Remembering the Triangle Factory Fire, 100 years later



January 15, 1913, New York

On March 25, 1911, a fire occurred in the shirtwaist factory of Harris & Blanck, at Washington Place and Greene Street. One hundred and forty six girls and men were killed in the fire, and many others were injured. Some of these were members of the Waistmakers' Union, some of them had been members, and all were workers in a trade that the Ladies' Waist and Dressmakers' Union was especially organized to protect and represent. This was the factory where the shirtwaist strike of 1909 broke out, the strikers being out five months. While the strike was lost and the factory was not under the control of the Union at the time of the fire, the whole matter deeply concerned the Union, and it was natural that they should take steps at once in relief of the distress involved.

The fire occurred Saturday afternoon about five o'clock; and Sunday morning a corps of Women's Trade Union League members was visiting the families of the sufferers in the name of the Ladies' Waist and Dressmakers' Union, Local No. 25. They reported the families where immediate relief was needed, and the Union at once began to give out emergent relief.

At the same time the Red Cross Emergency Relief Committee, which is an organization especially constituted to respond to emergent distress of great magnitude, opened headquarters in the Metropolitan Building, 1 Madison Avenue, New York City, and also started visiting. Moreover, the North America Civic League for Immigrants began to visit, and it was felt that some scheme of co-operation between the different organization should be arranged.

Contributions of money were rapidly pouring in on the Union, and on March 29th a meeting was held at Clinton Hall, 151 Clinton Street, to organize the Joint Relief Committee, the following organizations being represented:

  • The Ladies' Waist & Dressmakers' Union, Local No. 25, International Ladies' Garment Union.
  • The Arbeiter Ring. (Workmen's Circle.)
  • The Women's Trade Union League.
  • The Jewish Daily Forward.

The committee organized by selecting the following officers:

  • Chairman, B. Weinstein, United Hebrew Trades.
  • Vice Chairman, J. Weintraub, Arbeiter Ring.
  • Secretary, William Mailly, Ladies' Waist & Dressmakers' Union No. 25.
  • Treasurer, Norris Hillquit.

The following were additional members:

Cahan, M. Gillis, M. Winchevsky, A. Baroff, Helen Marot, E. Dutcher.

At this meeting it was decided that all the moneys collected by each of the bodies represented on this committee should be turned over and to the Joint Relief Committee, as constituted, and distributed through the Committee's treasurer, under its continued supervision, in the name of the Waist Makers' Union.

A sub-committee was chosen to pass upon all applications for relief and these were Mr. B. Weinstein, United Hebrew Trades; Mr. J. Weintraub, Workmen's Circle; William Mally, of the Ladies' Waist and Dressmaker's Union No. 25, Miss Elizabeth Dutcher of the Women's Trade Union League, and Abraham Baroff, of the Ladies' Waist & Dressmakers Union No. 25. Mr. William Mailly and Miss Elizabeth Dutcher were put in charge of the actual work.

A scheme of co-operation with the Red Cross Relief Committee was arranged whereby the Union took charge of all cases where the victim had been or was a Union member, or where there was an International Ladies' Garment Union member in the family. In a very few cases of injured survivors, where the Union had already started to give relief, this relief was continued.

The Red Cross Emergency Relief Committee and the Joint Relief Committee remained in active and friendly co-operation through the whole period of relief giving. Mr. William Mailly and Miss Elizabeth Dutcher were regular members of the Red Cross case committee and helped to pass on all their cases, and Dr. Edward T. Devine, the head of the Red Cross Emergency Relief Committee, attended one of the Joint Relief Committee sessions and helped pass on its cases. Moreover, the Red Cross Emergency Relief Committee took the responsibility of several of the Joint Relief Committee's European cases, as will be seen in the detailed report.

The actual giving of relief was not on the basis of any idea of compensation for death and injury, but on the basis of immediate needs. There was no effort made in any case to put a family in a better financial position than it was before the fire. A very great effort was made not only to equalize the financial loss, but through the special medical treatment, convalescent care, etc., to put the family or the supervisor in as good condition as before the fire, as far as physical conditions went.

At the date of this report, four cases are still under the actual care of the committee, They are all cases of minor for whom a trusted fund has been assigned, and who are either alone in New York, or, in one instance, where there is no proper guardianship.

