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The Triangle Fire, March 25, 1911

ALT
Detail, History of the Needlecraft Industry (1938), by Ernest Fiene, High School of Fashion and Industry. A mural commissioned by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGW).


These photographs, taken at the scene of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, are from the archives of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library. It might seem surprising that a collection of photographs depicting an event that occurred over twenty years prior to the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt should be found on a website devoted to the New Deal era, but for many New Dealers, March 25, 1911 was, as Secretary of Labor Francis Perkins recalled, "the day the New Deal began." Throughout the 1930s, artists, labor leaders, and reformers continued to look to the tragedy as a touchstone for the continuing need to agitate for legislation concerning work conditions and to press for the rights of all workers.

The best educational resource on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire is the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives at Cornell University's Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Website created in cooperation with the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE!). The website contains speeches, photographs, political cartoons, oral histories, lesson ideas and much more.

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