March 9th, 2014 marked the two year anniversary of the passing of Oregon folksinger Harry S. Stamper, Jr. His song “We Just Come To Work Here (We Don’t Come To Die)” became the unofficial anthem of the occupational health and safety movement, and it was designated a “classic labor song” by the Smithsonian Folkways record label. During his career, Stamper, who was from Coos Bay, performed at the Great Hudson River Revival, the Highlander Center, and the San Francisco memorial for legendary labor leader Harry Bridges. His work caught the attention of renowned folk musician Pete Seeger, influential folklorist Archie Green and a host of other journalists, documentary filmmakers, scholars and union activists.
The Harry S. Stamper, Jr. Papers, which are part of the collections of the UO Special Collections & University Archives, date from 1955 to 2012 and include rare recordings, written and graphic documents and moving images. Stamper’s life and legacy was also celebrated last year in August 2013 with music, presentations, and an exhibit. In addition, we also highlighted the donation and processing of the collection here. This week we honor him, his collection, and life’s work.
~Nathan Moore (Processing Archivist, Harry Stamper Papers)