The cases of distress divide themselves naturally into four classes:

  • First. Cases deprived of all support.
  • Second. Cases where they were dependent relatives in Europe.
  • Third. Cases where partial support of families in America had been lost.
  • Fourth. Cases of injured survivors who had to be helped to get well.

In the first, second, and third instances there were numerous cases where free burial was necessary. This was done in most instances through he Workmen's Circle, though in a few instances, especially Italian cases, regular undertakers were employed and afterwards reimbursed. Tombstones were erected either through the Workmen's Circle, as before mentioned, or the family made and approved contract, and were reimbursed for the same. A memorial monument for the unidentified dead was erected through the Workmen's Circle in the Mt. Zion Cemetery where they were buried.

As Passover followed shortly after the disaster, special Passover benefits were given in Jewish families; and for the Roman Catholic victims a requiem mass was held in the Church of Mary, Help of Christians, on East 12th Street.

The relief was given at very little expense of administration, though a regular office was maintained for four months, at Clinton Hall, and occasional stenographic help was required to date (July, 1912). There was no rent to pay, and several of the visitors were volunteers. Among those who gave their services to the Joint Relief Committee were: Mrs. Bertha H. Mailly, Miss Elizabeth Dutcher, Mrs. Mary Beard, Miss Violet Pike, Mrs. F.H. Leitner, Miss Minna Perlstein, Mrs. Sarah Ostrow, Miss Fannie Zinsher, Miss Anna Griffiths, and Mrs. Morris DeYoung.

Mr. Robert W. Bruere gave expert advice about methods in keeping the records of the work done by the committee.

Special mention should be made of the helpfulness of Miss Cecile Silverquiet. Miss Silverquiet, a graduate trained nurse, freely gave her time for many weeks to the committee, and was invaluable in suggesting special attentions for convalescent cases, taking girls to the country, etc., etc.

It soon became evident, however, that regular workers would have to be engaged to carry on the work; and Mr. Isidore Phillips and Mr. Morris DeYoung, of the Socialist Party and Miss Helen M. Hall, of the Women's Trade Union League, were engaged as visitors, and Miss Rose Wiener as stenographer. During the first three weeks, some of these workers were on duty seven days in the week, and evenings as well as during the day. The committee were perhaps exceptionally fortunate in obtaining the services of such sympathetic visitors, who thoroughly understood the affiliations of the families in distress and sought their information in a spirit of fraternity.

Mention has already been made of the invaluable cooperation given throughout the whole period by the Red Cross Relief Committee. Very early in the work, the North America Civic League for Immigrants were good enough to furnish the Committee with their complete list of the names and addresses of the victims, and also with a short summary of the circumstances attending each case.

The Italian Consul was most helpful throughout, especially in giving reports on Italian dependents, and arranging for the payment of benefits in Italy.

Before going on to the details of the relief given in each case, something should be said of the general character of the victims. Of sixty-two girls and women whose cases were handled by the Joint Relief Committee, fifteen girls gave practically all their salary toward the support, and nineteen were the whole or main support of families living in America. In twenty-one instances, sums ranging from $55 to $20 per month had been sent regularly to families living abroad, and in twenty-one instances also the girls were either alone in New York or two sisters were alone and lived and worked together.

It was interesting to note that in the families concerned the chief reliance for support was on the women members of the family. They seemed to find work more easily and keep it more steadily than the men.

In the case of the European dependents, the Committee verified the amounts sent in all cases by money order receipt. In case there was a brother or sister in New York City, the money was sent in a lump sum; one of our visitors and a member of the family going together to the Post Office and obtaining the money order. In one cases, the money was sent through the Workmen's Circle. In several instances, the Red Cross Committee furnished the money through the American Consul in the nearest city.

The amounts given in each case were determined by the Joint Relief Committee which held regular meetings before the Committee and discussed, and an apportionment made.

For obvious reasons we do not give the name of the family. In each instance, we refer to the case by its number and by the initials of the victims.

