Today in History: Labor Day
Influenced by his father who worked as a bus driver and in other vocations, “Factory” by Bruce Springsteen recognizes the common man and shows, along with his other great songs (“Working on the Highway“, “Jack of All Trades“), respect for the rights of the working class. It’s not surprising that The Boss performs often on Labor Day, and in cities, like Philly and Detroit, where industry is vital — or that his energetic, 3 hour-plus concerts demonstrate not just incredible talent, but the dedication and hard work needed for success. Springsteen speaks to Americana, worker’s dire, and the American dream — the belief that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative. Listen to Bruce who wishes us a Happy Labor Day and take stock of its meaning, today in history.
The first Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 6, 1882 in New York City. Reflective of the labor movement, it sought to recognize the contributions of workers to the strength and posterity of our nation. Just two years later, the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday and, by 1885, Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial towns and centers across the country.
The following stories provide insight into the history of Labor Day, including perspectives on leaders, libertarians, and libraries, and with attention to the city in which we live and work. They are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, a resource which serves to inspire research, as well as classroom learning and teaching.
- History of Labor Day. (1896, Sep 06). The Washington Post (1877-1922)
- Labor Day to Be Observed. (1898, Aug 23). The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945)
- Burgman, C. F. (1929, Sep 01). A Few Labor Day Reminiscences. The Washington Post (1923-1954)
- Perley, F. E. (1946, Sep 01). Labor Day: Sixty-fourth Anniversary of the Nation’s Annual Tribute to Workers Scheduled for Observance Tomorrow throughout the Land. The Hartford Courant (1923-1990)
- Saloutos, T. (1954, Sep 05). Labor Day History. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File)
- What Is Labor Day Anyway? History Cited. (1959, Aug 26). Atlanta Daily World (1932-2003)
- Special to The New York Times. (1963, Aug 29). Texts of the President’s Statements on Rights and on Labor Day. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Laborless Day. (1979, Sep 07). New Journal and Guide (1916-2003)
- Wade, Betsy. (1983, Sep 02). In Search of the Sites of New York’s Labor History. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Maddocks, M. (1988, Aug 26). A Short History of How Every Day Has Become Labor Day. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File)
- Zimmer, W. (1996, Sep 01). Remaking a Treasure Chest of Tools and Trades. New York Times (1923-Current File)
The poster above is inspired by “Three Workers Carrying Log” and part of The Ukrainian Children’s Art Collection, which consists of 26 original works by Ukrainian students that was first exhibited in New York in the late 1930’s. The works were created by art students aged 8-13, and were typical in their socialist content, as well as form. They illustrate principles of both art education and civic training, and provide a unique view into Soviet education of the 1930’s.
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