Little Falls native Michael Cooney will discuss his book “The Red Nurse” at the Tuesday April 24 meeting of the Little Falls HistoricalSociety. Cooney’s book is a timely work of historical fiction centered on the role of public health nurse Helen Schloss in the months before and during the 1912 Little Falls Textile Strike.
The book also contains an excerpt from the unpublished memoir of Madilda Rabinowitz who came to Little Falls as a member of the IWW labor union to help coordinate the efforts of striking mill workers.
Cooney’s presentation is the first in a series of local events to take place between April and October as the city commemorates the centennial of the historic labor strike. Other strike-related events being planned are an August roundtable discussion at Canal Place, a July presentation by local resident Bob Albrecht at the MVCA and an October living history day.
Contacted about his upcoming lecture, Cooney said: “One of the most fascinating things about the 1912 Textile Strike is how controversial many of these issues still are today. A hundred years ago both the nation and Little Falls were struggling with a flood of immigration and as the poorly paid factory workers went on strike, many residents of Little Falls were alarmed.”
2012 is the 100th anniversary of the three-month long strike that drew national attention to the city. Cooney also said: “As the strike wore on, both sides played to the media of the day and when it was over, the results probably did not make anyone happy. This may be why the strike was forgotten for so many years.”
The 1912 Textile Strike contained elements of a number of issues competing for attention in turn-of-the-century America. The broader issues of worker and women’s rights, the relationship between factory owners and workers and the nature of government and public response to labor issues all played out on the streets of Little Falls during the strike.
Taking place in the year following the tragic 1911 Triangle fire in NYC and sandwiched between bigger labor strikes in Lawrence, Massachusetts and Paterson, New Jersey, the 1912 Little Falls Textile Strike drew the attention of both the AFL and the IWW labor unions.
Copies of Cooney’s 117-page “The Red Nurse” will be available for sale for $10 following the meeting. The author’s presentation will be preceded by a short Historical Society business meeting.
The general public is cordially invited to attend this and all meetings of the Little Falls Historical Society.
Monitor the Historical Society website for more details in coming months.
Thanks to all for turning out on Tuesday and for waiting so patiently to have your copy of "The Red Nurse" signed. Barbara and I will be in Little Falls again during Canal Days and participating in panel discussion on the 1912 strike on August 9 along with Dick Buckley, Bob Albrecht, Dennis Dineen and Schuyler Van Horn. Time and place to be announced .Further recognition of the strike is planned for the weekend of October 5-7, the anniversary of the walk-out.
A walking tour of the scenes of the 1912 strike is scheduled for October 6 and promises to be quite interesting. A Readers Theater production of “Strike Story,” an original production by Angela Harris about the 1912 strike will be held in the Black Box Theater in the Stone Mill on the following evening, October 7. And on September 8, 7 PM in the Masonic Temple, Bob Albrecht will reprise his talk on the life of Helen Schloss, the protagonist of my novel. Bob, however, will confine himself to a purely factual approach.