This post is written by Thatcher project digitization assistant Christina Baker. Read more about the Thatcher project and collection in previous posts.
We wake up every day to make breakfast, brew our coffee, and get ready for the workday. Every week we go to our jobs and we see the same people. We form bonds and we consider these coworkers our work family. We celebrate births and we celebrate retirements. One person’s achievement becomes good news for all. For the people of Thatcher Glass, those bonds were unbreakable, and the transition from the workday to their home lives was seamless.
While cataloging this collection, I came upon a series of newsletters entitled Thatcher News. It was published every month and was full of stories, reports, jokes, updates from the employees, etc. When I read the first issue, I considered Thatcher News like any other employee newsletter. But I was wrong, and that was made clear by the time I had finished reading the first few issues.
In each issue, we learn about the daily lives of these “Thatcherites” and their families. There were birth announcements and announcements of beloved workers leaving for other opportunities outside Thatcher. Occasionally there was mourning for the passing of a longtime Thatcherite, met with heartfelt words and their picture in that issue. Updates on Thatcherite children were common, along with family photos. Many times new workers were welcomed with their family’s portrait being featured in the newsletter along with a congratulations on the new job.
I also learned some interesting tidbits of information while perusing the newsletters. Did you know that the plant in Elmira had a baseball team? Neither did I! Baseball was taken very seriously, with team officers being elected every season.
Fishing was a favorite pastime for Thatcherites as well, and the summer issues had photos of workers, posing proudly with their “catch of the day.”
We also can’t forget about the champion turtle hunters from the Streator, Ill., plant!
Throughout the issues of Thatcher News, the love that Thatcherites had for their automobiles was apparent. Many issues had announcements of workers’ newest car purchases or photos of workers, proudly standing next to their “Olds” or “Fords.”
Find more images of Thatcherites on our social media channels!
The Rakow Research Library and the Chemung County Historical Society have partnered to catalog and digitize the Thatcher Glass Manufacturing Co. Collection. The collection is part of the Booth Library at the Chemung County Historical Society. This project is supported in part by the South Central Regional Library Council’s Regional Bibliographic Databases and Interlibrary Resources Sharing Program.
The Rakow Research Library is open to the public 9 am to 5 pm every day. We encourage everyone to explore our collections in person or online. If you have questions or need help with your research, please use our Ask a Glass Question service.