Held on April 2, 1911, at the Metropolitan Office House, the Memorial Meeting was marked by a speech by ILGWU and WTUL organizer, Rose Schneiderman. Among her angry remarks, she said, "We have tried you good people of the public and we have found you wanting...." She noted that "There are so many of us for one job it matters little if 146 of us are burned to death." She called for workers to join in union efforts so that workers themselves could stand for their rights.
League strongly supports the woman suffrage movement. Margaret Dreier Robins, Leonora O’Reilly, and Rose Schneiderman especially active; New York WTUL closely allied with Woman Suffrage Party in successful state campaign of 1917.
After the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, labor rights activist Rose Schneiderman made a famous speech which provided the basis for investigating our communal and individual responsibilities for the well being of others in our midst.
When the League in 1955 prepared to sell its clubhouse and disband, it gave thought to the preservation of its records. A Special Committee on House Inventory recommended that they be offered to the New York Public Library or, if it should decline, to one of the city’s municipal or other colleges (Reel 5, frame 473). The reaction to this suggestion is not recorded. Possibly Rose Schneiderman, remembering her service as secretary of the New York State Department of Labor, thought its library a more suitable repository. In any event, that was the ultimate choice. In turning over the collection, Gerel Rubien, the League’s last president, stipulated that it be made available to scholars. The papers were formally transferred in November 1956. Eleanor Roosevelt spoke at the ceremonies, and Mary Dreier and other longtime League members were on hand.
Sans-Cullottes Empathic Essay; Rose Schneiderman Speech;
The papers when first received were considerably jumbled, but they were gradually restored to something like their original order. Rose Schneiderman while working on her autobiography took out some material which presumably remained with her papers. With further refinements in arrangement, the collection was microfilmed for the present edition in 1977.
Excerpt from Rose Schneiderman's April 2, 1911 Speech; 1
Other papers found their way into the collection more by chance than by design. Since Maud Swartz and Rose Schneiderman combined their presidencies of the National WTUL with posts in the New York League, using the same typists and files in both capacities, their national correspondence remained interfiled with the local. Swartz did keep a separate file of her correspondence as an officer of the International Congress/Federation of Working Women, but this too stayed in the New York office. So did the papers of three special-interest groups of the 1930’s in which New York League members participated: the New York Conference for Unemployment Insurance Legislation, the New York Joint Committee for Ratification of the Child Labor Amendment, and the Campaign Committee against the Equal Rights Amendment.
The character of the New York league changed in another important respect after World War I. Despite the fact that local labor unions never, as had been hoped, took over the financial burden of supporting the League, middle-class allies now played a far less important role in its day-to-day work. Most of the League leaders in the 1920’s and 1930’s, like Rose Schneiderman and Maud Swartz, were working women. Allies like Mary Dreier and Helen Marot were replaced by more traditional and distant philanthropists, such as Mrs. Thomas Lamont, who underwrote the League’s expenses but took little or no actual part in its affairs.
ESSAY "Rose Schneiderman and the Triangle Fire" 90 (9) ..
This cross-class women's network deepened with the uprisings of young women garment workers that began in New York in 1909 and then spread over the next few years into other Eastern and Midwestern cities. Middle-class and affluent supporters of woman suffrage—including League activists, college students, and even wealthy socialites—saw these strikes as an opportunity to win working women to the cause. Forming what the press dubbed "mink brigades," affluent supporters marched alongside young immigrant women on picket lines in a largely successful attempt to reduce high rates of police brutality. After they bailed arrested strikers out of jail, they spoke (alongside the released strikers) for woman suffrage on the steps of jails and courthouses. Affluent feminists brought working women into existing suffrage organizations, as well as offering financial support for the establishment of working-class suffrage groups. Working women understood, as Polish Jewish cap maker Rose Schneiderman explained in 1907, that they "must … secure political power to shape their own labor conditions."