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John Foster

Signs of Labor


The American Worker is celebrated the first Monday of September with the observance of Labor Day. It is also the day that marks the symbolic end of summer, the closing of most swimming pools, and the beginning of school for most children. Labor Day became a national holiday in 1882.

This week we look at a selection of images that personify the hard work and dedication of the American worker.

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Ralph Fasanella
Daily News Strike
1993
30 x 40 inches (76.2 x 101.6 cm)
oil on canvas
Andrew Edlin Gallery, NY

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Ralph Fasanella
Bread and Roses Textile Strike
This is a painting of the “Bread and Roses” textile workers strike in Lawrence, MA, in 1912. Many of Fasanella’s paintings are now permanently exhibited in such public places as the Smithsonian Institution, the New York City subway, Oakland International Airport, and, of course, union halls.

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Ralph Fasanella
Triangle Shirtwaist
This tribute to the victims of the 1910 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in Manhattan is Fasanella’s vision of a typical unionized workplace.

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Bryan Haynes
Fence Builders
Oil on Canvas, 2011

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Photographer: Lewis Hine (1874-1940)
Image ID: 95226
A Steelworker from Italy (1931)
New York Public Library

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Photographer: Lewis Hine (1874-1940)
Image ID: 79874
Worker on Empire State building, signaling the hookman (1931)
New York Public Library

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Photographer: Arthur Rothstein
Paperboy, Iowa City, Iowa, USA, 1940.
Source: Library of Congress

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Artist/Designer: Albert M. Bender
Illinois WPA Art Project, [1941]
Poster promoting the U.S. Civilian Conservation Corps

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Made in America: Building a Nation, a sheet of 12 stamps honoring the men and women who helped build our country. Eleven of the 12 stamp images were taken by photographer Lewis Hine, a chronicler of early 20th-century industry. The other one is by Margaret Bourke-White.

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Lumbermen chopping down the giant trees of northern California, taken by Darius Kinsey early in the last century.

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Loggers sitting in dugout canoe which is used for transportation to and from work, unidentified logging camp, Washington, n.d.

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Max Kahn (1904 - ) 
Woman Ironing, 1937 
lithograph on paper, 9 by 13 inches, Edition: 24/25
Illinois State Museum Collection

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Rosie the Riveter
Artist: Norman Rockwell, 1943

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Front page of the 9-22-09 edition of the Cleveland Press, the first day of the 1919 steel strike. The image shows the public meeting of Cleveland steel workers at Brookside Park.

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These hand-tooled aluminum hard hats were custom-made by craftsmen in Indonesia for Americans working on oil rigs. c. 1960s -1970s.

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Detail of an engraved hard hat.


Posted in: Accidental Mysteries, Art, Culture

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