The Work They Did: At the United Woolen Tailors Co., Parkersburg, WV

My grandfather, Vincenzo DiNucci, was born and raised in the mountain town of Capracotta. As a young man, he was apprenticed to a tailor.  He came over to the US with tailor friends in early 1900’s, when Italy was in the throes of a very bad economy.  At that time, he was married to Caterina Paglione, and already had two children:  Galliano Giorgio and Maria.

Vincenzo DiNucci and his wife Caterina Paglione
Vincenzo DiNucci and his wife Caterina Paglione

He found diffferent kinds of work on the East Coast, sending money home to his wife, until Mike Carnavale of Carovilli, just down the road from Capracotta, was sent to the East Coast from Parkersburg, West VA, to recruit skilled tailors for the United Woolen Tailors Company,  owned  Arthur J. Hersch. He who believed that the best skilled men in the trade were Italians and Jews. Hersch was an important father figure who encouraged his male employees to create stable relationships. For example, he helped newcomers rent a house, encouraged the single men to marry, and paid to bring over the wives still in the old country.   Furthermore, he urged his employees to send their children to school, and in effect, helped create stable families.

United Woolen Tailors Company, Flood of 1937 in Parkersburg, WV
United Woolen Tailors Company, Flood of 1937 in Parkersburg, WV

It just wasn’t my Grandfather DiNucci who worked at United Woolen. All the other grown children worked for United Woolen:  Aunts Lena, Dorothy, and Dolly, plus my dad Galliano Giorgio (George), along with uncles Ralph and Vince and Mario.  The latter two probably just for a short time. My grandmother Caterina stayed home and cooked and handled the house.  One daughter, my Aunt Perrina, stayed home and helped my mother.  The work of these women made it possible for other household members to hold down a job.

DiNucci Family 1939-40
DiNucci Family 1939-40

I did some research on Mr. Hersch;  it turns out he had a doctorate from Ohio State University!

Barbara Hendrickson

In collaboration with the web site: www.immigrationfromcapracotta.com