Thursday, March 25, 2010

Photos from the Triangle

Today marks the 99th anniversary of the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which killed 146 people in 1911. It remains one of New York's deadliest workplace disasters.

Triangle fire. Digital ID: 804792. New York Public Library

[Fire escape of Asch building ... Digital ID: 804790. New York Public Library

[Interior of the Asch building... Digital ID: 804791. New York Public Library

Images courtesy NYPL.

Many publications offered up images of the fire, such as these from McClure's Magazine. This visual media brought the horror into homes across the country. Middle-class readers of McClure's were faced with the reality that many of their shirtwaists, dresses, stockings, suspenders, trousers, and shoes were produced under unethical conditions in factories like these. While the workers and the unions had been protesting for years, the Triangle encouraged the middle and upper-middle classes to join the fight in earnest.

Today there are many ways you can honor those who died in the fire and all those who fought for factory reforms - join the memorial service in front of the building, off Washington Square Park, at noon, or come to the Tenement Musuem's talk tonight with Kevin Baker, historical novelist; Steven Greenhouse, New York Times labor reporter; and our own Annie Polland, vice president of education. (Those of you looking forward to hearing David Von Drehle, author of Triangle - he has unfortunately had to cancel due to an illness in the family.)

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