The 1911 New York Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

Triangle Fire 1911

This morning I happened across an article published in an August 2006 online edition of Smithsonian magazine. The article was by David von Drehle, the author of Triangle, The Fire That Changed America. In the article, he tells of his search for records to document just what happened in what is known as the Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911. The garment factory fire took place near Washington Square in New York City, and was for many years the worst workplace disaster in the city. One hundred forty-six workers were trapped and killed within 18 minutes in the fast-moving fire.

I found that although many records are missing, there is a wealth of information on the Internet about the fire, and those hapless individuals who lost their lives.

The Cornell University site has a terrific section titled Remembering the 1911 Triangle Factory Fire. The website includes original sources about the fire which are held at the ILR School’s Kheel Center, an archive of historical material on labor and industrial relations.

Following are links to the Cornell site:

LEARN ABOUT THE FIRE
Read the story of the fire
Review original text documents
Listen to and read interviews of survivors and witnesses
View photographs and illustrations

GAIN PERSPECTIVE
View a timeline of events
Explore a model of the 9th floor

RESEARCH FURTHER
Find bibliographic resources
High school students: Get tips on using primary sources

COMMEMORATION
Remember the victims
Final six victims identified
Learn about reforms and outcomes of the fire’s legacy
Triangle fire commemoration events

Read the Wikipedia article about the Triangle Shirtwaist fire.

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