On to Paterson

  • Nunzio Pernicone
Part of the Italian and Italian American Studies book series (IIAS)


On New Year’s Eve, 1912, several thousand hotel workers in New York walked off their jobs to protest the low wages and deplorable physical conditions that prevailed in the industry. The strike had been called by the International Hotel Workers’ Union (IHWU), a newly organized union that had broken away from the AFL; it claimed a membership of 5,000, the great majority of them foreign-born. Many of the Italian members were Wobblie sympathizers, and in response to their request for assistance, IWW headquarters sent Tresca, Flynn, and Patrick L. Quinlan to help conduct the strike. Tresca arrived directly from Little Falls, New York, where at the IWW’s request he had participated at the end of December in a victorious strike of textile workers led by Matilda Rabinowitz.1


Textile Worker Disorderly Conduct General Strike Police Brutality 42nd Street 
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  1. 1.
    Flynn, The Rebel Gir?, 152; Frank Bohn, “The Strike of the New York Hotel and Restaurant Workers,” International Socialist Revie? 13 (February 1913): 620–621; The New York Time?, January 1, 1913.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Max Eastman, “Profile of Carlo Tresca: Troublemaker-I;” New Yorke? 10,31 (September 15, 1934): 32–33.Google Scholar
  3. 13.
    For the Paterson strike of 1913, see Steve Golin, The Fragile Bridge: Paterson Silk Strike, 191? ( Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988 )Google Scholar
  4. Anne Huber Tripp, The I.W.W. and the Paterson Silk Strike of 191? (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1987); James E. Wood, “History of Labor in the Broad-Silk Industry of Paterson, New Jersey, 1879–1940” (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation: University of California, 1942), 244–265.Google Scholar
  5. An indispensable primary source is U.S. Congress, Senate Commission on Industrial Relations: Final Report and Testimon?, sixty-fourth Congress, first session, doc. No. 415 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1916), vol. 3: 2411–2645 (cited hereafter as C.L?.). For accounts by direct participants, see Tresca, Autobiograph?, 175–178; Flynn, The Rebel Gir?, 154–173; ide?, “The Truth About the Paterson Silk Strike (a speech before the New York Civic Club Forum, January 31, 1914),” in Joyce L. IZornbluh, ed., Rebel Voices: An LWW. Antholog? ( Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1964 ), 215–226.Google Scholar
  6. Patrick L. Quinlan, “The Paterson Strike and After;” The New Revie? 2 (January 1914): 26–32.Google Scholar
  7. See also Gregory Mason, “Industrial War in Paterson,” Outloo? 104 (June 7,1914): 283–287Google Scholar
  8. Howard Levin, “The Paterson Silkworkers’ Strike of 1913;” King’s Crown Essay? 9 (winter 1961–1962): 45–64; Dubofsky, We Shall Be Al?, 263–285; Foner, The Industrial Workers of the Worl?, 351–372; Renshaw, The Wobblie?, 112–118.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    For the Italian dimension, se? Fenton, Immigrants and Union?, 366–376; Golin, The Fragile Bridg?, 25–32, 55–58 et passim; James D. Osborne, “Italian Immigrants and the Working Class in Paterson: The Strike of 1913;” in Paul A. Stellhorn, ed., New Jersey’s Ethnic Heritag? (Trenton: New Jersey Historical Commission, 1978), 11–34, and his ”Paterson: Immigrant Strikers and the War of 1913;“ in Joseph A. Conlin, ed., At the Point of Production: The Local History of the I.W.W? (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1981), 61–78. One of the few studies of the Italians in Paterson prior to the 1913 strike is Carlo C. Altarelli, ”History and Present Conditions of the Italian Colony of Paterson, N.J.“ (unpublished M.A. thesis: Columbia University, 1911 ).Google Scholar
  10. 16.
    Altarelli, “The Italian Colony of Paterson;” 2–3; Golin, The Fragile Bridg? 25, 29; Luigi Vittorio Ferraris, ”L’Assassinio di Umberto I e gli anarchici di Paterson,“ Rassegna Storico del Risorgiment? 55, 1 (January–March 1968): 51Google Scholar
  11. Arrigo Petacco, L’Anarchico che venne dall’Americ? ( Verona: Mondadori, 1969 ), 51.Google Scholar
  12. 20.
    Margaret H. Sanger, “The Paterson Strike;” in Hippolyte Havel, ed., Revolutionary Almanac, 191? ( New York: The Rabelais Press, 1914 ), 47.Google Scholar
  13. 21.
    Altarelli, “The Italian Colony of Paterson;” 11; Osborne, “Immigrant Strikers and the War of 1913;” 69; Carey, “Anarchists in Paterson;” 56–57; Golin, The Fragile Bridg?, 27; Salerno, “No God, No Master;” 176–177, 179–181; oral account by William Gallo, in Paul Avrich, Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in Americ? (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), 153–157; L’Era Nuov? February 22, 1913; Gallo’s father, Firmino Gallo, was a silk weaver and one of the most prominent anarchists in Paterson.Google Scholar
  14. 22.
    Quinlan, “The Paterson Strike and After;” 27–28; William D. Haywood, “The Rip in the Silk Industry;” International Socialist Revie? 13 (May 1913): 783–785; testimony of Adolph Lessig, in C.I.R?, 3: 2453–2454.Google Scholar
  15. 33.
    Mabel Dodge Luhan, Intimate Memoir?, vol. 3: Movers and Shaker? (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1936), 187–189Google Scholar
  16. John Reed, “War in Paterson;” International Socialist Revie? 14 (July 1913): 43–48Google Scholar
  17. Granville Hicks, John Reed: The Making of a Revolutionar? ( New York: The MacMillan Co., 1937 ), 98–100.Google Scholar
  18. 34.
    The most sympathetic account of the Paterson pageant and its antecedents is Golin, The Fragile Bridg?, 109–179. See also Martin Green, New York 1913: The Armory Show and the Paterson Strike Pagean? ( New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1988 ).Google Scholar
  19. 46.
    Ibid., March 5, 10, 21, April 1, 1913; Robert J. Wheeler, “The Allentown Silk Dyers’ Strike;” International Socialist Revie? 13 (May 1913): 820–821; Haywood, Autobiograph?, 268; Golin, The Fragile Bridg?, 43–45.Google Scholar
  20. 51.
    Hicks, John Ree?, 97–98; John Reed, “War in Paterson,” International Socialist Revie? 14 (July 1913): 43–46.Google Scholar

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© Nunzio Pernicone 2005

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  • Nunzio Pernicone

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