in Whiting, Indiana. A attorney and judge with experience in naval intelligence in World War II and the Korean War, Mr. Obermiller discusses his Catholic upbringing, the values he retains from his parents and his religion, and his application of those values through civic activities and voluntarism. In addition, he speaks of his wife and daughters and the impact television has had on the culture and speed of communication in the United States. Mr. Obermiller also remembers such events as the Pearl Harbor attack and the big Standard Oil fire in 1955.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • attorney
    • judge
    • naval intelligence officer
  • Places:
    • Taiwan
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • Catholicism
    • family values
    • Television
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Carmelite Home for Girls
    • Standard Oil Company
  • People:
    • Obermiller, Anne

Access Status: Open

Odlivak, Albert , July 29, 1991

No(s): 91-043

Physical Description: 18 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 48 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Albert Odlivak, born on February 19, 1930, discusses the happiness of his childhood and adult life in Whiting, Indiana, the disciplined upbringing and family values he received from his parents, and the importance of the Greek Catholic church in his life. He emphasizes the value of the work ethic of his parents' generation and the importance of education, recalling his own years in Whiting's public elementary and high schools. In addition, Mr. Odlivak speaks of his memories of World War II and the Vietnam War, the changing aspect of local employment, and the rebirth of his love of drawing and painting.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • city water department superintedent
  • Subjects:
    • Education
    • family values
    • local employment
    • painting
    • Vietnam War
    • work ethic
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Standard Oil Company

Access Status: Open

Palko, Ann; Badnarik, Elaine , April 30, 1992

No(s): 91-166

Physical Description: 64 pages; 3 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 130 minutes; index; brief history of Whiting, Indiana

Scope and Content Note: Ann Palko, born in 1913, and Elaine Badnarik, born in 1934, each discuss the story of their antecedents' emigration to the United States from Slovakia, then part of Austria-Hungary. They speak of their youths in Hegewisch, Illinois, the process of Americanization as evidenced by family photographs, family values, and the importance of Catholicism in community life. Ms. Badnarik reveals her interest in genealogical research by relating many stories of her family and ancestors, both in Slovakia and America. Ms. Palko speaks of her work at Standard Oil, while Ms. Badnarik discusses being employed at Republic Steel. Both women emphasize generational differences in the Whiting community, including a lack of religious and traditional values in youth.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Austria-Hungary
    • Hegewisch, Illinois
    • Orava, Czechoslovakia
  • Subjects:
    • Americanization
    • Catholicism
    • cultural traditions
    • discrimination
    • family values
    • Fourth of July
    • Great Depression
    • immigrants
    • local controversy
    • Rosary clubs
    • Whiting centennial
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Daughters of Isabella
    • Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
    • Republic Steel
    • St. John's Catholic Church
    • St. Theresa Ladies' Parish Club
    • Standard Oil Company
  • Family Names:
    • Grenchik
  • People:
    • Gima, Mary Cerep
    • Gima, Michael
    • Kennedy, John Fitzgerald
    • Rajcany, Benedict
    • Palko, Andro

Access Status: Open

Plemons, Frank; Plemons, Joyce; Collins, Carol , May 15, 1991

No(s): 91-030

Physical Description: 51 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 78 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Frank Plemons, born on April 12, 1929, his wife, Joyce Plemons, born on October 29, 1938, and Carol Collins, born on April 14, 1948, discuss their background, families, and youth in Tennessee and their move to Whiting, Indiana to find jobs. They speak of the discrimination they experienced as Southerners in a primarily eastern European ethnic area. In addition, they stressed generational differences in family values, family size, and the degree of materialism, as well as discussing the best and largest employers in Whiting.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Lenoir City, Tennessee
  • Subjects:
    • cost of living
    • discrimination
    • electricity
    • ethnic diversity
    • family size
    • family values
    • materialism
    • regional differences
    • technological changes
    • unions
    • work ethic
    • working conditions
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Inland Steel
    • Lever Brothers
    • U.S. Steel
  • People:
    • Plemons, Gary

