Vermont Reads 2018

Bread and Roses, Too

Related History Resources

About the Bread and Roses Strike

Bread and Roses Strike of 1912: Two Months in Lawrence, Massachusetts, that Changed Labor History.  Using compelling primary sources, this six-part online exhibit provides an exceptional overview of the strike itself, the historical context for it, and its legacy. It was created in 2013 by the Lawrence History Center and the University of Massachusetts Lowell History Department and hosted by the Digital Public Library of America.

The Lawrence History Center – Founded in 1978 as the Immigrant City Archives, the Lawrence History Center is committed to collecting, preserving, and sharing the history and heritage of Lawrence and its people. Online resources include a Lewis Hine photography exhibit and an overview of Lawrence history.

“The Strike That Shook America” by Christopher Klein, History Channel, September 3, 2012.

Bread and Roses: Mills, Migrants, and the Struggle for the American Dream (2005) by Bruce Watson is a full-length account of the 1912 Lawrence strike. This C-SPAN video features Bruce Watson talking about the book.

Radical of the Worst Sort: Laboring Women in Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1860-1912 (1993)  by Ardis Cameron, is a history of the textile worker strikes in Lawrence in and the working class women who rebelled against traditional economic and gender hierarchies.

The Great Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912: New Scholarship on the Bread and Roses Strike (2014) edited by Robert Forrant and Jurg Siegenthaler, is a collection of historical articles reexamining the strike, its causes, and its impact.

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was a labor leader and feminist, and one of many women who played a major role in organizing the Bread and Roses strike. Her autobiography is entitled, The Rebel Girl: An Autobiography, My First Life (1906-1926).

Ralph Fasanella’s paintings of the Lawrence strike:  Ralph Fasanella was a self-taught painter from New York City who painted large, highly detailed paintings. He was particularly interested in labor and class issues and lived in Lawrence for three years in the 1970s, creating large historical paintings of the 1912 strike.

“Bread and Roses”- the Slogan, the Poem, and Song

The origin of the slogan “Bread and Roses” is somewhat murky, but it’s generally thought that labor organizer Rose Schneiderman coined the term in a speech she gave in 1911, a year before the Lawrence strike. James Oppenheim wrote and published his poem “Bread and Roses” later that year. It was put to music in later years and has become a well-known anthem for workers’ rights and women’s rights.  This website has a good overview of the history of the slogan and includes several streaming versions of the song, sung by Joan Baez and John Denver.

Other Labor History Resources

This History Channel website has a collection of articles, videos, and speeches on the American Labor Movement.

Wobblies! A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World (2005), edited by Paul Buhle and Nicole Schulman. Chapter 2 contains several graphic stories by different cartoonist about the 1912 Lawrence strike and the 1913 Paterson, NJ silk strike.

We Were There: The Story of Working Women in America (1977) by Barbara Mayer Wertheimer.

Schools of Democracy: A Political History of the American Labor Movement (2006) by Clayon Sinyai.

This website features a good compilation of labor history-related books for children, including Bread and Roses, Too and Lyddie, another one of Paterson’s works of historical fiction, this one featuring a New England mill girl in the 1840s.

Related Vermont and Barre History

Granite City Tales (2012) by Paul Heller is a collection of articles about Barre history. Chapter 7 is the history of the Labor Hall, and Chapter 9 is a history of the Bread and Roses strike and its impact on Barre.

The Old Labor Hall website has a history section with articles about the history of the Hall, labor history in Barre, and the city’s involvement in the Bread and Roses strike.

Mark Bushnell’s “Then Again” column for VTDigger has featured several extensive articles on Barre and labor history in Vermont:

“Sculptor’s death stunned Barre immigrant community,” April 2, 2017.  About the killing of Elia Corti.

“A Controversial Voice for Change,” April 9, 2017. About anarchist Emma Goldman’s memorable trip to Barre.

“Mills Shaped the Fabric of Winooski,” June 4, 2017. About the history of the woolen mills in Winooski.