Women Changing History: Celebrating Women’s History Month
Among the people walking through Washington Square Park in Manhattan on March 25, 1911, was a reporter for the United Press news agency. William Gunn Shepherd followed the sound of women screaming, volunteer firemen sloshing buckets of water and windows shattering. As he reached the corner of Washington Place and Greene Street, he saw what the commotion was about – a mushroom of smoke billowed into the sky and fire raged from the Asch Building.
March 25 was a Saturday. At the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, it was the shortest day of the workweek — 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., with a 45-minute break for lunch. Five hundred workers, mostly young Jewish and Italian immigrant women, took the freight elevators to the eighth, ninth and tenth floors, the top three floors of the building. They were part of the largest blouse making operation in New York, shipping more than 2,000 garments per…
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