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Oneida Limited worker in holloware department

Oneida Community Legacy: Oneida Ltd. Project

The Oneida Community Mansion House is the home of the Oneida Ltd. story and the only museum in America that actively collects and interprets the history and legacy of this worldwide leader in flatware production.

Oneida Ltd. made a huge mark on the people of Central New York through the people they employed, families they supported, services and causes they funded, and the high-quality tableware that helped feed countless families. As part of our efforts to preserve and interpret the story of this special company, OCMH is seeking volunteers to share their stories of what Oneida Ltd. meant to them and how this company impacted their lives.

This is the heart of the oral history project called "An Oneida Community Legacy: Oneida Ltd."

OCMH is deeply interested in recording and collecting these stories. Our aim is to preserve the history of Oneida Ltd. and expand our understanding of the connections between Oneida Ltd. and the Oneida Community. The recordings will be cataloged as an important addition to the Oneida Community Mansion House's collection of museum artifacts, used in museum exhibits, and made available to researchers to preserve memories of the company for future generations. 

Participants will have the opportunity to indicate how they prefer their recording to be used (anonymous, may be used in exhibits, etc.). OCMH will allow access to the recordings by permission only.

Sample questions may include: 

  • What is your connection to Oneida Ltd.?

  • How long have you been connected or associated with Oneida Ltd.?

If you were an employee of Oneida Ltd. some additional questions may include:

  • How did you get your (first) job at Oneida Ltd.? 

  • Did your job responsibilities change over the time you worked for Oneida Ltd.?

  • Is there anything that you think made the company unique as an employer? Can you give some examples from your daily work experience? 

  • What were the ways in which Oneida Ltd. impacted or shaped your life?

  • How important was Oneida Ltd. in your life? What aspect of it had the most impact on your life?

  • What does Oneida Ltd. mean to you or your family?

  • What is the one thing that you want people to know or remember about Oneida Ltd. — for better or worse?

Those interested in volunteering to participate in the project should first submit the Online Volunteer Form or download the PDF version if you prefer Volunteer and Consent Form

When completed forms are received, a project volunteer will call to verify information on the forms and to set up a time for a recording session. Volunteers from OCMH will conduct the recording sessions either by Zoom or in person with an audio recorder at the Mansion House. 90 minutes will be allotted for the session with the option to schedule additional time if necessary.

I was happy to participate in the OL History project since I felt Oneida Ltd. was a unique company that cared for their employees as much, if not more, as running a business….They didn't want to just provide a working place for their employees, they wanted to build a comfortable community that improved the well-being of all.
It is certainly worth studying for future generations to determine if a company with Utopian roots and true feelings for the well-being of community members was the main reason for its success. I think the Oneida Community and Oneida Ltd. was on to something.  

John R., 20+ year OL employee

A note from the Project Director, Dave Hill

OL was unique in many ways. Given all that has happened to the company over the past years – both good and bad – I think it’s important to create a record of “the way it was” for both employees and for the family members who were impacted by the company. One way to preserve those memories is to collect first-person narratives from people who worked in the company’s various departments and from people who lived under the OL umbrella.

“An Oneida Community Legacy: Oneida Limited,” the project involves recording memories former employees and others touched by the company: the day-to-day routines and notable events in the lives of the people whose lives were influenced by the largest silverware company in the world, from the shop floor to the Sales Office to homes in the area. The recordings will be cataloged and used with museum exhibits and to preserve memories of the company for researchers and future generations.  


Additional information about the project may be obtained by contacting:

Linda Evans  315 363-7097

Cathy Cornue  315 363-8339

David Hill

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