Skip to main content

Local author speaks at county libraries about historic factory fire

Jun 19, 2017 11:37AM, Published by Kelly Cannon, Categories: Today, Local Life


Christine Seifert will speak at area county libraries. (photo courtesy of Westminster College)


Gallery: Local author speaks at county libraries about historic factory fire [2 Images] Click any image to expand.



By Shaun Delliskave | s.delliskave@mycityjournals.com
 
During the Gilded Age of America, thousands of immigrants flocked to factory jobs; some of them found hope, others found tragedy. In her new book, “Factory Girls: A Kaleidoscopic View of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire,” local author and Westminster College professor Christine Seifert examines one of those tragedies, which she discussed during a book tour of Salt Lake County libraries. She visited Whitmore Library on June 7.
 
One of the worst industrial disasters in American history, the 1911 New York City Triangle Shirtwaist Fire claimed the lives of 146 garment workers, including 123 women, mostly immigrants between the ages of 16 and 23. In a then-common practice to prevent workers from taking unauthorized breaks and to reduce theft, the factory owners locked the doors to the stairwells and exits. This would prove fatal when a fire broke out on the eighth floor of the factory and trapped workers on the upper floors.
 
“I would have loved to tell the stories of all the young women involved in the fire that day,” said Seifert. Her book explores the lives of five young adult women, four teens and a 21-year-old man who perished in the fire.
 
“I wanted to write something that would show readers what life was like for a factory girl ... before and after the fire,” Seifert said.
 
Seifert is a professor of communications at Westminster College, where she has taught the past 12 years. Instead of focusing primarily on the cause of the fire and the aftermath (which resulted in some of the first occupational safety regulations to protect factory workers), Seifert’s focus is on the workers themselves.
 
“I hope readers walk away with an understanding of what it was like to be a young immigrant woman in early 1900s New York,” she said. “The five young women I talk about are truly incredible people and deserve to be remembered.”
 
Seifert’s book discusses the excesses and impacts of the Gilded Age, which she relates to the conditions women around the world are working in today.
 
“One of the things I took away from writing the book is that things haven't changed that much. Yes, we've made tremendous progress in terms of how we think about some workers’ rights and safety in the United States, but we’ve ended up outsourcing much of that labor abroad to the developing world,” she said. “Workers in India and Bangladesh, for instance, work in basically the same conditions as the factory girls of 1911.”
 
There may be no easy answers regarding how to avoid buying items produced globally in “sweatshops,” a pejorative term for places that employ labor in poor or socially unacceptable circumstances. “I went into the book believing that consumers should refuse to buy clothing from companies that use sweatshop labor, but I left with a sobering realization: Boycotting sweatshop labor is almost impossible,” said Seifert. On one side of the issue are the deplorable conditions that women labor in while working for pennies per day; but on the flipside, a sweatshop provides an alternative to prostitution, trash-picking or starvation. 
 
“Boycotting products made in factories in India, for example, can have devastating consequences for workers who depend on the small wages to survive. I discovered that there are no easy answers.”
 
Seifert’s previous books include “Whoppers: History’s Most Outrageous Lies and Liars,” published in 2015, and a young adult novel, “The Predicteds,” which was voted Best Dystopian Twist by “Salt Lake City Weekly” and has been published in three languages, and “Virginity in Young Adult Literature after Twilight.” Dr. Seifert appeared on “NBC Nightly News” and the “Today” show to talk about her fiction works and her analysis of sex and sexuality in young adult popular culture.
 
During her book tour, Seifert visited Millcreek Library on June 13, Riverton Library on June 20, and Hunter Library on June 27. 


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    07/21/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    07/24/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    07/26/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    07/21/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    07/23/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    07/24/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    07/26/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    07/28/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Guest Author Liv Bartlet

    07/29/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Twenty-nine-year-old artistic prodigy Kat Porter has golden statues on her career horizon until s...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    07/30/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    07/31/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Monday Family Night

    07/31/2017
    06:30PM — 08:30PM

    Pack a picnic and spend a summer evening exploring the diversity in our community. Traditional Af...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    08/02/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • VIP event - Free Treatments & $30 Gift Card

    08/03/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    join us for our VIP event on thursday, august 3rd from 6-9pm. all attendees receive a complime...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    08/04/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Dash for Donation Race

    08/05/2017
    08:00AM — 10:00AM

    Join us for a 5K fun run and 2K walk at beautiful Sugar House Park on Saturday, August 5th. Regi...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    08/06/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    08/07/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Monday Family Night

    08/07/2017
    06:30PM — 08:30PM

    Pack a picnic and spend a summer evening exploring the diversity in our community. Music and danc...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    08/09/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


 

 

 

Online Edition Holladay
Online Edition Cottonwood Heights
Follow My City Journals on Facebook
Advertise with us

 

City Journals 9500 South 500 West, Suite 205, Sandy, Utah 84070 801.254.5974