Why the Triangle Fire Matters

Why did the Triangle fire lead to sweeping workplace safety reforms? “A significant part of the answer lies in the journalism produced in its aftermath. Above, a 1911 memorial parade for fire victims.

Kheel Center, Cornell University

Why the Triangle Fire Matters

Why did the Triangle fire lead to sweeping workplace safety reforms? “A significant part of the answer lies in the journalism produced in its aftermath. Above, a 1911 memorial parade for fire victims.Read More

Commemorative Events

Triangle Fire Victims’ Families Gather To Affirm Ongoing Legacy

Triangle Fire Victims’ Families Gather To Affirm Ongoing Legacy

By Joy Resmovits

Clara Lemlich was a hero of the triangle fire who called for the garment industry strike dubbed the “Uprising of 20,000.” Her lone surviving daughter was among the families of victims and survivors who attended a recent luncheon.Read More


Podcast

A Somber Anniversary

A Somber Anniversary

By Jon Kalish

In this podcast, Jon Kalish speaks with the filmmakers behind an HBO documentary on the fire, the composer of a new oratorio about the tragedy, and descendants of those who died in the blaze, among others commemorating the somber anniversary.Read More


Labor Relations

Unions Battle New Fires

Unions Battle New Fires

By Tom Robbins

The horrors of the Triangle fire galvanized support for the labor movement 100 years ago. But today, labor finds itself “on defense, battling a rear-guard assault to preserve what they have left,” Tom Robbins writes.Read More


Video

The Triangle Fire: A Working Legacy

The Triangle Fire: A Working Legacy

By Gabrielle Birkner and Nate Lavey

What does the building that housed the Triangle Waist Company 100 years ago look like today? The Forward visits the building's infamous ninth floor, and speaks with a safety expert about the safety measures born of the Triangle fire — measures that most people now take for granted.Read More


From the Forverts Archives, 1911

Reporting on the Fire's Aftermath

Reporting on the Fire's Aftermath

By Forverts Staff

The Yiddish-language Forward covered the fire extensively in the days and months that followed. We’ve translated dozens of those articles, which reveal everything from what it was like in the morgue the day of the fire to the courtroom drama during the trial of the factory’s owners.Read More


Labor Relations

Workers’ Centers: A Clubhouse for Struggle, Support

Workers’ Centers: A Clubhouse for Struggle, Support

By Karen Loew

Hundreds of workers’ centers across the country are homes away from home for immigrant workers. These centers help immigrant workers fight for minimum wage, tips and overtime, paid sick days, and health insurance.Read More


Workplace Safety

For Some Garment Workers, It Is Still 1911

For Some Garment Workers, It Is Still 1911

By Gal Beckerman

Has America solved the problem of garment workers toiling in poor conditions or has the country mostly outsourced the problem overseas? Gal Beckerman explores.Read More


Heroes and Villians

Triangle's Jewish Bosses

Triangle's Jewish Bosses

By Hasia R. Diner

In the narrative of the Triangle fire, what is rarely discussed is that the villians of the story — the owners of the Triangle Waist Company, Max Blanck and Isaac Harris — were Eastern European Jews like so many of the fire victims.Read More


Video

A Bintel Brief and the Fire

A Bintel Brief and the Fire

By Forward Staff

Isaiah Sheffer, the artistic director of Symphony Space and actress Jill Eikenberry do a staged reading of A Bintel Brief letter, from a survivor of the Triangle fire, who lost her husband in the blaze.Read More


Workplace Safety

How Jewish Struggles Became America's

How Jewish Struggles Became America's

By Richard Greenwald

The Triangle fire turned what was considered “a Jewish problem” — dangerous conditions in garment factories — into a national symbol of reform, and helped move Jews from the margins of society into the mainstream.Read More


Heroes and Villians

Key Players Who Made a Difference

Key Players Who Made a Difference

By Jo-Ann Mort

Who were the heroes and villains of the Triangle disaster? Jo-Ann Mort breaks it down, profiling heroes such as Joseph Zito, the elevator operator who is thought to have saved 150 lives, and a couple of villians.Read More


