She Died for Our Convenience

A choral haunting at paragon mill

Hearing my parents’ names spoken aloud in the place where they had worked for so many years was very emotional. Though they were very humble people, I think it would have been satisfying to them.
— Elaine Brousseau, Daughter of Genevieve "Jean" Kloza Brousseau, former employee at Paragon Mills

We are surrounded by ghosts. We hear their stories through the objects, buildings, and traditions they’ve left behind. She Died for Our Convenience was a one-night-only choral haunting concerning the women who worked from 1898-1960 in the textile mill at the Earnscliffe Woolen Mill/Paragon Worsted Co. on Manton Ave in the Olneyville neighborhood in Providence, RI.

On the evening of May 4, 2019 we encountered a large community chorus, led by Chrissy Wolpert, singing melodies dedicated to the women at the very place they labored. We endeavored to sing the songs to unsung labor, while remembering that we are all but tomorrow’s ghosts.

Video by Andy Russ

Photos by Maxwell Snyder


Composer & Choral Director:  Chrissy Wolpert

Composer & Choral Director: Chrissy Wolpert

Assistant Director:  Clara Weishahn

Assistant Director: Clara Weishahn

Costume Designer & Fabricator:  Priscilla Carrion

Costume Designer & Fabricator: Priscilla Carrion

Project Consultant/Button Designer & Fabricator:  Emily Shapiro

Project Consultant/Button Designer & Fabricator: Emily Shapiro

Project Consultant/Sound & Documentation:  Andy Russ

Project Consultant/Sound & Documentation: Andy Russ

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Tour Guides

Ronald Kevin Lewis, Hernan Jourdan,Tally Murphy, Rebecca Noon, Tyra Wilson

Thanks to Rhode Island College for support

Developed as part of the Providence Preservation Society’s Sites & Stories Explored initiative

Funding provided in part by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and private funders.