Triangle Factory Fire
All of these photographs are from the Kheel Center Triangle Factory Fire website:
Kheel Center, Cornell University. "Primary Sources: Photos and Illustrations". The 1911 Triangle Factory Fire, accessed August 16, 2015, http://trianglefire.ilr.cornell.edu/primary/photosIllustrations/index.html
"And, for this, at the end of the week, he will carry home three dollars to his family, being his pay at the rate of five cents per hour-just about his proper share of the million and three quarters of children who are now engaged in earning their livings in the United States." - Upton Sinclair, The Jungle Ch. 6
At the turn of the 20th century, there were many factories in New York and other major cities that were mass producing goods for the American consumer. The working conditions in these factories were often dangerous and unsanitary. These factories relied on the cheap labor of newly arrived immigrants and often employed children.
The 1911 fire at the Triangle Waist Company in New York City was and is one of the worst workplace disasters in United States history. The fire claimed the lives of 146 immigrant workers, many of which were under the age of 18. The fire brought about calls for significant changes in working conditions in factories.
In this lesson you will examine primary sources related to the Factory Fire. You will start by reading some background about the fire. You will then examine primary sources related to the fire. Finally, you will write a letter or editorial from the viewpoint of a factory worker.
You can write or type your answers on the handout for this lesson.
Read the background about the 1911 Factory Fire at Cornell University Factory Fire. Answer the following questions about the fire:
- What made the Triangle Fire significant in history?
- What is a sweatshop? What kept workers at sweatshops from getting better working conditions?
- Who worked at the Triangle Factory? What hazards did workers face at the factory?
- What changes did workers ask for after the fire?
- What were the results of the investigation and trial?
Part 2: Read and analyze three (3) primary source documents related to the Triangle Fire. Complete an analyzing primary sources sheet for each document that you analyze. Choose the correct sheet for the type of document. The primary sources can be found at Cornell University: Triangle Fire.
Part 3: You are a worker at the Triangle Factory. Write a letter or an editorial about the factory conditions of the Triangle Factory. Describe the conditions you see and what you think should be done to improve them. Staple the three analysis sheets and your letter/editorial to this page and turn in as a packet. Please make sure that your name is on all of the papers