Frances Perkins: The Woman Behind the New Deal

Triangle Fire > New York's Worst Fire

Harper's Weekly Magazine

New York’s Worst Fire

Leaf from Harper’s Weekly, New York, 1 April 1911

Frances Perkins Papers, Box 137

Harper’s Weekly printed many of the horrific photographs from “New York’s Worst Fire” on this sheet, kept and never forgotten by Frances Perkins.

Gift of Susanna Perkins Coggeshall, 1970

Frances Perkins

Draft for addresses at Cornell on the anniversary of the Triangle Fire

Ithaca, New York, March 24, 1961

Frances Perkins Papers, Box 132

Perkins’s speech begins: “It was exactly 50 years ago tomorrow on a fine late Saturday afternoon… that 147 young working people forced to do overtime on blouses for Easter were trapped and killed in the catastrophe of the Triangle Fire.” She records what she herself witnessed: “I got there as they began to jump 12 stories – girls hanging by their hands to the window sills – jumping in 2s & 3s clasping each other’s hands for courage – desperation.” It would change her life to one of government service.

Gift of Susanna Perkins Coggeshall, 1970


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