As an archive dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of historical information, the Kheel Center strives to present accurate information on all facets of its website. This is most especially important with the list of victims of the Triangle Fire, both because of the event's historical importance and to honor those who perished in the tragedy.
There are many lists of victims in existence. The earliest lists were created by and for newspaper accounts at the time of the incident. When the Kheel Center first launched its Triangle Fire website, we created a list which integrated the newspaper lists with information from Leon Stein's book, The Triangle Fire. We also linked at one time to a list created by David von Drehle as part of his book, Triangle: The Fire that Changed America.
Over time, we found and were made aware of, a number of mistakes in these lists. We made corrections, often based on documentation provided by a victim's family. During that time, we worked closely with New York City independent researcher Michael Hirsch. An experienced genealogist, Mr. Hirsch pored over hundreds of newspapers and official documents to confirm information on the list and to fill in gaps when necessary.
When we renovated and expanded the website to coincide with the centennial, we made the decision to use the list which Mr. Hirsch had created for his research as we feel it is the most accurate list to date. That said, everyone who has ever done historical research understands that records contain inaccuracies. Even records as personal and important as a marriage certificate or tombstone were known to contain mistakes as basic as misspelled names and incorrect birthdates. This was especially true with immigrants during this period, who would often find their names and birthplaces misspelled or even changed altogether. And, of course, many immigrants chose to change their names and others found their names had been changed for them by immigration officials. In addition, many of the victims were not yet old enough to have firmly established themselves in the records and therefore we do not have the kind of bounty from which we can easily recognize the occasional mistake.
Because of this, it is frequently difficult to be definitive about biographical information. We urge anyone, especially family members, who have questions or concerns about particular pieces of information on the victims list (or anywhere else on our website), to contact us. We will attempt to resolve the question through the documents we have here, documents provided by the scholar or family member raising the question, and documents found by Mr. Hirsch. In cases where we cannot rule out competing information, we will list both pieces in the victim's information.
We are grateful for the input offered by the public and look forward to continuing to improve the list, making it as accurate as possible.