Catherine "Cookie" Poulsen, was born in Cleveland in 1950. She was encouraged to interview with Republic Steel through a class assignment. The day after she graduated from high school she started work at Republic Steel in the filing department. Poulsen worked her way up through the ranks at Republic and LTV Steel after the merger in 1984. She worked several departments, including payroll, insurance claims, human resources, and sales. She describes Republic Steel as a family company where all the workers felt like they belonged to something bigger than themselves. Poulsen highlights the relationship between Republic Steel and the environment at the time of the infamous 1969 Cuyahoga River fire, describing the atmosphere in the city and at the company after the incident. Poulsen mentions that although the river catching on fire was terrible, it transformed the steel industry from being polluters to recyclers. Poulsen also notes other setbacks for the steel industry, including pensions, dumping, and the rise of aluminum manufacturing. She describes the production, selling, and loading of steel. Finally, Poulsen discusses the type of people employed at Republic, including women, African Americans and Eastern Europeans.


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Poulsen, Catherine (interviewee)


Nemeth, Sarah (interviewer)


Project Team



Document Type

Oral History


64 minutes

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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