Sarah Skinner Kilborne, AMERICAN PHOENIX (extended interview)

Sarah Skinner Kilborne

Sarah S. Kilbourne

Silk manufacturing was one of the most important industries to emerge out of the Connecticut River Valley in the 19th century. William Skinner was, perhaps, the most influential of the textile magnates. He lived the American Dream: a poor immigrant, he used grit and skill to build an industrial behemoth– and then lost everything in a catastrophic flood. But he rose like a phoenix, rebuilding his mill on the mighty Connecticut River and thereby putting Holyoke, Massachusetts on the world map.

Francesca Rheannon talks with his great granddaughter, Sarah S. Kilborne, about her book, American Phoenix, The Remarkable Story of William Skinner, a Man Who Turned Disaster Into Destiny, to learn more about the forces that shaped his life and the economy of the Connecticut River Valley.

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About Francesca Rheannon

Francesca Rheannon is an award-winning independent radio producer. In addition to hosting Writer's Voice, she's a freelance reporter for National Public Radio and its affiliates. Recipient of the prestigious Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Award for reporting on substance abuse issues for her news series, VOICES OF HIV, produced for 88.5 WFCR public radio in western Massachusetts. She is also finishing a book on Provence (PROVINCE OF THE HEART) and working on a memoir of her father, THE ARGONAUTS.