Access Status: Open

Pukac, Michael; Pukac, Julia , March 2, 1992

No(s): 91-153

Physical Description: 66 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 103 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Michael Pukac, born on November 15, 1922, and his wife Julia, born on February 26, 1922, recall their respective childhoods and adult lives in Whiting, Indiana. They discuss their employment histories, citing the importance of such major employers as AMOCO/Standard Oil and Lever Brothers, and the changes brought about by labor unions. The couple speaks of generational religious differences. The Pukacs also describe the benefits of living in their Arizona retirement community, as opposed to Whiting. In addition, they comment on minority job quotas at AMOCO, the 1955 Standard Oil fire, and the problems faced by the local community in Whiting.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • travel agent
  • Places:
    • Czechoslovakia
    • Robertsdale, Indiana
    • Sun City, Arizona
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • Americanization
    • Catholicism
    • community life
    • Great Depression
    • minority groups
    • political party affiliation
    • pollution
    • religious philosophy
    • retirement
    • unions
    • Whiting city disrepair
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • AMOCO
    • Congress of Industrial Organizations
    • Standard Oil Company

Access Status: Open

Saliga, George J. , August 14, 1991

No(s): 91-045

Physical Description: 21 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 53 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: George J. Saliga discusses his family history, Czechoslovakian heritage, and early life in Whiting, Indiana in this interview. He speaks of his work at Standard Oil Company and of his service in Italy and northern Africa in World War II. In addition, Mr. Saliga speaks of his time in Father Lach's band, playing at Carnegie Hall, and touring Europe with the band in the late nineteen thirties.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • ethnic diversity
    • Father Lach's band
    • mortar shells
    • unions
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Dance Land
    • Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
    • Standard Oil Company
  • People:
    • Losinski, Adam

Access Status: Open

Sandrick, James , January 23, 1991

No(s): 91-018

Physical Description: 30 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 68 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: James Sandrick, born on May 3, 1943, describes his youth in Robertsdale, Indiana, the local neighborhood, local employers, and the values he learned from his parents. He discusses one of his most important memories, Whiting's centennial celebration, and also speaks of Whiting's renowned annual Fourth of July parade. Mr. Sandrick talks about class distinctions in Whiting society and neighborhoods, as well as local air and water pollution, and the quality of local schools.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • insurance agent
  • Places:
    • Chicago, Illinois
    • Gary, Indiana
    • Hammond, Indiana
    • Robertsdale, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • family values
    • Fourth of July
    • local real estate
    • local schools
    • political party affiliation
    • pollution
    • social classes
    • steel mills
    • Vietnam War
    • Whiting centennial
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Standard Oil Company
    • Star Theater

Access Status: Open

Scully, Anne V. "Peg" , January 24, 1991

No(s): 91-015

Physical Description: 43 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 96 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Anne V. "Peg" Scully, born on July 12, 1905, describes her family, her childhood and adult life in Whiting, Indiana, and her employment history. She discusses her father's tavern, its demise during Prohibition, her days as a flapper, and Al Capone's gang activities in Whiting. In addition, she recalls the old movie theaters in Whiting and some home remedies used during her childhood.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Hammond, Indiana
    • Stiglitz Park, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • Americanization
    • Capone gang
    • Education
    • flappers
    • home remedies
    • movie theaters
    • Prohibition
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • St. John's Catholic Church
    • Standard Oil Company

Access Status: Open

Semancik, Lillian , November 2, 1992

No(s): 91-170

Physical Description: 14 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 50 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Lillian Semancik discusses her Slovakian heritage, her Slovakian immigrant parents, and her childhood and adult life in Whiting, Indiana. She compares the cost of living in her youth to that of the present day, and describes the closeness of the Slovak community in Whiting. In addition, she speaks of the death of her father from pneumonia, before the advent of antibiotics, when she was still a child.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • cost of living
    • Slovak community

Conditions Governing Access: Open

Slack, Christopher; Slack, Esther , April 7, 1992

No(s): 91-163

Physical Description: 61 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 94 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Christopher Slack, and his wife, Esther Slack, who was born in 1964, describe their lives and respective families in Whiting, Indiana. Mrs. Slack describes growing up as a Mexican American in Whiting, while Mr. Slack describes his own Slovak family history and his traditional perception of gender roles. Also discussed are the primary employers in Whiting, family values, and generational differences with regard to activities of youth. They comment on the changing demographics of the Whiting community, as well as the increase in local crime.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • East Chicago, Illinois
  • Subjects:
    • alcohol
    • Catholicism
    • community life
    • Education
    • ethnic diversity
    • family values
    • Fourth of July
    • gender roles
    • local airport
    • local crime
    • local politics
    • marijuana
    • Mexican-Americans
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Standard Oil Company