Workplace Safety

A Call For a Sweatshop-Free Zone on New York’s Upper West Side

A Call For a Sweatshop-Free Zone on New York’s Upper West Side

By Karen Loew

Having won victories for workers at some high-profile Upper West Side restaurants, activists from groups such as the National Mobilization Against Sweatshops are determined not only to bring workers’ conditions up to legal standards, but also to change the way consumers look at the businesses that line their streets.Read More


Workplace Safety

Sweatshops Didn’t Go Away

Sweatshops Didn’t Go Away

By Karen Loew

Garment industry sweatshops are hardly a thing of the past in New York City: They are a feature of commerce today. Karen Loew speaks with a Chinese worker about conditions he endured at a garment factory on East Broadway in Chinatown.Read More


Poetry

'Reckoning'

'Reckoning'

By Zackary Sholem Berger

The Forward put out a call for original poetry that reflects on the Triangle fire’s meaning and legacy, and received scores of responses. The winning entry is titled “Reckoning,” and was written by Zackary Sholem Berger.Read More


Commemorative Events

Paying Tribute To the Fire’s Pained Legacy

Paying Tribute To the Fire’s Pained Legacy

By Lillian Swanson

From Boston to San Francisco and a dozen points in between, artists, authors, academics, labor activists and many more who are passionate about the Triangle fire and its legacy are creating their own tributes. Left, Ruth Sergel, who leads the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition.Read More


Labor Relations

Union That Grew in the Triangle Fire’s Ashes Is Now Nearly Gone

Union That Grew in the Triangle Fire’s Ashes Is Now Nearly Gone

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

What’s left of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union is a small affiliate of the huge service employees union. And the American garment and textile industry, which employed 2.3 million people as recently as 1976, has all but disappeared.Read More


Commemorative Events

Thousands Mark Fire’s Centennial

Thousands Mark Fire’s Centennial

By Joy Resmovits

U. S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, left, served as the keynote speaker at a centennial commemoration of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. Among the many who attended were school children, union activists and descendants of fire victims.Read More


Editor's Notebook

A Personal and Political Tragedy

A Personal and Political Tragedy

By Jane Eisner

Remembering both the personal stories of the victims and the the historical struggle for workers right in the early 20th century are necessary for a true understanding of the consequences of the fire that consumed the Triangle Waist Company.Read More


Social Justice

A Rebirth of Jewish Social Justice

A Rebirth of Jewish Social Justice

By Amy B. Dean and Simon Greer

Amy B. Dean and Simon Greer discuss the work of Rose Schneiderman and Clara Lemlich, major catalysts for change following the Triangle fire. But today's labor and social justice pioneers, they write, cannot simply replicate the actions of these individuals or the institutions of previous times.Read More


Commemorative Events

Oratorio Captures a Fire’s Terror

Oratorio Captures a Fire’s Terror

By Joy Resmovits

In creating the music for the most terrifying moments in an oratorio for the centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, Elizabeth Swados turned to raw instinct. Her score adds resonance to a scene on the garment factory floor as seamstresses chant, in panic: “Help us! Help us! Help us now!”Read More


Commemorative Events

A Great-Granddaughter Crafts a Tribute

A Great-Granddaughter Crafts a Tribute

By Joy Resmovits

Rebecca Keren, the great-granddaughter of a Triangle factory worker, is among the performers of Elizabeth Swados's new oratorio about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. She plays the manager’s wife, and provides much of the oratorio's Yiddish words.Read More


Slideshow

Timeline: The Triangle Fire and Aftermath

Timeline: The Triangle Fire and Aftermath

By Lil Swanson and Nate Lavey

Learn about the key events in labor history leading up to, and following the Triangle fire — including major strikes, trials and, subsequently, legislation enacted to promote workplace safety.Read More