The Chair City Oral History Book Series
By Nichols & Stone employees
Gardner, Massachusetts: Chair City Community Workshop, 2017-2018.
Edition of 400.
5.2 x 7.5" pamphlets, set of six. Brown text hand-set lead type in Spartan medium. Black text in digital typeface of Palatino Linotype and Gills Sans Light Italic. Woodcuts. Handsewn binding. Matching paper wrapper with title printed on cover. Signed by the storyteller.
Tracie Pouliot: "Gardner, Massachusetts, is known as Chair City because at one time we made the most furniture of anywhere in the world – in particular, chairs. This project documents and presents first-hand accounts of life as a furniture worker in the decades between the boom and the demise of the industry in the U.S.
"Each book explores one individual's experience, memories and point of view, while highlighting fundamental questions of value, purpose and life's meaning.
"This project focuses on Nichols & Stone, the last large factory to close in 2008. Interviewees include sales personnel, supervisors, and assembly-line employees. Topics include the rise of furniture manufacturing in the 1800's; how foreign policy and trade agreements shaped the business; how people built and sustained strong social networks inside the factory; what happens when the factory is no longer there to facilitate social life; the development of identity, purpose and pride; and how unemployment affects individuals and community."
Tracie Pouliot, Colophon: "The paper used … is made at French Paper Company. Established in 1871, French Paper is a sixth-generation, family-owned company that has been manufacturing paper for more than 140 yeas in the same community of Niles, Michigan.
"The woodcuts are inspired by photographs Ben Savoie took in the last days of production at Nichols & Stone and photos I took during interviews."