Camden, NJ, like many industrial cities in the northeast, has fallen on hard times. Corruption has led three of the cities mayors to prison, and for seven years from 2005-2012 Camden’s police and fire departments were controlled by the state. About 40% of the city’s 77,000 people live below the poverty line.
But it wasn’t always like this in Camden. Camden has been home to the headquarters of the Campbell Soup Company for many years, and the city was also home to the New York Ship Building Company from 1899-1967. At one time it was the largest shipyard in the world. From 1901-1929 the Victor Talking Machine Company, predecessor to the RCA Victor company, was headquartered in Camden. Stars like Enrico Caruso recorded in the company’s Camden studios, where some of the earliest commercial recordings were made.