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The Designer as Activist

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Part of the Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History book series (PSTPH)

Abstract

While Robert Edmond Jones’s design for The Man Who Married a Dumb Wife looms large over American theatre history, one of his earlier designs arguably occupies a larger place in American cultural history. Before his Broadway debut, Jones designed the Paterson Strike Pageant (1913), a performance including many Greenwich Village (Village) artists and sponsored by the International Workers of the World (IWW). Working in collaboration, artists and union organizers held the event in New York’s Madison Square Garden (Garden) to bring attention to the strike by silk mill workers in Paterson, New Jersey. Jones not only designed the large-scale scenery for the pageant, but also the publicity image printed on posters and programs, a forceful symbol of worker solidarity (see fig. 3.1). Later adopted by the IWW to publicize subsequent events, the image became an icon of the US labor movement and its struggle to secure workers’ rights during the early twentieth century.

Keywords

Stage Designer Labor Movement Progressive Politics Theatre Artist Factory Owner 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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© Christin Essin 2012

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