Access Status: Open

Sotak, David , February 25, 1992

No(s): 91-149

Physical Description: 29 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 66 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: David Sotak discusses his childhood and adult life in Whiting, Indiana, describing it as a "closed community" where all long-time residents know each other. He speaks of the values he learned from his parents and the changes in employment conditions and job security in Whiting. In addition, he comments on his memories of the nineteen sixties and the hippie movement in Whiting.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • family values
    • job security
    • local employment
    • materialism
    • nineteen sixties
    • work ethic
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Clark High School
    • Standard Oil Company

Access Status: Open

Sotak, Joseph J. , November 6, 1991

No(s): 91-144

Physical Description: 46 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 108 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Born on February 9, 1914, Joseph J. Sotak discusses his years as a worker at Standard Oil and as a leader of the labor union. A professional basketball player in his youth and a member of the Coast Guard during World War II, Mr. Sotak speaks of the changes in unionization at Standard Oil Company over the years and of the repercussions of the fire in 1955 at Standard Oil. In addition, he shares his opinion of the newer generation of workers, including Mexican-Americans.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • divorce
    • labor strikes
    • Mexican-Americans
    • prejudice
    • professional basketball
    • racial diversity
    • riveting
    • still cleaning
    • unions
    • welding
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • AFL-CIO
    • AMOCO
    • Oil Chemical and Atomic Workers Union
    • Standard Oil Company
  • People:
    • Endres, Art

Access Status: Open

Stawitcke, Beatrice H. , February 13, 1992

No(s): 91-158

Physical Description: 29 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 70 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Born on February 26, 1913, Beatrice H. Stawitcke relates details about her ancestry, her parents and childhood in Whiting, Indiana, and her employment history as a pianist, beginning in the years of the Great Depression. She recalls the community's immediate reactions to the 1955 fire at Standard Oil Company, and the repercussions of that explosion. In addition, Mrs. Stawitcke describes the increase in immorality she perceives to have taken place, beginning in the post-World War II era.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • pianist
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • Andrews Sisters
    • community life
    • ethnic diversity
    • Fourth of July
    • Major Bowles Amateur Hour
    • musicians' union
    • religious beliefs
    • World War I
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • AFL
    • Dance Land
    • Whiting Flower Shop
  • People:
    • Ahlgren, Oscar

Access Status: Open

Tokarz, Dorothy; Tokarz, Edward , March 2, 1992

No(s): 91-150

Physical Description: 59 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 113 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Edward Tokarz, born on August 15, 1916, and his wife, Dorothy Tokarz, born on February 2, 1922, recall their respective childhoods, parents, Eastern European ethnic backgrounds, and adult lives in Whiting, Indiana. Mr. Tokarz speaks of his years as an employee of Standard Oil Company, describing his memories and the repercussions of the explosion and fire at Standard Oil in 1955. The couple recalls how they met, and comment on the importance of prayer in their daily lives, the pollution in and around Whiting, and generational differences in worker motivation, crime rates, drug abuse, and divorce.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • George Lake, Indiana
    • Sun City, Arizona
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • credit cards
    • divorce
    • George Lake landfill
    • layoffs
    • local crime
    • pollution
    • prayer
    • still cleaning
    • substance abuse
    • Television
    • Vietnam War
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • AMOCO
    • Congress of Industrial Organizations
    • Standard Oil Company

Access Status: Open

Uñate, Romualdo; Uñate, Elva , January 20, 1993

No(s): 91-174

Physical Description: 73 pages; 3 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 150 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Romualdo Uñate, born on October 28, 1929, and his wife Elva Uñate, born on December 28, 1933, discuss their respective childhoods and youths in Mexico, their parents, siblings, and upbringing there, and their move to Whiting, Indiana, soon after their marriage in 1953. They speak of cultural and generational differences with regard to gender roles and work ethic. In addition, the Uñates emphasize the importance of Catholicism in their lives and the fact that education was a high priority for their children. Mr. Uñate also comments on his years working for Inland Steel, labor union activity there, and the problem of local unemployment.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • East Chicago, Illinois
    • Zaragoza, Coahuila, Mexico
  • Subjects:
    • Catholic school tuition
    • Catholicism
    • Education
    • gender roles
    • local employment
    • Mexican-Americans
    • unions
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Inland Steel

