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American Labor Museum new partner in Social Welfare History Image Portal

November 27, 2017

Laborers march in favor of the eight-hour workweek in Passaic, N.J., 1926
Striking laborers march in support of the eight-hour workweek, Passaic, N.J., 1926. American Labor Museum, Social Welfare History Image Portal

VCU Libraries is delighted to welcome the American Labor Museum as the newest partner in the Social Welfare History Image Portal. http://images.socialwelfare.library.vcu.edu/  The Social Welfare Image Portal presents archival materials related to the history of social reform and social welfare in the United States. These images include photographs, pamphlets, handbills, and comics drawn from the collections of VCU Libraries and other participating institutions.

“Through this valuable partnership with the Social Welfare History Image Portal, the American Labor Museum is afforded the opportunity to share its collection of photographs and documents of immigrant and working families and organized labor with an even broader audience of researchers and interested individuals. The Museum looks forward to further fulfilling its mission of educating the public about the history and contemporary issues of working people through this partnership," said Education Director Evelyn Hershey.

The American Labor Museum is housed in the 1908 Botto House National Landmark in Haledon, N.J.  The Botto House was built for and owned by Italian immigrant and silk mill worker, Pietro Botto and his wife Maria. From the balcony of the Botto House in 1913, labor union organizers of the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.) addressed as many as 20,000 silk mill workers who were on strike for an eight-hour workday

In 1983, the American Labor Museum / Botto House National Landmark opened to the public as a museum dedicated to teaching the public about the history and contemporary issues of workers, the workplace, and organized labor with special attention to the ethnicity of working people.

The American Labor Museum collection includes photographs of the Passaic Textile Strike of 1926 in Passaic County, New Jersey. The strike, involving over 15,000 workers, lasted from January 1926 to March 1927 and was the first Communist-led work stoppage in the United States.

“The Passaic Textile Strike photographs are a wonderful resource for understanding the immigrant experience and labor organizing in the early 20th century. They capture the spirit of the strikers, their desperate poverty, and the brutal strike-breaking efforts by police,” said project manager Alice Campbell.

Welcome, American Labor Museum!

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The Image Portal is a collaborative project among libraries and museums encouraging the use of primary sources and directing students and scholars to the institutions that hold these materials. If you have questions, or would like to learn more about becoming a partner institution, please contact Alice W. Campbell, digital outreach and special projects librarian for VCU Libraries at LibSWHP@vcu.edu.

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