"Flashlight photo 6 P.M. going home from King Mfg. Co. Two of the smallest boys been in mill 2 years. One of the larger for 4 years. Augusta, Ga., 01/13/1909"
Long distance calls
Photograph of Women Working at a Bell System Telephone Switchboard, 12/22/1943
From the series: Women Working In Industry, 1940 - 1945; Records of the Women’s Bureau
This photograph shows a telephone switchboard where overseas phone calls were handled during World War II. Many women patriotically joined the industrial workforce to work in shipyards or an aircraft factories, but many more worked in service or clerical jobs as secretaries, bank tellers, retail clerks, and telephone operators.
Relatively speaking, how many hours did you work Mr. Einstein?
During World War II, Albert Einstein worked as a part-time Federal employee developing underwater weapons for the U.S. Navy. This is his time card for July 1943 through June 1944.
Time Card for Albert Einstein, 07/01/1943 - 06/30/1944
Kaiser shipyards, Richmond, California. Miss Eastine Cowner, a former waitress, is helping in her job as a scaler to construct the Liberty Ship SS George Washington Carver launched on May 7, 1943.
From the series: Negro Activities in Industry, Government, and the Armed Forces from the Records of the Office of War Information.
Photograph of a Broken Fire Escape after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, 03/25/1911
One of the deadliest industrial disasters in United States history, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City left 146 workers dead in 18 minutes on March 25, 1911.
Locked doors kept the workers from escaping; there was not enough water to put out the flames, and firemen’s ladders were too short to reach the upper stories. Many of the young women and men working there leapt out the windows and fell to their deaths onto the sidewalk outside. Others were crushed in the elevator shaft or when the fire escape collapsed.
The fire led to sweeping reforms in labor laws and safety standards, providing a boost to labor unions, and was a pivotal event in the career of future labor secretary Frances Perkins.
(Last year’s post has additional photos of the fire and the victims, a few may be considered graphic.)
GRAPE/LETTUCE BOYCOTTERS PICKET THE JEWEL FOOD STORE, 08/1973
From the Records of the Environmental Protection Agency. (12/02/1970 - )
This picture of a boycott outside of a grocery store in Chicago reminds us that the 1970s was a decade of protest and change.
Frances Perkins: First Woman Cabinet member
80 years ago today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt notified the U.S. Senate on March 4, 1933, that he had nominated Frances Perkins of New York to be Secretary of Labor. A lifelong labor reformer, she rose to prominence following the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. She was confirmed as Secretary of Labor and became the first woman appointed to a Cabinet position. She was the longest serving Labor secretary, serving for 12 years between 1933 and 1945. She was also the first woman to enter the Presidential Line of Succession.
Keep reading at Prologue: A Factory Fire and Frances Perkins
Proof of Residency for Chinese-Americans
Under the provisions of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Chinese immigrants and laborers were required to obtain a certificate as proof of their legal residency. These two documents are held in the Commissioner’s Case Files for the Second Judicial District of the Arizona Territorial Court. These case files are held at the National Archives at Riverside. The men pictured were named Ah Stu and Lee Ching Goon.
Observing Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month
To pay tribute to the many generations of Asian-Pacific Americans that have enriched our nation’s history, the National Archives at Riverside will be highlighting some of our holdings relating to Asian American history in our region (Southern California, Arizona, and Clark County, NV), including records relating to enforcement of the Chinese Exclusion Act, records relating to Japanese internment and relocation, and many more.
For more information about Asian-Pacific Heritage Month, see http://asianpacificheritage.gov/
Approved May 6, 1882, The Chinese Exclusion Act was the first significant law restricting immigration into the United States. It provided an absolute 10-year moratorium on Chinese labor immigration. For the first time, Federal law proscribed entry of an ethnic working group on the premise that it endangered the good order of certain localities.
Just 34 days left until the release of the 1940 Census! The 1930s were a decade of turmoil and change as the Great Depression gripped the country. These records from the National Archives show part of the story of the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union. If you want to research these women further, soon you will be able to look in the 1940s census!
40 days to 1940 Census
Labor unions gained strength among Mexican workers during the Great Depression. In 1933 and 1934, the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) was involved in a large strike among the needle trade workers of Los Angeles. They had focused on organizing, not only European immigrant women, but Mexican and Mexican-American women. They published bilingual materials to attract the women and gain support in the Mexican community. The Federal government’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) became involved in trying to bring the workers and factory owners together for mediation.
Photo of boys working in Arcade Bowling Alley. Photo taken late at night. The boys work until midnight and later. Trenton, N.J., 12/20/1909
Taken by investigative photographer Lewis Hine on December 20, 1909, the photograph is one of a series of black-and-white prints given to the Children’s Bureau by the National Child Labor Committee. The almost five hundred photographs represent a fraction of the approximately 5,000 photographs Hine took for the committee to document working and living conditions for children.
From the Records of the Women’s Bureau, this photo of native Hawaiian girls in a pineapple cannery was taken November 20 1928. The Women’s Bureau was established in the Department of Labor by an act of June 5, 1920. The Bureau developed policies and programs to benefit working women economically and improve working conditions.
This photo was part of The Way We Worked, a photo exhibition focusing on the history of work in America.