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Bread and Roses Strike Begins

January 12, 1912
January 12, 1912

Bread and Roses Strike Begins

On this day in 1912, the labor protest later known as the "Bread and Roses" strike began in Lawrence. A new state law had reduced the maximum workweek from 56 to 54 hours. Factory owners...

Lynn Shoeworkers Strike

February 22, 1860
February 22, 1860

Lynn Shoeworkers Strike

On this day in 1860, thousands of striking shoeworkers filled Lyceum Hall in Lynn. By choosing to begin their protest on Washington's birthday, the strikers were invoking the memory of their revolutionary forefathers. Lynn had...

Frances Perkins Born in Boston

April 10, 1880
April 10, 1880

Frances Perkins Born in Boston

On this day in 1880, Frances Perkins, the first woman to hold a cabinet position, was born in Boston. Raised in Worcester, she attended Mt. Holyoke College, where she became committed to improving the lot...

"Mill Girl" Writer Lucy Larcom Dies

April 17, 1893
April 17, 1893

"Mill Girl" Writer Lucy Larcom Dies

On this day in 1893, Lucy Larcom died. A popular poet during her lifetime, she would be forgotten today except for a work of prose that she wrote in 1889. Her autobiography, A New England...

Telephone Operators Strike

April 20, 1919
April 20, 1919

Telephone Operators Strike

On this day in 1919, striking telephone operators in Massachusetts won the right to negotiate with the New England Telephone Company. The young, single women who had flooded into the industry in the early 1900s...

Berkshire-Hathaway Announces Mill Closing

May 7, 1958
May 7, 1958

Berkshire-Hathaway Announces Mill Closing

On this day in 1958, the North Adams Transcript reported that the owners of the Berkshire-Hathaway Company had passed a death sentence on their factory in Adams. The company announced that it was shutting down...

Matzeliger Demonstrates Revolutionary Machine

May 29, 1885
May 29, 1885

Matzeliger Demonstrates Revolutionary Machine

On this day in 1885, Jan Matzeliger demonstrated his invention — a machine that could finish 75 shoes in a 10-hour day. The most skilled craftsmen working by hand could turn out 50. An improved...

George McNeill Organizes Workers

June 2, 1852
June 2, 1852

George McNeill Organizes Workers

On this day in 1852, hundreds of mill workers at the Woolen Company in Amesbury walked out on strike. Fourteen-year-old George McNeill, who had worked in the carding room since he was ten, immediately organized...

Chinese Workers Arrive in North Adams

June 13, 1870
June 13, 1870

Chinese Workers Arrive in North Adams

On this day in 1870, a train arrived in North Adams with 75 young men from China hired to replace striking shoe workers. Over 2,000 people watched as the men walked to the factory under...

Strike Ends in Hopedale

July 5, 1913
July 5, 1913

Strike Ends in Hopedale

On this day in 1913, a 13-week strike at the Draper Corporation in Hopedale ended in failure, and the workers returned to their jobs. This was a time of labor unrest throughout the country, but...