Donna Goodwin

Donna Goodwin Image
Location of Interview
Collection Name

The Working Waterfront Festival Community Documentation Project


The Working Waterfront Festival Community  Documentation Project is an ongoing oral history project documenting the history and culture of the commercial fishing industry and other port trades. The project was begun in 2004 in conjunction with the Working Waterfront Festival, an annual, education celebration of commercial fishing culture which takes place in New Bedford, MA. Interviewees have included a wide range of individuals connected to the commercial fishing industry and/or other aspects of the port through work or familial ties. While the majority of interviewees are from the port of New Bedford, the project has also documented numerous individuals  from other ports around the country. Folklorist and    Festival Director Laura Orleans and Community Scholar/Associate Director Kirsten Bendiksen are Project Leaders. The original recordings reside at the National Council for the Traditional Arts in Maryland with listening copies housed at the Festival's New Bedford office.

Date of Interview

Janice Gadaire Fleuriel

Biographical Sketch

Donna Goodwin is a seasoned professional in the fishing industry, specifically in the area of splicing. Born and raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts, she comes from a long line of fishermen, with her father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all having been involved in the industry. Donna was taught how to splice three-strand ropes at the age of seven by her father. She later worked for New England Ropes for about 20 years before starting her own splicing business, the Splice Girls, with her daughter. Despite the challenges posed by competition from China, Donna's business continues to thrive, offering custom splicing services to a diverse range of clients, including the New England Patriots.

Scope and Content Note
This interview with Donna Goodwin, conducted by Janice Gadaire Fleuriel on September 22, 2007, provides a detailed account of Donna's life and career in the fishing industry. The interview covers Donna's family background in fishing, her early introduction to splicing, and her journey to becoming a business owner. It also touches on the impact of industry changes, particularly the competition from China, on her business. Additionally, the interview delves into Donna's personal experiences, such as her childhood memories of Hurricane Carol and her love for the water. The interview concludes with a discussion about the future of the Splice Girls and the changing landscape of the fishing industry.

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