To Organize the Unorganized

The year 1919 was marked by an explosion of activity in the American labor movement. Discontent surged among industrial workers as promises of wage increases and improved working conditions, made by employers during World War One, failed to materialize. Telegraph operators, theater ushers and textile workers joined firemen, policemen and dock workers to oppose some of the country’s most...
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The Depression Strikes Indiana County

The Great Depression of 1929-32 without question was one of the watershed periods in American history. Joseph Alex Morris once wrote that “people later would speak of ‘before 1929’ or ‘after 1929’ as Noah’s children may have spoken of the days before and after ‘The Flood.'” The personal deprivation and social upheaval of those times sent shock...
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That Magnificent Fight for Unionism: The Somerset County Strike of 1922

During 1920 and 1921, western Pennsylvania’s coal mine operators campaigned vigorously to slash wages of the miners they employed. Because demand for coal declined after World War One the operators were forced to reduce production, resulting in stack, or in some cases, the complete shutdown of operations. Many miners drifted to factory jobs in nearby cities, or simply clung to hope -and...
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Bookshelf

Harrisburg Industrializes by Gerald G. Eggert The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993 (412 pages, cloth, $35.00) In 1850, Harrisburg-state capital and county seat-was a community not unlike many others in the United States, employing most of its citizens in trade and commerce. Unlike its larger neighbors, Pittsburgh to the west and Philadelphia in the east, Harrisburg had not yet...
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Saved for the People of Pennsylvania: Quilts from The State Museum of Pennsylvania by Lucinda Reddington Cawley, Lorraine DeAngelis Ezbiansky, and Denise Rocheleau Nordberg Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1997 ($14.95, paper, 67 pages) Since its founding in 1905, The State Museum of Pennsylvania has collected nearly two million artifacts and objects which docuĀ­ment and interpret...
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Living for Reform

For too long, Joseph A. Yablonski (1910-1969) – known to most simply as Jock – had seen things go wrong in the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), once a respected labor union. He had served in its hierarchy but with an increasingly troubled conscience. What mattered to him most was that things had to change and he had to lead the charge to change them. He ardently believed that...
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Documenting Everyday Life in Pennsylvania During the Great Depression and World War II

The documentary photography project initiated by the Farm Security Administration (FSA) in 1935 was an unprecedented experiment in the history of photography, and it remains a monument to a collective effort that will never be equaled-the recording of an entire nation, from the city and town to the farm, from the home to the factory, from work to leisure, from school to church, from the baseball...
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