Published Date

January 1, 2004

Resource Type

For the Classroom



AHA Topics

Teaching & Learning


United States

This resource was developed in 2004 as part of “Discovering American Social History on the Web” by Dan Kallgren.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire was a very fast and deadly fire that occurred on March 25, 1911 at the Triangle Shirtwaist sweatshop in New York. Within one-half hour 146 mostly young immigrant women died when they could not get out of the sweatshop due to locked doors and windows and inadequate fire escapes. This fire highlighted the plight of the overworked and underpaid garment industry workers, and caused a public outcry against the abuses poor workers faced more generally from unscrupulous employers.

Your assignment: “Select, analyze and write about the past”

  1. Read the section entitled “Urban Ghettos” on pages 625–26 in the Faragher text.
  2. Visit the website listed above and familiarize yourself with the materials contained therein.
  3. Chose one of the following sections to focus your attention on:
    1. The sections on political cartoons and photographs
    2. “Oral Histories”
    3. “Sweatshops and Strikes before 1911”
    4. “The Triangle Fire”
    5. “Relief Work and Investigative Activities”
    6. “Mourning the Dead”
    7. “Fire Victims”
  4. Prepare a short report (2-4 pages) on some aspect of the information found in your section. Does a dominant theme emerge from the information? Is there some particularly interesting section that sheds insight into the fire or the victims? Plan to present these reports to the class.