Pauline Newman made massive strides for workers’ rights, especially women workers, by building bridges between many different factions. Newman began working in a hairbrush factory at age nine and by eleven was laboring in the notorious Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. Her love of Dickens led her to create study groups with other workers, which both formed the base of the labor unions she later created and gave her the literary language to make affluent women sympathetic to striking workers and join them on the picket lines. In 1909, she helped organize the uprising of the 20,000, the largest strike of women workers to date, and was made the first woman general organizer of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. She was a regular contributor to a number of labor union periodicals on the subject of women workers from 1909 through the 1960s. In 1913, after the Triangle fire, Newman accepted a position with the Joint Board of Sanitary Control to improve factory safety standards. She served as vice president of the National Women’s Trade Union League as well as on the boards for various US and UN committees on labor, and continued her work for the ILGWU until 1983.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Pauline Newman." (Viewed on December 5, 2016) <https://jwa.org/people/newman-pauline>.