Canneries of the Eastern Shore
Even those well versed in Eastern Shore history and culture may be surprised to learn that the area was once dominated by a wide-spread canning industry. Spanning the years from the 1890s to the 1950s and reaching a peak between the two World Wars, a thriving industry did indeed exist with a total of almost a thousand different canning companies, operating at hundreds of locations, places now known only as unusual names on old maps o in the memories of octogenarians interviewed by the author. Supplementing oral testimony with careful research, R. Lee Burton reconstructs the genesis, growth, and vicissitudes of this once flourishing seasonal industry. He is especially attentive to the people involved in the canneries-owners, investors, works. His analysis of the reasons for the industry's decline after World War II takes into account such facts as the sheer drudgery of the work, the competition of giant food chains, and the inability of many owners to adapt to such postwar conditions as the threat of unionization, the availability of better-paying employment, and the increasing number of environmental concerns. A fascinating feature of this work is the amassed collectibles that are represented in the rich selection of illustrations. Here the reader will discover a veritable treasure trove of cannery material, colorful labels, stencils, boxes, and of special note, the metal tokens widely used to pay works.
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