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Clardy, Mary Page

Document Type

Oral History

Date of Interview



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.


All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced without the written permission of Concordia University Library or Thomas Saylor, Department of History, Concordia University, St. Paul.

Mary Clardy - Transcript.pdf (545 kB)
PDF Transcript of Interview with Mary Clardy