Cases Where Relief Was Given

1. D.A., surviving shirtwaist maker, 19 years old, union members, lived in New York boards. Lost clothing in fire; suffered from nervous shock; $25.00 given for clothes; $5.00 for room rent, total $30.00. Sent to German Home for two weeks' recreation. $30.00

2. K.A., 21 years old, surviving shirtwaist maker, formerly union member, suffering from shock; only: boards. Family live in Millville, N.J. Williamsburg Bureau of Charities gave $25.00; union $20.00 for general needs, new clothing and trip to family in Millville, total from both organization $45.00. $25.00

3. A.A., dead, 16 years old, earned $6.00 a week. Father, sister, and brother union members. Four wage-earners in the family; only member not wage-earner is 15 years old and goes to school. Family need death benefit only; $160.00 paid. $160.00

4. M.B., 19 years old, dead, former union member, lived with brother's family at this address: brother also a waistmaker. M. did not contribute toward brother's support, but sent money to Russia. $100.00 sent to Russian relative. $100.00

5. G.B., 22 years old, earned 12 to 15 dollars a week, was a union member, killed. Father has prosperous candy store; brother, machinist, earns $18.00 a week; T. Milliner, earns $9.00 a week, no other children in family. Family ask for tombstone only; $100.00 paid as death benefit. $100.00

6. J.C., 35 years old, dead, union member, earned $12.00 a week. Leaves husband, arm slightly injured, and three children all under school age. Paid $101.00 funeral expenses. $34.00 emergent relief; $400.00 to start Mr. C. In small grocery business (this under the advice of the wife's relatives.)Total $535.00

7. A.C., 25 years old, dead, union member, lived with sister M. 19, and E, 16, who earned 5.00 and $4.00 respectively. A main support ; two brothers, one very prosperous who did not live with the girls, and one married, did not contribute to the support of any of the girls. Tried to persuade E. Younger sister, to go into Clara de Hirsch Home; refused. $250.00 were given girls, who were all satisfied. Total, $250.00

8. A.C., 35 years old, dead, earned $14.00 a week, was a union member and supported her husband, R, 40 years old, barber, who does not work and is said to be rheumatic, also contributed to the support of her daughter C., 17 years old, who earned $7.00 a week, and T., 16 years old, who went to school, also as an old father.

Family anxious to have large relief in order to keep T., 16 years old at high school, but $250.00 was given for funeral expenses and temporary relief only, as mother left diamond earrings and other jewelry which were recovered. $200.00 given old father. Total, $450.00

9. C.D., 18 years old, dead, earned $7.00 a week; in this country eight months only, union member, lived with aunt, Mrs. S. at address named, did not contribute to support of aunt, sent about twenty rubles a month to her home. Funeral expenses paid by the Donowitz Mutual Aid Society; $180.00 sent to mother in Russia. Total, $180.00

10. D.E., years old, dead, earning $9.00 a week, union member, lived with her married brother, sent money to father in Kordonoff, Minsker Gub, Russia. Sent $180.00 to father in Russia; $30.00 through brother, $150.00 by direct Post Office order. Total, $180.00

11. C.E., 17 years old, waistmaker earning $6.00 a week; killed; sister B. 20 years old, petticoat maker earning $8.00 a week. B. Suffering from nervous shock. Funeral expenses paid, $39.00; B. sent to Solomon & Betty Loeb Convalescent Home and given $116.00 for current expenses until she has recovered. Total, $155.00

12. Y.F., 18 years old, an examiner, earning $12.00, died. Surviving family: father, who is able-bodied, but does not work with mother; F. 19, waistmaker, Sarah, 16 waistmaker, Sadie, 12, Dora, 7, and Annie, 4. Emergent relief was given: Red Cross, $15.00, union, $25.00, $15.00, April 11th, $210.00 and $140.00 given, total of union relief $390.00. Total, $390.00

13. R.F., 18 years old, dead, union member, boarded with uncle, sent regular remittances to father and mother in Byalestock, Grodner Gub., Russia. Paid funeral expenses amounting to $53.00, and gave case of European dependents to Red Cross Committee who investigated Russian situation through American Consul and found that the father earned a little money through teaching Hebrew, has seven children ranging from 22 years old to seven, none of whom earn much. R. sent 30 roubles a month in support to the family; Red Cross Committee gave 1,00 roubles to family in Russia. Total $35.00 plus 1,000 roubles.

