Mary Clardy Oral History Interview


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Mary Clardy Oral History Interview
Mary Clardy Oral History Interview
December 27 2002
January 6 2003
Mary Page Clardy was born on 21 January 1922 in Manley, Iowa, the oldest of five 
girls; her father worked for the railroad, and for that reason had moved from the 
South some years before Mary was born. Mary attended local schools, graduating 
from Manley High School in 1941. After school she worked from 1941-43 in Manley 
and nearby Mason City, doing domestic work, before deciding that greater 
opportunities awaited in the wartime economy in St. Paul, Minnesota.

In St. Paul, Mary lived with a family friend in the St. Anthony neighborhood, 
and quickly found an assembly line job at Griggs and Cooper, a St. Paul 
manufacturing firm. Over the next two years her sisters joined her in St. Paul, lured 
by the chance for a well-paying job. In 1944 Mary became pregnant, and returned 
briefly to her parents in Manley to have her child.

Following her son’s birth in July 1945, Mary returned to St. Paul; she worked 
at Acme Linen and later Anchor (Regents) hospital, in the dietary division. In 1947 
she married James Clardy (d. 1987), and had two more children. Mary retired in 
1984, but keeps busy with her family and her church, Pilgrim Baptist of St. Paul. At 
the time of this interview (December 2002) Mary lived in St. Paul.

Mary provides the perspective of a young African American woman from Iowa, 
drawn to St. Paul during the war years for the economic opportunities.

Mary Clardy passed away on 17 July 2010. 
1h 36s
Mary Clardy, Interview, National Home Front Project, Washington College, Chestertown Maryland.
Interview was recorded by Thomas Saylor through Concordia University St. Paul for the Starr Center of the American Experience National Homefront Project.
Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota, United States, NA [44.94441,-93.09327] [id:5045360]Manly, Worth, Iowa, United States, NA [43.28718,-93.20215] [id:4866032]Mason City, Cerro Gordo, Iowa, United States, NA [43.15357,-93.20104] [id:4866445]Saint Anthony, Hennepin, Minnesota, United States, NA [45.02052,-93.218] [id:5044290]