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Working Then and Now

Studs Terkel

The Studs Terkel Radio Archive/WFMT

In the early 1970s, radio host and oral historian Studs Terkel went around the country interviewing people about their jobs. Studs recorded more than 130 interviews, and the end-result was a book called “Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do.” And — something very rare for an oral history collection — it became a bestseller. “Working” struck a nerve because it elevated the stories of ordinary people – and the most ordinary parts of their daily lives.

After the book came out, the cassettes were packed away in boxes and stored in Studs’ home office. This year Radio Diaries and Project& have been given access to the original raw field interviews, many of which have not been heard in 40 years. This story features Helen Moog, a taxi driver in Youngstown, Ohio and grandmother of five, and Lovin’ Al Pommier, a car hiker in Chicago, Illinois.

This is a pilot for a national initiative from Project& that includes a week-long public radio series that we’re co-producing. Thanks to the Chicago History Museum, WFMT, the Studs Terkel Radio Archive and Studs’ longtime collaborators Sydney Lewis and Lois Baum.

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