Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


Today Is the Triangle Fire’s 100th Anniversary

Some readings on its legacy

Print Email
The fire being put out.(Remembering the Triangle Factory Fire)

Take a moment today and remember the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, the massive Greenwich Village tragedy that, 100 years ago today, killed 146 workers—mostly young women, many of them Jews—and helped spur the United States’s nascent labor movement. Parenting columnist Marjorie Ingall looked at the oft-overlooked complexities of the fire’s legacy, and I reviewed HBO’s documentary about the fire (which is worth your time if you can catch it on re-airing or on-demand).

Also, here is a cool thing: The good folks at Metropolitan Klezmer have recorded a long-lost piece of Yiddish sheet music composed in the fire’s immediate aftermath. And you can listen to it right now!

Elsewhere, the Times’s City Room’s coverage has been gangbusters: Of particular note are the basic summary of what, exactly, went down; a report on the chalky memorial performed each year (including, of course, today); and an incredibly neat look at what was then called the Asch Building, at the corner of Washington Place and Greene Street (less than five minutes’ walk from Tablet Magazine’s offices), compared to what it looks like today.

The Forward also has great coverage, and while some of it mirrors the Times’s, the paper also dug into its archives, translated the Yiddish, and reprinted what the Farverts published 100 years ago: For example, “Triangle Bosses Arrested on Murder Charge” (“The Bolted Lock Is a Mute Witness”).

Of course, no look at how much has changed would be complete without a look at how much has stayed the same. Dissent’s Greg Smithsimon and Forward’s Gal Beckerman both point to the eerie resonances between the Triangle fire and a fatal conflagration that occurred at a garment factory in Bangladesh—last year.

And guess where there remains a thriving garment industry dependent on cheap, immigrant, mostly female labor? That’s right: New York City.

Lost in the Fire [Tablet Magazine]
Triangle Fire: A Half-Hour of Horror [City Room]
In a Tragedy, a Mission to Remember [City Room]
Triangle Bosses Arrested on Murder Charge [Forward]
Mourn and Organize: The Triangle Fire at 100 [Dissent]
For Bangladeshi Garment Workers, It Is Still 1911 [Forward]
Earlier: Documentary Honors Dead with Political Touch

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

I composed a cantata for a quintet THE TRIANGLE SHIRTWAIST FACTORY FIRE based upon Italian and Yiddish musical motifs. Inlcuded int eh Yiddish was the litle known tune “DI FIRE KORBUNES” The Fire Sacrifices. The piece had its premiere at San Diego State University March 23rd and will be performed again in San Diego at Heritage Park Old Town) April 10th at 7pm free to the public. The cantata uses Yiddish, Italian and English recitation as well as songs.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Today Is the Triangle Fire’s 100th Anniversary

Some readings on its legacy

More on Tablet:

Obama: Denying Israel’s Right to Exist as a Jewish Homeland is Anti-Semitic

By Yair Rosenberg — The president draws a line in the sand in his latest interview