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In 1904 Simon Braen, better known as Sam, took control of a stone quarry at the base of Passaic Falls in Paterson, New Jersey. That day a family business was born, one that has endured to the fifth generation. For decades, Sam Braen and quarry were synonyms throughout Northern New Jersey. During the 1970s Sam Braen and scandal made headlines together. The lessons learned during those dark years changed the family and the company. Rare are the family businesses that endure three generations, much less four or five. This one should soon embrace a sixth. This is an American story of immigrants and entrepreneurs and consciences building a region from holes dug in the hillsides.

About the speaker

Robert Schoone-Jongen is associate professor of history at Calvin College, where he works with student teachers who hope to become high school and middle school social studies teachers. His historical interests are immigration, American social history, and the presidency. 

This talk is part of monthly history colloquia series. These lectures are open to the Calvin community - students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends - and all are welcomed and encouraged to attend. Come early to enjoy refreshments and conversation, and feel free to ask questions or join the discussion at the end.

April 2018
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