Phone conversations (untaped) with
Mrs. Cordell Hackett Shine (85 years)
On June 23; October 9, 2000 and March 17, 2001
Mrs. Shine started working in the shipping department as a 15-year old girl in Grafton, like her two older sisters Dorothy (six years her senior) and Lorraine (four years older). The two older sisters had started working in the Grafton shipping department in 1928.
Mrs. Shine worked in the Grafton shipping department for about a year, starting in late 1930 until about August 1931. Together with her sisters and another person, the four of them did prepare the packing and shipping of the records. Harry Diggerman did the packing. Four people filled the orders, two men packed, as she confirmed in March 2001. The records were shipped out of the factory by truck which was rented for that purpose. The records were then shipped to the post office and railroad track.
Mr. Walter Klopp was the superintendent of the factory. He was about 5' 7” 1 . She confirmed he looked quite old by then and guessed he would be in his 50s during 1931. Actually he was 41 years by then. He had light brown hair and wore glasses 2 .
At the time Mrs. Shine started working, no big orders from companies came in due to the Depression. There were mainly orders from individuals. These orders sometimes only were for one or two records. At this time Mrs. Shine approximately prepared 25 parcels a day, so with the four people working there only some 100 parcels were prepared per day. Even in 1930/1931 most of these orders were shipped to Southern states.
Although Mrs. Shine started working in the shipping department, eight hours a day at 18 cents an hour, working hours by the end of her "career" in the plant dropped to six hours a day, with only two or three days of work per week. This was due to the lack of orders. She did not get paid for working overtime.
As Mrs. Shine was the last person hired, she was the first one to lose her job, after which she found a regular job in the Grafton woolen mill at 16 cents an hour. Although this meant less money per hour, she had more money coming in as she and her two sisters were part of a family of nine.
Her two older sisters stayed working in the plant until the doors were closed. She confirmed this in March by saying that Lorraine and Dorothy kept on working for the shipping department, even after the close of the recording studio. After the close of the studio the factory was used for liquor storage until Prohibition officers from Milwaukee came in and closed the place down. No local officers were involved, only one local officer was present, watching in the corner.
Up until then the NYRL still shipped records from stock which still was some pretty good business. Franklin Delano Roosevelt ended the Prohibition in August (?) 1933.
When the plant closed most of the people found work in the woolen mill or in Cedarburg. Mrs. Shine remembered that Alfred Schultz was very upset about the close.
She remembered the watertower being torn down. She said they used the waterdam instead. That was the reason for tearing down the watertower, because it had not been used for a while.
This information has been verified with Mrs. Shine on March 17, 2001
1 On March 17, 2001 Mr Ed Kleist said Walter Klopp was 5' 7” or 5' 8”, whereas Janet Erickson thought Mr Klopp was 5' 6” (March 19, 2001)
2 Mrs. Dorothy Bostwick described him as a slender person, always wearing a hat