“…I am ready to place a company of fifty lady sharpshooters at your disposal.”
Letter to President William McKinley from Annie Oakley in which she offers the services of a company of fifty lady American sharpshooters who would provide their own arms and ammunition, to the government should war break out with Spain., 04/05/1898 - 04/05/1898
Item from Records of the Adjutant General’s Office. (03/04/1907 - 09/18/1947)
Don’t forget—the National Archives’ new exhibition “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures” opens March 21, 2014.
On March 25, 1911, a match was dropped and a factory exploded with fire, resulting in one of the highest losses of life from an industrial accident in the US. 146 people—mostly women—were burned alive, succumbed to smoke inhalation, or were forced to jump from the eighth, ninth, and tenth stories of the Asche Building* in New York City. Factory owners had locked the doors to stairwells and fire escapes to stop the women from taking unauthorized breaks and to stem the theft of the materials and products from the factory floor.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, which led to legislation to improve industrial safety standards for workers and the founding of the American Society of Safety Engineers, remains a stark reminder of the harsh conditions under which workers, including women and children, were forced to toil before workplace safety initiatives were widely employed in the US. Read more at pbs.org.
The two images above depict a view of the Asche Building interior after the fire and a demonstration of protest and mourning held several weeks after the fire.
See the entire set of powerful images from the National Archives and Records Administration collection here.
*Now the Brown Building, a part of the campus of New York University (NYU). It is located at 23-29 Washington Place, between Greene Street and Washington Square East in Greenwich Village, New York City. More.
Photograph of Fire Fighters at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, 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.
Our post from 2012 has additional photos of the fire and the victims, a few may be considered graphic.
(We’re assuming the photo above shows fdny in action at the fire.)
This Thursday, women in Congressional leadership roles discuss their personal journeys and advice they would offer young women entering the field. Moderated by New York Times journalist Jackie Calmes, panelists include former members of Congress Connie Morella (R-MD), Barbara Kennelly (D-CT), and Mary Bono (R-CA), and former Senators Carol Mosely Braun (D-IL) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR). House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will make remarks.
Join us on Thursday, March 13, at 7 p.m. in the William McGowan Theatre. Watch live online (http://www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives) or join in person (enter the National Archives Building through the Special Events entrance at Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue).
Presented in Partnership with the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress. This program is generously supported by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, Inc.
I’m not fancy. I’m what I appear to be.
Today in history, March 11, 1993, Janet Reno was appointed as the first woman Attorney General of the United States by President Clinton. She served from 1993-2001, longer than any other Attorney General in the 20th century.
The “Hello Girls”
"American telephone girls on arrival for "hello" duty in France. They all can speak both English and French., 03/1918"
During World War I, over 400 women were enrolled in the U.S. Army Signal Corps to operate telephone* switchboards in France. Despite the sometimes hazardous conditions of their service, they were denied veterans status after the war ended. It would take 60 years until a bill was signed by President Carter granting them veterans status in 1978.
Read more about the “Hello Girls” at the Signal Corps “Regimental” History Site - The Hello Girls
* Today is also the anniversary of Alexander Graham Bell’s patent for “Improvements in Telegraphy”, aka the telephone.
Eleanor Roosevelt’s First Press Conference - March 6, 1933
On March 6, 1933 Eleanor Roosevelt held the first of her 348 women’s only press conferences. Before this time, First Ladies had little contact with reporters. Eleanor recognized that holding regular conferences could enhance the public role of the First Lady - a role she transformed during her 12 years in the White House.
About 35 women attended Eleanor’s first press conference which was held in the Monroe Room on the second floor of the living quarters in the White House. The press conferences were attended by the major female reporters of the day - including Lorena Hickok, Ruby Black, Bess Furman, May Craig, Emma Bugbee and Martha Stayer.
Eleanor used these press conferences as a way to not only announce her schedule of activities but also as a platform to publicize the work of women leaders, answer her critics, and entertain questions on a variety of subjects. Topics covered everything from domestic issues like social programs, race, youth activism, etc. to international politics and the role of women in war and peace.
Red Cross workers assembled at the IP, Avenue C and 7th Street, Camp Patrick Henry.
Left to right, front row, are Edna Elizabeth Dick of Williamsburg, Kentucky; Mrs. Madeleine Carroll Hamilton; Marcia Hinrichs, Alexandria, Virginia. Left to right, back row, Megan Downey, Cleveland Heights, Ohio; Anne Hayes, Atlanta, Georgia; and Helen Hubbell, New York City.
Official photograph United States Army Signal Corps, Hampton Roads Point of Embarkation, Newport News, Virginia. 02/27/1944
"Jean Saubert wins Uncle Sam’s first medal - a Bronze - as she places third."
Ready for today’s Women’s Slalom at Sochi? 50 years ago Jean Saubert won the bronze at the Innsbruck Winter Olympics on February 1, 1964, the United States’ first medal at the 1964 games.
Shirley Temple Black (April 23, 1928 - February 10, 2014)
We are sorry to mark the passing of Shirley Temple Black. She started as a child actress at at 3 and in her later life left Hollywood for a life as a diplomat. She was a representative to the 24th United Nations General Assembly; Ambassador to Ghana under President Ford, the first female Chief of Protocol, and then Ambassador to Czechoslovakia under George H. W. Bush.
Top: Eleanor Roosevelt and Shirley Temple, 07/1938
Bottom left:: Photograph of Shirley Temple Black Shaking Hands with President Gerald Ford in the Cabinet Room after Being Sworn-in as Chief of Protocol, 07/20/1976
Bottom right: Shirley Temple Black, left, the U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia; listens to a reporter’s question following an informal ceremony marking the presentation of 130,000 pounds of donated medical supplies to the Czech government. The supplies are flown to Prague from Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, aboard a U.S. Air Force cargo aircraft, 10/25/1990
(Ed. note: amended list of positions. 2/11/2014)
Female Factory Office Workers Volunteering to Pack Bandages for the American Red Cross, New Britain, Connecticut, 02/10/1919
From the series: American Unofficial Collection of World War I Photographs
Holy Act of Congress, Batman! Equal Pay for Equal Work!
January 29 is the fifth anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. In commemoration, our colleagues in the NARA Motion Picture Preservation Lab have posted this 1973 Public Service Announcement (PSA) in which Batgirl explains the concept of “equal pay for equal work” to her boss (Batman) and co-worker (Robin). Luckily for them she is equally adept at disarming nefarious devices.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 was the first piece of legislation signed by President Barack Obama. It updated the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which had made it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of sex when determining pay for employees doing the same work.
The 2009 Act resets the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal pay lawsuit each time a paycheck reflecting a discriminatory pay decision is issued. It was named for Lilly Ledbetter, whose equal-pay suit against her employer was dismissed by the Supreme Court because she had not filed it within 180 days of the discriminatory pay decision. Ledbetter says she was not aware of the pay discrepancy during that window of time.
Batman , ca. 1973.
From the General Records of the Employment Standards Administration
On January 28, 1942, Representative Edith Nourse Rogers (R-MA) introduced H.R. 6293, a bill to establish the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps for noncombat service with the U.S. Army. H.R. 6293 was signed into law on May 14, 1942. A year later the unit was renamed the Women’s Army Corps, and the servicewomen were granted official military status.
H.R. 6293, HR 77A-B5, 1/28/1942, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives (ARC 4397811)
As a good a reason as any to include our groovy dancing WAC from 1970: