Janitor, 1920s

"I've been working steady since I came up from Ohio in 1885. I started out packing celery in shipping crates for 60 cents a day. Now I'm working at city hall as the janitor. Been here for 12 years. Make $1.50 a day. It's a struggle making ends meet. I have nine children to support at home. My two oldest have jobs so that helps out a lot."

-Wilson Pettiford, Black man, age 56

Photo captions: two African American men doing janitorial work at the U.S. Capitol in 1914 (Library of Congress collection); exterior of Corporation Hall on S. Burdick St., where city offices were located before the current City Hall was built in 1931 (Kalamazoo Public Library collection). 

To find more historic photographs and artifacts related to the family of Wilson Pettiford in Kalamazoo, visit KVM's searchable collections database.

A Job for Everyone
  1. Grocer, 1890s
  2. Dressmaker, 1890s
  3. Seamstress, 1890s
  4. Laborer, 1890s
  5. Carriage Builder, 1890s
  6. Cigar Roller, 1890s
  7. Launderer, 1900
  8. Corset Company Forelady, 1900
  9. Card Sorter, 1900
  10. Paper Mill, 1900
  11. Carriage Painter, 1900
  12. Foundry Worker, 1900
  13. Type Setter, 1910s
  14. Teacher, 1910s
  15. Elevator Operator, 1910s
  16. Metal Caster, 1910s
  17. Barber, 1910s
  18. Stationery Packer, 1910s
  19. Seamstress, 1910s
  20. Family Cook, 1920s
  21. Errand Girl, 1920s
  22. Janitor, 1920s
  23. Paper Beaterman, 1920s
  24. Hotel Bell Boy, 1920s