14. S.F., 17 years old, badly injured, earned $6.00 to $7.00 a week, lived with father, I., shoemaker, earns $7.00 a week; brother L., 27, painter. Out of work, S., 14, at school, M., 10, at school and F., 19, also waistmaker, $10.00 a week. Relief given $250.00 of which $30.00 was given as emergent relief, and the rest paid in weekly installments of $10.00 each. S. sent to Solomon & Betty Loeb, Convalescent Home on August 1st, has now completely recovered. Total, $250.00

15. R.F., 20 years old, dead, union member earned $10.00 a week. Surviving family, father, mother, two sisters, who are waistmakers, and a working brother. Family living in a prosperous way, but in debt. Family given $43.00 emergent relief and $260.00 as R.'s wages for six months. Total, $303.00

16. F.F., 20 years old, earned $14.00, suffering from shock only, union member. Given $50.00 to buy new clothing, clothing having been burned, and also for room to rent. Sent to Solomon & Betty Loeb Convalescent Home for three weeks. Total, $50.00

17. M.F., union member, died. Lived with uncle at above address, no dependents here, case referred to Red Cross for dependents in Palestine; Red Cross reported July 7th, parents in Palestine sent $750.00. Total, plus $750.00

18. M.G., 21 years old, non-union, earned $7.00 to $8.00 a week, boarded with married sister, no dependents in this country, lost clothes, furs, $14.00 in money and bracelet, suffers the shock. Sent $5.00 a month to father, P.G., in Palestine. Statement of loss corroborated union member, $30.00 paid as compensation for clothes. Total, $30.00

19. D.G., 18 years old, dead, earned $10.00 a week, eight months in this country, union member, lived with brother, A, also waistmaker, union member, married, with brother sent money to very needy dependents in Russia. Brother anxious for lump sum to send himself, to Russia; also, $25.00 for tombstone. $300.00 paid brother in April, receipt taken. Total, $300.00

20. S.G., earning $14.00 a week, suffering from shock only, lived with sister, 17 years old, earning $7.00 a week, and father, G. Says she lost money in fire, but cannot prove it. S. went to work again a few days after the fire, so she was given only $5.00 relief. Total, $5.00

21. C.G., 19 years old, in this country 9 months, earned $8.00 a week, union member, killed. Lived with married sister, to whom she owed $50.00 on ticket to this country, and also had sent one remittance to mother in Russia. Burial and tombstone by union. Repayment of $50.00 for ticket to F.L., sister, and $100.00 sent to family in Russian city. Total, $150.00

22. Y.G., 30 years old, earned $10.00 a week, boarded, union member, killed, Two brothers, S. and J., married, silk weavers, Paterson, NJ Y., a union member, sent money to family in Byalistok. Brother in Paterson wish money to be given in lump sum so that family in Russia can come to this country, if they think best. $300.00 paid to family in Russia through Arbeiter Ring. Total, $300.00

23. L. and M.G. L.G., 22 years old, earned $14.00 a week, and M.G., 17 years old, earned $12.00 a week, union members, killed. Lived with mother a widow, brother, a clockmaker, 26 years old, unmarried, no dependents except aged mother. $335.00 given. In October, 1911, unmarried son, J., married and refused to support mother any longer, she being at the time and sickly condition. She moved to the home of her son, L., and became very ill. $100.00 additional relief was given, and on her death $150.00 was given by the Red Cross Fund through the union for funeral expenses and monument. Union relief, $435.00 plus Red Cross relief, $150.00. Total, $585.00

24. R. and P.G. P.G., 19 years old, earned $12.00 badly injured; R., 17 years old, earned $7.00 a week, killed. Lived with mother, 50 years old, widow, brother, M. cloakmaker, $15.00 a week. S., 22 years old, waistmaker, $9.00 a week, J., 20, suspender maker, earns $13.00 a week, R, 11, and A., 8, go to school. Home is very comfortable, but all wage earners have irregular work and P. Remained an invalid for one year. Family has received $618.00. Total, $618.00

25. E.G., 20 years old, earned $12.00 a week, killed, boarded, Father, step-mother, and two step-brothers in Baranowitch. Russia, sent regular remittance to them; also assisted by brother, I., 17 years old, who earned $7.00 a week, when working. Two brothers in Minneapolis willing to look after I. Paid I., $105.00 for funeral expenses, $30.00 for monument for E. and transportation for himself to brothers in Minneapolis.

