Lucky Frances by Denise ((bonaimo)) Sarram 21" x 15" x 7" Assemblage 2020
wood box, metal castors, bulb, buttons, ruler, pins, paper dolls, model sewing machine, red military flashlight filter, dice, disaster photos, thread spools, clothes pin, metal wings, scissors, tiny clothes hanger, oil can, cameo, paper dolls, crystal finial
March 25, 1911-The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of located in Greenwich Village in Manhattan devastated the workers who perished within, but it also helped spur the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU). This horrific event shined a light upon the poor working conditions of sweatshops in New York City and pushed the country closer to much needed workers’ rights.
Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, represented by the paper dolls inside the larger box, owned the factory which produced women's blouses, known as "shirtwaists".
These selfish sweatshop owners disregarded safety precautions and did not install a sprinkler system. They kept the doors to the stairwells and exits locked– a common practice at the time to prevent workers from taking unauthorized breaks and to reduce theft.
Many of the workers could not escape from the burning building, or jumped to their deaths.
My Great Aunt Frances was employed as a seamstress there, but luckily, she called out sick the day the fire happened. Others, primarily Italian and Jewish immigrant women, weren’t so lucky.