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UALE Summer School for Union Women: Lawrence Strike

Resources for the workshops offered by the regional summer institutes for union women sponsored by United Association for Labor Education.


Cahn, William. Lawrence, 1912: The Bread and Roses Strike. New York: Pilgrim Press, 1980.

 Primarily a pictorial history of the Lawrence Strike.  [out-of-print, check libraries.]

Cameron, Ardis. Radicals of the Worst Sort: Laboring Women in Lawrence,Massachusetts, 1860-1912. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

This book focuses on women’s participation in textile mill strikes, paying close attention to the women who rebelled against economic and gender hierarchies.

Flynn, Elizabeth G. The Rebel Girl: An Autobiography,My First Life (1906-1926). New York: International Publishers, 1973.

IWW organizer and talented orator, Gurley Flynn was a key figure in the Lawrence Strike and the inspiration for Joe Hill’s song “Rebel Girl”.  Her autobiography covers her life up to 1926.

Kornbluh, Joyce L. Rebel Voices: An I.W.W. Anthology. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1964. 

This book tells the story of the I.W.W., and includes one chapter about the Lawrence Strike.  It’s a wonderful resource for Lawrence Strike songs such as “The Eight-Hour Song” and “In the Good Old Picket Line”. 

McPherson, John B. The Lawrence Strike of 1912. Boston: The Rockwell and Churchill Press, 1912. (Reprinted from the September, 1912, Bulletin of    the National Association of Wool Manufacturers, Boston, Mass.)  Available Free Online:

This is a highly readable contemporary account of the strike, 46-pages long. Although published by an industrial association, the writer aims “to tell in a truthful manner the story of the great labor outbreak which convulsed Lawrence last winter”, and concludes that all sides could learn lessons from the events.

Moran, William. The Belles of New England: The Women of the Textile Mills and the Families Whose Wealth They Wove. New York, N.Y: Thomas Dunne Books/ St. Martin's Press, 2002.

An engaging read outlining the rise and fall of the textile industry in New England, the amazing wealth produced for a select few families, and industry flight to the South to escape unions.   

Nutter, Kathleen B. The Necessity of Organization: Mary Kenney O'Sullivan and Trade Unionism for Women, 1892-1912. New York: Garland Pub, 2000.

This book focuses on women’s unionism as well as Mary Kenney O’Sullivan’s key role as a negotiator in the Lawrence Strike. 

Report on the Strike of Textile Workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912, 62nd Congress, 2nd Session, Senate Document 870 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1912).

Available Free Online:

This government document includes striking statistics and details about the Lawrence Strike. 

Watson, Bruce. Bread and Roses: Mills, Migrants, and the Struggle for the American Dream. New York: Viking, 2005.

A vivid and thorough historical account of the strike for “bread”, a living wage, and “roses”, dignity.  

Childrens Books


Baker, Julie. The Bread and Roses Strike of 1912. Greensboro, N.C: M. Reynolds Pub, 2007.

This book presents the struggles and commitment of the mill workers through the use of vivid photographs, well organized chapters, and a timeline. (160 pages, Ages 10+)

 Bartoletti, Susan C. Kids on Strike! Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

Kids on Strike! examines the role that young adults played in labor strikes throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. It includes one chapter on the Lawrence Strike.  (208 pages, Ages 9+)

McCully, Emily A. The Bobbin Girl. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1996.

Based on the life of Harriet Hanson Robison, this story offers a glimpse into the life of a 10 year old bobbin girl working in 19th century Lowell, Mass.  (picture book, Ages 5+)

Paterson, Katherine. Bread and Roses,Too. New York: Clarion Books, 2006.

The award winning author of “Bridge to Terabithia” brings the Lawrence strike to life in this historical fiction novel featuring a boy and girl embroiled in the Bread and Roses Strike. Note:  This book won the New York Public Library Best Books for Teen Age in 2007.  (288 pages, Ages 10+) 


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