hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


April 4, 2013

Mysteries unveiled

Readers identify shoe workers in old photos


Shirley Campbell wed C. Thomas Campbell on Feb. 21, 1942, and remained married for 61 years.

Her first job in the shoe factory was in the stitching room, tying square knots after the bows were stitched, securing the threads. Many of the workers were paid an hourly wage, while other workers were paid by the piece. Campbell made an average of $20 per week. When work was slow, she was transferred to the packing room. Her job there was to spray each shoe to make it shiny. At times, she got to sit with the women who repaired shoes, allowing her to learn their job.

”Then I was offered work as an ‘odd shoe girl,’” Campbell told the commission.

Women known as the packers would size the shoes in pairs, inspecting each shoe for imperfections. If these women noticed shoes were missing or found imperfections, it was Campbell’s job to find the missing shoe or repair any flaws. After that, the shoes would be ready for delivery to the customer.

Katharine MacGregor Gove wrote to the commission regarding a picture that appeared in the Gazette on Oct. 4, 2012.

”She identified the photo as the second floor children’s department of Bennett’s Shoe Store at 47 Merrimack St.,” Kimball said.

The store owner was Winthrop Brasseur, who was fitting a child for shoes in the photo. The woman seen in the background of the photo while waiting for her child is Suzanne McGregor Pope.

”We received another response to this photo from Carolyn Guiguizian,” Kimball said.

Robert Gardella identified the men in a photo published in the Gazette Aug. 9, 2012, as John Murphy Jr. and his father, John Murphy. Their shoe shop was located in Rock’s Village. The Murphys came from Ireland to Haverhill in 1849, Kimball said.

Another Gazette reader responded to a photo published in October.

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