October 3, 2018

Cracotan Paper Stock Men of New York (Part 9)

Paper Stock List–1932
Photo courtesy of the Craco Society
Reprinted from the October 2018 Craco Society Bulletin
Consolidating Presence—During the period between the World Wars (1918-1939) the Cracotan presence in the paper stock in New York became solidified. By this time, there were two generations working in the industry as sons joined the businesses established by their immigrant fathers. The industry served as an opportunity for employment to many of the Cracotan immigrants arriving prior to 1924 when the US closed immigration. Many of them lacked education, trade skills and couldn’t speak English but were able to connect with their paesani who were established in the paper stock business. They could obtain jobs based on their willingness to do the hard labor the job required. Comfortable with employers they knew and trusted and being able to converse with them and the other employees in the dialect they spoke the new immigrants felt secure in their employment as they struggled to assimilate. 
As Cracotan immigrants got settled they usually moved to better housing than initially available in the Manhattan tenements but remained within commuting distance to the areas where the paper stock buildings were located, generally along the Lower East Side. As their children became educated sons joined the businesses and provided energy to expand operations. This trend would continue until after WWII when economic and social changes impacted the industry.