Referred case of Russian dependents to Red Cross, who on July 27th, reported that they had sent D.N., her father, 400 roubles. Total, $135.00 plus 400 roubles

26. E.H., 21 years old, earned $22.00 a week, union member killed. Lived with father, peddler, earns very little, mother, M., also in Triangle disaster, escaped, earns $5.00 a week; L., 19, earns $5.00 a week, R., 13, and J., 8. E. was the main support of the family, whose income does not average $15.00 a week. $35.00 given in emergent relief and $50.00 given in lump sum by Committee to father who will start a small business. Total, $535.00

27. C. and D.H. D.H., 20 years old, 5 years in this country, earning $12.00 a week, and sister, C.H., 17 years old, one year in this country, earned $8.00 a week, both uninjured except for hysteria; no dependents. Clothing ruined, anxious to visit uncle in Philadelphia, $30.00 given to C. for clothing and transportation to Philadelphia. On return, May 25, D. Called with doctor's certificate, stating that she was still unfit to work; gave $50.00 for extended vacation. Total, $80.00

28. I.J., 19 years old, earning $15.00 a week, killed. Lived with father, who is waist contractor with his own shop, mother, one brother and one sister working in father's shop; and one brother and sister at school. I. was a union member. This family did not need any assistance and, at first, stated that they needed none. Later, asked for aid; given $150.00 as death benefit. Total, $150.00

29. A.K., 18 years old, earned $7.00 a week, in this country one year, killed, lived with sister, Y., and brother, S. $5.00 emergent relief was given to sister, Y, and case of Russian dependents was transferred to Red Cross because union membership could not be established. Red Cross gave $100.00 to Y. and sent $411.94 to Russian dependents. Total, $5 plus $511.94

30. B.K., 19 years old, earned $11.00 a week, union member, in this country, two years, lived with father, A., ill and out of work, mother, and seven brothers and sisters, all under school age. B. Killed saving G.'s life, G. Suffering from shock. G. Sent to Solomon and Betty Loeb Convalescent Home. Emergent relief, $18.00 given, and $600.00 in lump sum. Mother, M.K., who is a good business woman, anxious to start small business. Total, $618.00

31. M.K., 22 years old, earned $12.00 a week, G., 18 years old, earned $10.00 a week, R., 17 years old, earned $8.00 a week, all in Triangle disaster; M., slightly injured, others well, but clothing ruined. Live with father, mother, and three children under school age. No real need; R., went back to work at once, G., looking for work; $50.00 paid to compensate for clothing. Total, $50.00

32. T.K., 18 years old, earned $10.oo a week, one year in New York City, union member, killed, no dependents here, but $40.00 paid to H.K. for funeral. $200.00 sent to dependent mother, A.H., in Russia, total $240.00. Family satisfied. Total, $240.00

33. J.K., man, 24 years old, operator $18.00, newly married, union member, killed. Before he was married, he undoubtedly supported father, J.K., N.Y. City. Said J.K., father, has a soda water stand, and an adult son, H., who should work. No other children. No proof that deceased supported father's family after marriage. $450.00 insurance from the Independent Order, Sons of Jacob, Philadelphia, Pa., will be paid in three months to widow. Question of wife, B's marriage. Cannot remarry unless she gets a release from bother-in-law, H., and he will not give her a release unless satisfied in regard to his own claims. Matter adjusted by paying the wife, B.K., $170.00 for support until insurance money is paid and paying father, J., $100.00. Total, $270.00

37. P.L., 18 years old, dead, earned $10.00 a week, boarded with married sister, two unmarried sisters, wage-earners, living at other addresses. Buried and tombstone erected by union. Receipts to Russia average $5.00 a month. Matter of Russian dependents referred to Red Cross Committee, who reported on June 27th that they have given family in Russia 600 roubles. Total plus 600 roubles

38. M.M., 20 years old, married four months, union member, earned $12.00 a week, lived with husband, J.C., and supported same, dead. Also sent money to old parents, A.M. and T.S. at Striano, Italy. M. family was represented by a brother E.M. ; says that M. helped brother through art school. C., who has not worked since married, anxious union should pay florist's bill of $45.00, also $100.00 for earrings which he bought for M. on the installment plan and which were lost in the fire; union unwilling to do this. Willing to pay $114.00, undertaker's bill. And having ascertained, with the help of the Italian Consul, that M. had really been sending remittances to needy parents in Italy, sent $200.00, through Italian consul, to aforesaid A.M. and T.S., Striano, Italy, total relief $314.00. Total, $314.00

39. Y.M., 19 years old, earned $10.00 a week, union member, killed, lived with sister, L., also a waistmaker, and a brother, A. sent with brother and sister, regularly, money to mother, through C.E., Russia. Buried and tombstone erected by union. Red Cross reported June 26th that they had forwarded 620 roubles to mother in Witka. Total, plus 620 roubles.

