Staff View
Employees standing in line to receive their pay from paymaster Pratt as the director of the U.S. Mint, Nellie Taylor Ross, looks over the situation

Descriptive

TitleInfo
Title
Employees standing in line to receive their pay from paymaster Pratt as the director of the U.S. Mint, Nellie Taylor Ross, looks over the situation
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Wakamiya
NamePart (type = given)
Momoyo
Role
RoleTerm (authority = marcrelator); (type = text)
Depicted
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Takatsuka
NamePart (type = given)
Yoshiko
Role
RoleTerm (authority = marcrelator); (type = text)
Depicted
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Taylor Ross
NamePart (type = given)
Nellie
Role
RoleTerm (authority = marcrelator); (type = text)
Depicted
TypeOfResource
StillImage
Genre (authority = AAT)
photographs
OriginInfo
DateCreated (encoding = w3cdtf); (keyDate = yes); (qualifier = exact)
1950-06-30
PhysicalDescription
Form (authority = RULIB)
InternetMediaType
application/pdf
InternetMediaType
image/jpeg
Extent
1 image
Abstract
The employees standing in line to receive their pay from paymaster Pratt as the director of the U.S. Mint, Nellie Taylor Ross, looks over the situation. Picture taken on June 30, 1950.
Subject (authority = LCSH)
Topic
Immigrants
Subject (authority = LCSH)
Topic
Laborers
Subject (authority = NJCCS)
Temporal
Postwar Years (1945-1970)
Subject
HierarchicalGeographic
Country
UNITED STATES
State
New Jersey
County
Cumberland County
City
Seabrook Farms (Seabrook, N.J.)
RelatedItem (type = host)
TitleInfo
Title
Seabrook Farms
Identifier (type = local)
SBFarms
Identifier (type = hdl)
http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.3/SBFarms.Photograph.10137
Identifier (type = doi)
doi:10.7282/T3K074XS
Location
PhysicalLocation (authority = marcorg); (displayLabel = Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center)
NjSaECC
Extension
DescriptiveEvent
Type
Digital exhibition
Label
Invisible Restraints: Life and Labor at Seabrook Farms
AssociatedObject
Type
Exhibition section
Relationship
Forms part of
Name
Origins, Innovations, and Early Labor Struggles
Detail
Charles F. Seabrook, commonly referred to as “C.F.,” was born in 1881 and was the son of A.P. Seabrook, a successful truck farmer in Cumberland County. Involved in the family business from an early age, in 1907 C.F. introduced overhead irrigation to his father’s farm, an innovation that helped to increase yields. In 1911-12, C.F. purchased his father’s share of the venture, and assumed full ownership. Under his direction, Seabrook Farms expanded the amount of acreage being tilled, created an industrial-sized greenhouse, and introduced new mechanized equipment. After going bankrupt in 1924 and nearly succumbing to this fate again at the start of the Great Depression, in 1934 Seabrook Farms entered into a partnership with the General Foods Corporation, which owned the patent and brand name to Clarence Birdseye’s recently developed frozen-foods line. In 1934, Seabrook would construct a processing and freezing plant on site, along with a frozen-storage warehouse, revolutionizing how the company did business. By 1938, the company produced two-thirds of the frozen vegetables consumed in the United States, first for the Birdseye brand, and later under its own label. In 1939, Seabrook Farms would also acquire a share in the Deerfield Packing Company, a Canadian concern that marketed canned and frozen vegetables to Canadian and British retailers. Known as the “Henry Ford of Agriculture,” Seabrook prided himself upon building the infrastructure that allowed thousand acres of farmland and an array of plants and warehouses to function as a single, cohesive enterprise. A vertically integrated firm, Seabrook also operated its own transportation subsidiary consisting of a fleet of refrigerated trucks, and C.F. Seabrook personally owned a construction firm that built the company’s numerous facilities.

Over the years, C. F. Seabrook would gain a reputation for being minutely involved in all aspects of his company’s operation. He was constantly at odds with his three sons, whom he brought into the family business. John “Jack” Seabrook would describe his father as someone who was “cold and calculating” to his own family, but at the same time, was “highly successful at projecting a warm, caring, friendly image” to the public at large. The concept of providing housing to employees and their families at Seabrook Farms conformed to the paternalistic business philosophy as well. According to his son, “the family and the business were the same thing.”

In the early years of Seabrook Farms, both the seasonal and year-round workforce was largely comprised of Italian immigrants, often recruited from Philadelphia. The name given to the first houses that Seabrook built and rented to his employees, “The Italian Village,” reflects this ethnic makeup. Italian workers were joined by black migrant laborers from the South, who travelled throughout the Northeast during harvest seasons. Some of these migrant laborers ended up settling permanently in the Bridgeton area.