Access Status: Open

Villalon, Hector , December 19, 1992

No(s): 91-172

Physical Description: 101 pages; 4 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 195 minutes; index; 4 photographs of interviewee, interview notes, interviewee's genealogy

Scope and Content Note: Born on January 13, 1945, Hector Villalon relates details about his Texas childhood, his parents, his early entrance into the United States Army, and his status as a champion boxer while stationed in Germany. He also summarizes his job history, from newspaper delivery routes as a child, to a high level security position working for Dr. Wernher Von Braun, to his years and promotions at AMOCO. He comments on the importance of Roman Catholicism in his life and of the emphasis he placed on education for his children. In addition, Mr. Villalon discusses the ethnic diversity of Whiting, Indiana, urban growth, in general, and the generational differences that have resulted in a decrease in the degree of parental supervision of their children and an increase in drug abuse.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Brownsville, Texas
    • Cicero, Illinois
    • Mexico
  • Subjects:
    • Catholicism
    • ethnic diversity
    • family values
    • Iwo Jima battle
    • John F. Kennedy assassination
    • Mexican-Americans
    • photography
    • substance abuse
    • unions
    • urban changes
    • work ethic
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • AMOCO
    • Bishop Knoll Institute
    • Ballet Folklorico
    • United States Army
  • People:
    • Block, Harlon H.
    • Pavlo, Andy
    • Perot, Ross
    • Sullivan, Gene
    • Von Braun, Wernher

Access Status: Open

Weller, Dennis , May 14, 1991

No(s): 91-028

Physical Description: 39 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 79 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Dennis Weller, born on May 25, 1951, describes his childhood and adult life in Whiting, Indiana, citing major generational differences in the areas of community spirit, local demographics, and standards of property upkeep. He discusses his employment history, beginning at Youngstown Sheet and Tube, and culminating as Whiting chief of police. In addition, Mr. Weller comments on the job security associated with various employers, his memories of meeting his wife, and on the importance of local politics.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • police officer
  • Subjects:
    • community pride
    • family values
    • job security
    • local politics
    • pheasant hunting
    • political party affiliation
    • Religion
    • unions
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Youngstown Sheet and Tube

Access Status: Open

Westerfield, Anna , April 7, 1992

No(s): 91-159

Physical Description: 43 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 74 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Anna Westerfield, born on June 7, 1965, joined by her mother, discuss the differences apparent in their lives between southern rural and northern urban cultures. Christian values, the Baptist faith, and prayer are emphasized as important in the lives of both women, though their description of southern culture included several examples of racism. In addition, Ms. Westerfield spoke of her employment history and her appreciation of a more urban life-style.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Kentucky
  • Subjects:
    • Baptist faith
    • family values
    • gender roles
    • high school education
    • interracial marriages
    • prayer
    • racism
    • women workers

Access Status: Open

Westerfield, Herschel; Westerfield, Beverly , July 26, 1991

No(s): 91-042

Physical Description: 44 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 90 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Herschel Westerfield, born on November 19, 1933, and his wife Beverly Westerfield, born on July 24, 1935, recall their respective childhoods, memories, and traditions rooted in rural Kentucky. They share their memories of the Great Depression and World War II, as well as life before electricity and indoor plumbing. In addition, they speak of the family and Christian values they have as the foundation of their life and family.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Kentucky
  • Subjects:
    • alcohol
    • electricity
    • family values
    • Great Depression
    • indoor plumbing
    • Kentucky oil fields
    • local crime
    • urban changes
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Whiting Southern Baptist Church