40. D.M., 18 years old, surviving waistmakers, earned $10.00 a week; union member, lives with married brother, no dependents; lost clothing in the fire, given $25.00 out of work benefit. Total, $25.00

41. A.M., 19 years old, earned $8.00 a week as examiner, union member, badly injured, in St. Vincent's Hospital for a month and finally died; lived with old father, A. fur sewer, earns $12.00 a week when working, and mother, janitress, brother, N., 15 years old, does not work, and two brothers under school age. Was main support of family when she lived with. Total, $419.00

42. A.R. and R.G. A.R., 22 years old, earned $10.00, fell from fire escape and was injured; boarded with R.G., 20 years old, earned $12.00 a week, suffering from hysteria, only; lives with A.'s aunt, K.C. Neither girls has any dependents. Temporary relief given by Red Cross and Red Cross sent girls to Solomon & Betty Loeb Convalescent Home; on return from Convalescent Home A. given $75.00; R. , $50.00. Total, $125.00

43. V.S., 21 years old, killed, union member, examiner, earned $12.00 a week, lived with father, 46 years old, plasterer, delicate mother, sister, J., neckwear maker, earned $6.00;, L. 16, a trimmer, earned $4.00 a week; and five brothers and sisters under school age. Funeral expenses were paid by the synagogue. Emergent relief in the case of $22.50; lump sum given in three different payments, $500.00. Total, $522.50

44. R.M., 22 years old, dead, earned from $110.00 to $12.00 a week, lived with rheumatic father in room back of small tailor shop, with little sister, M., 14 years old. Step-mother divorced and step-sister lived near by; two brother, H., painter, earns $5.00 a week and S., a baker, out of work, did not live home. Father hardly a proper guardian for M.R. was the homemaker, as well as the support of the family.

$22.50 paid for new clothing for M., $10.00 for immediate relief, and $200.00 paid to Clara de Hirsch Home for entrance fee for M; $77.50 reserved for M. when she comes out of the Clara de Hirsch Home; and $150.00 paid to father in lump sum.Total, $460.00

Note: M. refused to stay in Clara de Hirsch Home; is now boarding and supporting herself. Money supplied as needed.

45. A.N., 17 years old, button-hole, sewer, earned $12.00 a week, union member, very capable girl, killed. Father S, 28 years old, upholsterer, gets odd jobs only. Mother, 45 years old, M, 21 years old, earns $5.00 a week; B., 16 years old, tendency towards tuberculosis, cannot work in factory, goes to high school; two children at school. Board of Health says B. is not tubercular, but is delicate. $35.00 given for funeral expenses, $65.00 emergent relief, $500 paid in lump sum. Total, $600.00

46. R.O., 19 years old, earned $10.00 a week, union member, killed. Father tailor, earns $8.00 to $10.00 a week; mother G., rheumatic, accustomed to go to Sharon Springs every Spring for rheumatism; G., 20 years old, driver at Macy's; I., 17 years old, three under school ages, another brother, P., an actor, does not live home. Jewish Burial Society, Adas Israel, buried R. $280.00 relief given family. Total, $280.00

47. I.P., 18 years old, killed, union member, earned $17.00 a week, boarded; brother J., earned $7.00 a week, only member of the family in this country; buried by the union, and tombstone also erected by the same organization. Matter of Russian dependents referred to Red Cross, July 27, 1911: Red Cross reports that family in Russia are very needy and I. contributed regularly. They have sent their father 600 roubles. Total, plus 600 roubles

48. A.P., 17 years old, union member, earned $12.00 a week, killed, lived with step-mother, who is janitress, and a half brother, a young chemist, C.A. earning $9.00 a week, and three little half-brothers under school age. Note: That C. is no relation to surviving step-mother, A. having been his half-sister, is however willing to give $4.00 or $5.00 a week toward the support of Mrs. P. who is unable to continue janitress work without A.'s help.

