Fragments from the Fire: The Triangle Shirtwaist Company Fire of March 25, 1911
The Triangle Shirtwaist Company manufactured blouses for women and was located on the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors of the Asch Building, at the corner of Washington Place and Greene Street, in New York City's Washington Square.The company employed up to 900 workers at a time, but on March 25, 1911, only about 500 were present. These were immigrants, most of whom could not speak the English language. Nearly all were female, primarily Russian or Italian, although twelve nationalities were known to be ''on the books.'' At about 4:45 p.m., just after pay envelopes had been distributed, a fire broke out. Not everyone was able to reach the elevators and stairways. On the ninth floor, because the bosses had kept the doors locked to keep out union organizers, workers were forced to jump from windows. One hundred forty-six people, some as young as fourteen, perished. In 1987, Chris Llewellyn chronicled the Triangle Fire and its aftermath in her award-winning, polyvocal book of poems, Fragments from the Fire. Now, 105 years after the Fire, Fragments is in print once again. With poetic and documentary impulses, Fragments speaks to the deplorable working conditions that characterize the garment industry in this new millennium as it continues to commemorate the Triangle Fire of March 25, 1911. Winner of the Walt Whitman Award for 1986, this is a revised 30th anniversary edition of that book which was originally published by Viking Press in 1987 and again in "Steam Dummy & Fragments from the Fire" by Bottom Dog Press in 1993.
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