Access Status: Open

Whiting, Jack D.; Whiting, Joyce E. , March 5, 1992

No(s): 91-155

Physical Description: 61 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 92 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Jack D. Whiting, and his wife, Joyce E. Whiting, discuss their respective parents, ancestries, and childhoods in Whiting, Indiana. Mr. Whiting speaks of his year in the service during World War II and his years working for Standard Oil Company. Mrs. Whiting recalls being written about by Life magazine for her cheerleading innovations and the letters she received from American servicemen abroad during World War II because of the magazine coverage. The couple also discusses pollution and local politics in Whiting, as well as the layoffs that followed the 1955 fire at Standard Oil.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Sun City, Arizona
    • Whiting, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • cheerleading
    • Fourth of July
    • layoffs
    • local politics
    • Pearl Harbor
    • pollution
    • rhythmnastics
    • vaudeville
    • Vietnam War
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • John J. Wargo Agency
    • Life
    • NIPSCO
    • Standard Oil Company
  • People:
    • Elliott, Ray
    • Wargo, John J.
    • Whiting, William

Access Status: Open

Wickhorst, Doris , July 19, 1991

No(s): 91-136

Physical Description: 35 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 77 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Doris Wickhorst, born on August 20, 1918, describes her childhood and adult life in Whiting, Indiana, her German ancestry, and her employment history. She recalls her experiences and memories of the Great Depression and World War II, including war rations. In addition, she speaks of the 1955 Standard Oil fire.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Gary, Indiana
  • Subjects:
    • 1955 Standard Oil fire
    • coal heating
    • Great Depression
    • Vietnam War
    • war rations
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Standard Oil Company

Access Status: Open

Williamson, Edward , July 23, 1991

No(s): 91-137

Physical Description: 23 pages; 1 tape, 1 7/8 ips, 58 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Edward Williamson, born on July 28, 1962, discusses his childhood, the effects of his parents' divorce, and his life in Whiting, Indiana. He speaks of his employment history, beginning as a paper boy and ending as circulation manager for the Whiting News Company. In addition, he emphasizes the importance of education and comments on the changes in local employment over the years.

Indexed Terms:

  • Subjects:
    • divorce
    • local employment
    • local wealth
    • pollution
    • Vietnam War
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • AMOCO
    • Hoosier Theater
    • Immaculate Conception Catholic School
    • Video Data Services of Northwest Indiana

Access Status: Open

Williamson, Lorraine , May 16, 1991

No(s): 91-034

Physical Description: 53 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 105 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Lorraine Williamson, born on January 24, 1927, joined by her mother, Sophie Gresko, discusses her memories of her childhood in Whiting, Indiana, including her participation in the opening parade of the Chicago World's Fair in 1933. She recalls the Great Depression, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars, during which she was in the diplomatic foreign service in East Asia. In addition, she and her mother discuss their Czechoslovakian heritage and culture, as well as the importance of education.

Indexed Terms:

  • Places:
    • Czechoslovakia
    • Florida
    • Korea
  • Subjects:
    • 1933 Chicago World's Fair
    • apple strudel
    • Education
    • ethnic diversity
    • family values
    • Great Depression
    • Korean War
    • Vietnam War
    • worker's compensation
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Inland Steel
  • People:
    • Kocan, Helen

Access Status: Open

Wunder, Rudolf H., Sr. , October 22, 1990

No(s): 91-001

Physical Description: 23 pages; 2 tapes, 1 7/8 ips, 97 minutes; index

Scope and Content Note: Rudolf H. Wunder, Sr., born on June 27, 1910, discusses his emigration from Germany, his father's service in the German army during World War I, and his brother's service in the United States Army during World War II. He speaks of celebrities he waited on while working at the Windemere Hotel in the nineteen twenties, including Babe Ruth, and he recalls Prohibition and the Great Depression. In addition, he comments on his successful career as a hairdresser, cosmetologist, and businessman in Whiting, Indiana.

Indexed Terms:

  • Occupations:
    • hairdresser
  • Places:
    • Chicago, Illinois
    • Germany
  • Subjects:
    • 1919 Treaty of Versailles
    • celebrities
    • family values
    • inflation
    • unions
    • World War I
    • World War II
  • Corporate Bodies:
    • Windemere Hotel
  • People:
    • Ruth, George Herman, Jr. "Babe"
    • Stagg, Alonzo

Access Status: Open