Question of pension or lump sum; family finally decided they wished lump sum; $110.00 given in emergent relief while family were deciding, $75.00 paid in lump sum. Total, $860.00

49. Y.R., 22 years old, union member, earned $0.00 a week, killed, lived with married brother, cloakmaker; buried by union, tombstone erected by union. Only dependent, father, B.C. Russia: $200.00 sent July 7th to the above address. Money received.Total, $200.00

50. B.R., orphan, 18 years old, killed, in this country, earned $7.00 a week, union member, lived with and supported only remaining member of family, M. R., 14 years old, in this country four months. M. operated on for adenoids, sent to German Home for Recreation for Women and Children, for a week. Balance on Steamship ticket here settled, $11.50; M., entered at Clara de Hirsch Home, $200.00, total paid on case up to date $277.75 (balance of B.'s funeral expenses paid, $10.00.)$263.25 held for M. who is now under the care of Miss Dutcher, Women's Trade Union League. Has no relative in this country except aunt, Mrs. L.M. is doing well in Clara de Hirsch Home. Total, $541.00

51. E.R., 22 years old, earned $12.00 a week, union member, killed, boarded, buried by Arbeiter Ring, Mt. Sinai Cemetery, tombstone erected by union; no dependents in this city, but sent regular remittances to mother in Pittsburgh, Pa. Through co-operation of the Associated Charities found needs of family, and sent money to Mrs. F.R., Pittsburgh, Pa. Total, $20.00

52. A.S., 32 years old, killed, am examiner, earning $9.00 a week, lived with married sister, sent money regularly to old father, J.S., no dependents in this country; funeral expenses $35.00 paid, $100.00 sent directly to old father in Russia. Total, $135.00

53. G. S., 18 years old, packer, union member, earned $7.00 a week, killed, father a cutter, works irregularly; B., 14, and three little brothers under school age. Family very poor, G. main support. Man anxious to start a tailoring business with F. and S., wishes money in lump sum. Emergent relief given, $73.00, April 28th, $500.00 lump sum given. Total, $573.00

54. J.S., orphan, 18 years old, union waist maker, killed; lived with sister R., 15 years old, who has been in this country only three 3 months. Nearest relative; cousin, L.W. in Brooklyn. Only other member of family living, M.K., 12 years old, Grodner Gub, Russia. J. placed in Clara de Hirsch Home, $200.00 for entrance fee; $53.00 paid L.W. account of J's funeral, case of M. K. referred to Red Cross. $97.00 on hand for R. when she gets out of Home; most capable girl, doing very well. She is now under the care of Miss Dutcher, Women's Trade Union League. J. doing well in Clara de Hirsch Home. Total, $350.00 plus Red Cross

55. R.S., 18 years old, union member, earned $12.00 a week, killed; lived with aunt and uncle; sent money to very needy father; no dependents in this country. April 24th, $200.00 sent directly to Russia. Total, $200.00

56. S.S., 19 years old, not a union member, earned $10.00 a week, died. Lived with father, a union cloakmaker, work not steady, a sister, I., 17 years old, union cloakmaker, earned $10.00 a week, S., 15, does not work, two children under school age. $305.00 given in relief to this family. Total, $305.00

57. B.S., 30 years old, union member, killed, sub-contractor, 15.00 to $18.00 a week, with no dependents in this country, sent money regularly to old mother in Russia. Left an estate of $100.00 in Public Bank, $312.00 in Jarmulowsky's Bank, and a note on cousin M.K. in Brooklyn. Said M.K. has settled funeral expenses. Administration of the estate in the hands of Legal Aid Society; $150.00 sent, April 18th, 1911, for old mother as per above address, to support her until estate would be settled. Further details in the hands of the Legal Aid Society. Total, $150.00

58. F.S., 17 years old, earns $7.00 a week, in this country three months, badly injured in fire, refused to go to the hospital. Under the care of Dr. Lorber, sent to Solomon & Betty Loeb Convalescent Home for four weeks. On return, developed bad case of erysipelas, in Bellevue Hospital three months, on advice of social service department of the Bellevue, removed to Greenwich General Hospital, Greenwich, Conn. Thence to the German Convalescent Home, Bath Beach, thence boarded with friends on the East Side, and taken regularly to Bellevue Dispensary for special treatment. Clothing and special surgical appliances given. Entered for Clara de Hirsch Home, but refused to go on the ground that she wanted to be working again. March 1912, working once more in shirtwaist factory, able to walk to go on the ground that she wanted to be working again. March 1912, working once more in shirtwaist factory, able to walk without any limp. $100.00 deposited in the bank against the future. Total, $373.84

59. S.T., 20 years old, union operator, killed, earned, $12.00 a week, boarded with uncle, U., at address mentioned. Family wanted money for tombstone only, and dependents in Russia. $30.00 paid uncle for tombstone, matter of Russian dependents referred to Red Cross, who reported on June 27th, that S. is said to have sent 200 roubles a year, and was the principal support of his family; 1000 roubles was granted by the Red Cross for this case. Total, plus 1000 roubles.

