Harry Stamper (1944-2012) was an Oregon longshoreman and a noted musician who combined messages of both labor and environmentalism in his songs. His song, “We Just Come to Work Here, We Don’t Come to Die” is considered a classic in labor and folk song circles, the anthem of the occupational health and safety movement, and is included in the Smithsonian Folkways album, Classic Labor Songs.
The Stamper collection arrived at SCUA recently, and is being processed by a Folklore student, Nathan Moore. SCUA has a close relationship with Folklore’s Mills Archive and the Oregon Folklife Network (OFN), which recently relocated to the UO campus.
Nathan brings more to this processing project than just his academic training. He’s a folk musician, part of the Low Tide Drifters, and he knew and played with Harry Stamper. It’s always fun to see a student get really excited about the collection he is processing!
Harry and Nathan
Nathan’s film about Stamper, We Just Come to Work Here: The Music of Harry Stamper, will be shown at a film festival in Canada this year. You can see the film on YouTube, and please check out the Remember Harry page (from which this great photo is borrowed). Stay tuned; we’ll post as soon as the Stamper collection is available for research.