Fish Packing
© Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester MA

“There wasn’t a chair in the place….If we were lucky there’d be fish, but if we were waiting for a boat sometimes you’d have to wait all morning long. Course this time of the year it would be desperate because those big doors would be open down stairs and all the breeze would be coming in from the wharves. You had to stand around and wait. You didn’t dare leave because it meant a dollar if you stayed. This was your livelihood. And the top pay that you could make was 33½ cents an hour at that time. And if they wanted you to work seven days a week you worked seven days a week.”

Marjorie Stout When Gloucester was Gloucester: Toward an Oral History of the City, Gloucester 350th Anniversary Celebration Inc. Stout’s later work included directing Action Inc., a social service agency, for over a decade.

“If you look out on the grey green water and you still see the rusting hulls of working fishing boats, this is still Gloucester.” Mark Kurlansky, author
  • Singing on the Nightshift (5:45)

    Hear more from Ms. Stout as she describes what it was like for women to pack fish in tough conditions. Courtesy of Peter Parsons and Peter Anastas. When Gloucester was Gloucester. Towards An Oral History of the City. Thesis excerpt from Harry C. Rice, Jr., 1947 http://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/67124/28165705.pdf

  • Packing Fish

    Prize winning photojournalist, Charles A. Lowe; photos courtesy Gloucester Daily Times and Cape Ann Museum

  • iGetNewEngland Feature - Gloucester (7:11)

    iGetNewEngland Host Greg Boghosian visits the Cape Pond Ice Company in Gloucester, Massachusetts.