Catalog Number
Electric Refrigerator Recipes and menus
Date of Origin
General Electric
5.5 X .5 in.
Blue, hard cover book, titled " Electric Refrigerator Recipes and Menus",144 pages. White rectangle on the cover, with white oval inside.  Oval filled in black with white lettering.
This book belonged to the donor, a 30 year employee at Holland's General Electric plant. The following company history is from Robert Swierenga's book "Van Raalte's Vision", pages 1022-1024.

"In 1953 the chamber of commerce, headed by William Vande Water and Clarence Klaasen, gained its biggest prize ever by snagging the $5 million General Electric (GE) motor plant from several competing cities. GE was the first “outside” multinational company with a union workforce—the International Union of Electrical Workers (IUE-CIOAFL)—to locate in Holland, a provincial enclave of sixteen thousand residents. The impact on the quiet town was of seismic proportions, both on the business climate and wage rates. GE brought in seventy-five executives for the front offices, all college-educated “smart people,” who sent their children to college and wanted a cultured community. On the shop floor, GE offered union-scale wages, with annual “escalator” increases pegged to the annual cost-of-living index, plus incentive wage increases and benefits. The starting wage of $1.30 per hour for welders attracted a plethora of applicants. The generous rates threatened all non-union shops, none more than the booming Holland Furnace, headed by the pompous Paul T. Cheff. GE’s eventual payroll of twelve hundred surpassed that of Holland Furnace.160 The city sold the old airport to GE, twenty-two choice acres, a mile east of the city limits on the southwest corner of the new US-31 bypass and Sixteenth (Adams) Street. GE bought from private parties two adjacent parcels toward the south, running to Twenty-Fourth Street, to bring the total to thirty-five acres, all serviced by a Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad spur. John Van Dyke Jr. chairman of HEDCOR, the city’s economic development arm, arranged for essential city services, for example, the railroad spur, extensions of roads, the Forty-Eighth Street water tower, and the Thirty-Second Street fire station. GE constructed a large one-story building for its Hermetic Motor plant and began operations in 1955 under manager Willard Connor with four hundred workers, 40 percent of whom were women. For a unionized industrial plant in Holland to hire women for almost half its workforce was unprecedented. Only food processing plants like Heinz had previously hired large numbers of women. Eighty workers transferred from other GE plants and came with their families. Some were professionals and executives. All needed housing, and realtors and builders basked in the bonanza. One realtor, Roger MacLeod, sold eighty homes to GE people in a two-year period. More than five thousand residents heard GE president Harlow Curtis in his dedication speech call the plant a “good investment in tomorrow.” Curtis did not mention the standard twenty-four/seven plant operations—including Sundays— another first for Holland, and a policy that threatened community values. On the other hand, GE families did join local congregations and provide leadership in churches and community organizations, thereby hastening the acculturation process.161 The GE plant served a growing market for hermetic motors for washing machines, dishwashers, air conditioners, and other small appliances. Ray Herrick of Tecumseh Products in eastern Michigan was one of the best customers, and this factor weighed heavily with the site General selection committee. In a small city like Holland, GE’s Holland Motor Division payroll of 1,200 workers in the 1960s had a huge impact. Over its thirty-six year run, the plant employed thousands. By the 1980s, GE was shifting its focus from manufacturing to finance, and the Holland plant—the tenth largest employer in the region—was rumored as closing. In 1984 as a first step, GE in a major consolidation, moved ninety management personnel from its Holland office to Fort Wayne, Indiana; sixty other white-collar workers were laid off or took early retirement. The second shoe dropped in 1988 with the announcement that GE’s Holland plant was being consolidated into Kentucky and Singapore facilities. Five hundred workers, 93 percent IEU Local 931 members, lost their jobs when the plant finally closed in 1990. The building stood silent for fifteen years, until giant backhoes tore into it in 2005 to make way for a Menards superstore on the site in 2008. Locals are still heard to remark: “When GE came to town . . .” Such was the impact of the company on the community."
Gift of
Bos, Brenda E.