Perry Knitting Company News
Between 1954 and 1957, the Perry Knitting Company (PK) published a monthly news page in the Perry Herald. Today, probably it would bear a label of “paid content,” although it’s unclear whether the PK was charged advertising rates for the full-page section. As the town’s largest employer, what happened at the mill had consequences and impacted thousands of Perry residents. For example there was always a small item concerning accidents or hours lost on the job, and the PK devoted a lot of space to reinforcing this message and its success. But sometimes economic conditions caused slowdowns at the plant, and in these instances we can see the company responding to events and anxieties beyond its control. The Perry Knitting Company News held to a fairly consistent format during its publication. There were photographs and feature stories on employees; promotional pieces on the company’s Nitey Nite line of sleepwear; births, marriages, illnesses and deaths of company employees; and many, many stories about bowling. At top center of each issue was a folksy column written by company president George Traber, Jr., and then beginning late in 1956 his son George Traber 3rd. Given the relative scarcity of archival documents from the PK--not to mention the advanced age of former employees--this collection of 42 issues probably gives us the best insight as to daily life at the mill during the 1950s. It’s an excellent companion to the Clark Rice Photography Collection, since Rice did work for the mill and the “News” sometimes helps explain images in the collection.