60. F.W., 20 years old, union member, two and one half years in New York, earned $12.00 a week, was killed; the burial and tombstone furnished by union. F. contributed toward the support of his sister, Mrs. C. with whom she lived, and also, toward the support of her widowed mother in Russia. The union contributed toward the moving expenses of sister, and afterwards received word that the Red Cross proposed to give Mrs. C. a pension of $5.00 a month for a year. Total, plus $5.00 a mo. for a yr.

61. D.W., union member, one year in this country, earned $5.50 a week; lived with uncle, Z., a saloon-keeper, mother, father and five sisters and brothers live in Russia, was killed. Union paid $53.00 for funeral bill to uncle, Z., as per bill, and turned the matter of the Russian dependents over to the Red Cross; Red Cross reported on June 27th, that they had sent the father of D.W., 400 roubles.Total, $53.00 plus 400 roubles

62. C.W., a surviving shirtwaist maker, 22 years old, earning about $12.00 a week, lived with her family. Father is an insurance agent, but makes very little; one brother, 24 years old, cloakmaker, union member, and the six brothers and sisters are under school age. C. sent to Solomon & Betty Loeb Convalescent Home, $26.00 emergent relief given, then $220.00 in weekly payment of $10.00 each. Completely recovered. Total, $246.00

63. R.W., 19 years old, union waist maker, earned $8.00 to $10.00 per week, lived with her widowed mother and her brother, D., 20 years old, a clothing cutter, who has also worked on a farm, and K., 17 years old, also a waist maker earning $8.00 a week; killed, funeral expenses were about $130.00. R. had saved $400.00 to buy a farm where she and her fiancé and her family could live; old mother not willing to have fiancé live with them now, but family are still anxious to have a farm in the country, and live on it. Old mother, however, determined to spend $400.00 save, on a tombstone for R. Family much broken up by trouble and very hysterical. Family had $42.00 in emergent relief and $300.00 in lump sum. Total, $342.00

64. S.W., 15 years old, six weeks in this country, earned $4.00 a week, died; lived with her sister, Y., a cloakmaker, earning 6.00 to $8.00 a week when working. Y. owed $54.00 balance on S.'s ticket to J.S. Y., union member, is very hysterical, clothes provided for Y. and sent for two weeks to Grand View, N.Y. Balance owed on steamship ticket paid. Balance of ticket, $30.00, emergent relief, $30.00 lump sum, $100.00. Total, $175.80

Financial Report

The following report does not include a small amount paid out by Mr. Zuckerman, of the Ladies' Waist Makers' Union, during the first two days after the disaster. This was paid to non-union cases, who were in urgent need, and applied to the Union, and amounted to $215.00, and was almost entirely for burials.


Morris Hillquit, Treasurer Joint Relief Committee for relief $15,658.90

Mr. Zuckerman, Ladies' Waist Makers' Union for relief $475.00

Refund by Clara de Hirsch Home (case 44) $202.50

Red Cross Committee, special for case 23 $150.00

Reserved by the Treasurer for cases 23, 50, and 54 $615.25

Balance cash on hand $85.54


Paid Out

Card systems and office books $4.38

Rental of typewriter, three months $5.00

Salaries, stamps, money order fees, car fees $220.70

Requiem mass, Catholic victims $25.00

L. Bauman and S. Schwarz, funerals $235.90

Arbeiter Ring, graves and monuments $530.00

Report of the Joint Relief Committee, Ladies Waist and Dressmakers Union, Local 25 on the Triangle Fire Disaster, January 15, 1913, New York, is part of the ILGWU Permanent Exhibit, Box 1, Cornell University, Kheel Center for Labor Management Documentation and Archives, Ithaca, NY.

Sweatshop conditions in the early 1900's