The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Memorial
People from many diverse communities – labor, women and immigrant rights, Jewish and Italian-American, relatives of the victims – are passionately connected to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. These communities, from a broad range of perspectives – academic, artistic and activist – are uniting to create this people’s memorial for the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.
Through conversations in open meetings and online several key themes are emerging:
- The names & ages of the victims – people would like them to be included but are mindful of not wanting a numbing list.
- An explicit connection between the past and present fight for the rights of women, workers and immigrants.
- A dynamic component that engages the public in an on going conversation/participation, perhaps annually activated
- Visually compelling, a destination work that will draw people to the story and be accessible to young people
There are three key books about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the Kheel Center website is home to an amazing collection including photos, trial transcripts, oral histories and much more.
- Triangle: The Fire that Changed America by David von Drehle
- The Triangle Fire by Leon Stein
- The Triangle Fire, the Protocols of Peace, and Industrial Democracy in Progressive Era New York by Richard Greenwald
- The Kheel Center at Cornell University online exhibit
- Names: a list of the names and ages of the victims
- History: a concise history of the fire and its importance over time
- Representation of the fire – memorials: an article comparing the memorial in Evergreens Cemetery and the living memorial of the funeral procession in 1911
- Representation of the fire – press (Part #1, Part #2): how the press covered the fire.
- Notes from Aug. 23, 2010 open community meeting on the memorial
- Chalk – annual community commemoration of the fire
- Family Photos: photos of victims of the fire New.
There are several possible locations for the memorial. Below is a map which includes the brown building and the homes of the victims. There is also a plaza in front of NYU’s Stern School of Business, a block from the Brown building which offers a clear view of the upper floors of the building (although the view is sometimes partial when the trees are in leaf).
View Triangle Factory Fire – Chalk in a larger map
Please note that the Brown Building has landmark status. We have been in touch with the Landmarks Commission and they are open to the memorial being placed there but there are certain constraints – no damage to the building and they prefer works that expand rather than cover the architecture.
All of these spaces would require the permission of their owners.
Members of the artist selection committee who might have areas of expertise that are useful for your research are listed below and available for consultation:
Leigh Benin (relative of Rose Oringer)
David von Drehle (author Triangle: the Fire that Changed America)
Elizabeth Finkelstein (Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation)
Diane Fortuna (relative of Daisy Lopez Fitze)
Hanna Griff (Museum at Eldridge Street, Jewish community & neighborhood)
Sherry Kane (Workers United)
Curtis Lyons (Kheel Center)
Judy Paul(Community Board 2)
Maria Skouras (NYU, Brown Building)
Ruth Sergel(Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition)
Ellen Todd (Art Historian, George Mason University, writing a book on the representation of the fire)
Mary Anne Trasciatti (Hofstra University, Italian-American community liaison)
Daniel Walkowitz (Historian, NYU)
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