In April 1934, field and plant laborers at Seabrook organized the independent Agricultural and Cannery Workers’ Industrial Union, and elected Jerry Brown, a black farmworker, as its first president. According to Brown, C.F. Seabrook told him that if he dissolved the union, he would “fire all the Dagoes and just keep colored on,” but he and the union refused to budge. When Brown was fired on April 10, three hundred workers walked off their jobs. Seabrook, facing the complete loss of the company’s cabbage crop and unable to hire replacements on short notice, relented to the wage increase they demanded. In mid-June 1934, when a slack period was about to begin, Seabrook reneged on the increase and reduced hourly wages from 30 cents an hour for men and 25 cents an hour for women to 18 cents. As historian Cindy Hahamovitch notes, “Seabrook must have known that his actions would set off another strike, but this time he was ready.” When a strike committee attempted to meet with him on June 25, they were attacked by vigilantes that the company had hired.

For two weeks, black and white striking workers did battle with the local police force, as well as with vigilantes and members of the Ku Klux Klan whom Seabrook enlisted to break the strike. In one incident that received national and international attention, a group of approximately 250 workers tried to prevent a fleet of tractors from harvesting beets, which local sheriffs, intervening on behalf of the company, dispersed with teargas. When a group of women strikers hopped on the tractors and began throwing bushels of beets back into the field, they were attacked with blackjacks, revolver butts, and billy clubs. Picketing workers who lived in company housing were evicted. As Lester Granger wrote in an article on the strike that appeared in the August 1934 issue of the Journal of Negro Life, Seabrook employees in nearby Bridgeton lived in conditions where “Half-clothed, half-starved, completely dirty children, poor white and Negro, run about in hopelessly squalid surroundings. Frowsy heads look out from half-open doors, through which may be seen badly ventilated rooms crowded with broken furniture and with broken humanity.” Despite the forces arrayed against them, “the strike idea was born in all defiance of South Jersey public attitudes, in all defiance of Klan threats, in all defiance of the traditional belief that Negroes will not strike and that Negroes and whites cannot organize together successfully.” The strike ended only after Francis Perkins, the Secretary of Labor, sent a representative to New Jersey to broker peace. Donald Henderson, a Communist Party member and economics professor who had been fired from his position at Columbia University, encouraged the workers to keep striking, but was overruled and removed. Although Seabrook agreed to rehire striking workers and restore wage levels, the union was not recognized and the company – once federal officials had left – backed away from many of the promises it had made during the official mediation. Black workers who had joined the strike were denied their old positions altogether and the New Jersey state police was brought in to ensure violence did not reignite, arresting laborers who continued to protest.

It was not until 1941, with C.F.’s college-educated sons’ backing, that Seabrook workers were permitted to organize. Employees joined Local 56 of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters Union, a less radical alternative to the United Cannery, Agricultural, Packing, and Allied Workers of America. Since agricultural workers were excluded from the 1935 Wagner Act, the federal statute that guaranteed American laborers’ right to collective bargaining, the more progressive views of the younger Seabrooks on what constituted the fair treatment of workers proved essential to this development. Even with the eventual recognition of the union, the 1934 strike set the tone for C.F. Seabrook’s labor recruitment strategies moving forward. Increasingly his emphasis was on finding workers whose circumstances forced them to more readily accept the conditions that the company imposed.
AssociatedObject
Type
Exhibition caption
Relationship
Forms part of
Name
Employees standing in line to receive their pay from paymaster Pratt as the director of the U.S. Mint, Nellie Taylor Ross, looks over the situation
Detail
Seabrook employees line up for a photo op with Nellie Tayloe Ross, director of the U.S. Mint. A publicity stunt, Seabrook hoped to show the community of Bridgeton just how important his industry was to the local economy. Employees were paid in silver coins which then circulated among local businesses.

Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center, New Jersey Digital Highway
AssociatedObject
Type
Placement in digital exhibition
Relationship
Forms part of
Name
17
DateTime (encoding = w3cdtf)
2016
Note
Seabrook employees line up for a photo op with Nellie Tayloe Ross, director of the U.S. Mint. A publicity stunt, Seabrook hoped to show the community of Bridgeton just how important his industry was to the local economy. Employees were paid in silver coins which then circulated among local businesses.
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Rights

RightsDeclaration (AUTHORITY = NJDH); (ID = rulibRdec0001)
This resource may be copyright protected. You may make use of this resource, with proper attribution, for educational and other non-commercial uses only. Contact the contributing organization to obtain permission for reproduction, publication, and commercial use.
Copyright
Status
Copyright protected
Availability
Status
Open
Reason
Permission or license
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Source

LocalBibID (DATE = ); (TYPE = )
Seabrook, John M. 006 - Arch 2
Shelving
Locator (TYPE = Other)
Seabrook, John M. 006 - Arch 2
SourceTechnical (TYPE = Photographic)
Format (TYPE = )
Photoprint (direct positive)
Color
Black and white
Image
Shape
Rectangle
Orientation
Portrait
Condition
Rating
Good (stable, very usable)
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Technical

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application/x-tar
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DateCreated
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Normal
DisplayOrientation
Portrait
Sampling
SamplingSize
600
SamplingUnit
inch
Storage
Medium
Hard Disk
Format (TYPE = mime); (VERSION = NULL)
image/tiff
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