Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

Introduction

Three stories of a ten-floor building at the corner of Greene Street and Washington Place were burned yesterday, and while the fire was going on 141 young men and women at least 125 of them mere girls were burned to death or killed by jumping to the pavement below.

The building was fireproof. It shows now hardly any signs of the disaster that overtook it. The walls are as good as ever so are the floors, nothing is the worse for the fire except the furniture and 141 of the 600 men and girls that were employed in its upper three stories.

Most of the victims were suffocated or burned to death within the building, but some who fought their way to the windows and leaped met death as surely, but perhaps more quickly, on the pavements below.

Nothing like it has been seen in New York since the burning of the General Slocum. The fire was practically all over in half an hour. It was confined to three floors the eighth, ninth, and tenth of the building. But it was the most murderous fire that New York had seen in many years.

The victims who are now lying at the Morgue waiting for some one to identify them by a tooth or the remains of a burned shoe were mostly girls from 16 to 23 years of age. They were employed at making shirtwaist by the Triangle Waist Company, the principal owners of which are Isaac Harris and Max Blanck. Most of them could barely speak English. Many of them came from Brooklyn. Almost all were the main support of their hard-working families.

There is just one fire escape in the building. That one is an interior fire escape. In Greene Street, where the terrified unfortunates crowded before they began to make their mad leaps to death, the whole big front of the building is guiltless of one. Nor is there a fire escape in the back.

The building was fireproof and the owners had put their trust in that. In fact, after the flames had done their worst last night, the building hardly showed a sign. Only the stock within it and the girl employees were burned.

A heap of corpses lay on the sidewalk for more than an hour. The firemen were too busy dealing with the fire to pay any attention to people whom they supposed beyond their aid. When the excitement had subsided to such an extent that some of the firemen and policemen could pay attention to this mass of the supposedly dead they found about half way down in the pack a girl who was still breathing. She died two minutes after she was found.

The Triangle Waist Company was the only sufferer by the disaster. There are other concerns in the building, but it was Saturday and the other companies had let their people go home. Messrs. Harris and Blanck, however, were busy and ?? their girls and some stayed.

Extracted from: The New York Times, March 26, 1911

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 7: The Emergence of Modern America (1890-1930) 

STANDARD 1: How Progressives and others addressed problems of industrial capitalism, urbanization, and political corruption.
Standard 1A: The student understands the origin of the Progressives and the coalitions they formed to deal with issues at the local and state levels.

9-12: Assess Progressive efforts to regulate big business, curb labor militancy, and protect the rights of workers and consumers. [Evaluate alternative courses of action]
5-12: Evaluate Progressive attempts at social and moral reform. [Marshal evidence of antecedent circumstances]

STANDARD 3: How the United States changed from the end of World War I to the eve of the Great Depression.

Standard 3A: The student understands social tensions and their consequences in the postwar era. 

9-12: Analyze how the emergence of the ‘New Woman’ challenged Victorian values. [Examine the influence of ideas]

Standard 3B: The student understands how a modern capitalist economy emerged in the 1920s.

5-12: Explain how principles of scientific management and technological innovations, including assembly lines, rapid transit, household appliances, and radio, continued to transform production, work, and daily life. [Examine the influence of ideas]

Primary Resources

  1. SEE: Photographs from the Triangle Factory fire are available from Cornell University and New Deal Network
  2. SEE: Testimonials, newspaper accounts, letters, and reports relating to the Triangle Factory Fire and aftermath are available from The Triangle Factory Fire, Cornell University.
  3. TITLE: Working for the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, Pauline Newman and Joan Morrison.
    DESCRIPTION: From History Matters — In this oral history interview conducted by historian Joan Morrison, Pauline Newman told of getting a job at the Triangle Company as a child, soon after arriving in the United States from Lithuania in 1901. Newman described her life as an immigrant and factory worker. Like many other young immigrant workers, she chafed at the strict regulations imposed by the garment manufacturers. One of the greatest industrial tragedies in U.S. history occurred on March 26, 1911, when 146 workers, mostly young women, died in a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. Although she was not working in the factory at the time of the fire, many of her friends perished. Newman later became an organizer and leader of the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union.
    RESOURCES AVAILABLE: TEXT, AUDIO.
    SOURCE: History Matters
  4. TITLE: No Way Out: Two New York City Firemen Testify about the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
    DESCRIPTION: From History Matters — One of the greatest industrial tragedies in U.S. history occurred on March 26, 1911, when 146 workers, mostly young immigrant women, died in a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist company in New York City. In this brief excerpt from their testimony before the Factory Investigation Commission, New York City Fire Chief Edward F. Croker and Fire Marshall William Beers commented on the safety lapses—the locking of an exit door, the inadequate fire escapes, and the overcrowded factory floor—that led to the deaths of the Triangle workers.
    RESOURCES AVAILABLE: TEXT
    SOURCE: History Matters
  5. TITLE: Lament for Lives Lost: Rose Schneiderman and the Triangle Fire
    DESCRIPTION: From History Matters — One of the greatest industrial tragedies in U.S. history occurred on March 25, 1911, when 146 workers, mostly young immigrant women, died in a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist company in New York City. The victims had been trapped by blocked exit doors and faulty fire escapes. The aftermath of the catastrophe brought grief and recriminations. Protest rallies and memorial meetings were held throughout the city. During one meeting at the Metropolitan Opera House, tension broke out between the working-class Lower East Siders who filled the galleries (and saw class solidarity as the ultimate solution to the problems of industrial safety) and the middle- and upper-class women in the boxes who sought reforms like creation of a bureau of fire prevention. The meeting would have broken up in disorder if not for a stirring speech by Rose Schneiderman, a Polish-born former hat worker who had once led a strike at the Triangle factory. Although she barely spoke above a whisper, Schneiderman held the audience spellbound.
    RESOURCES AVAILABLE: TEXT
    SOURCE: History Matters
  6. TITLE: The Jewish Daily Forward Reports the Triangle Tragedy
    DESCRIPTION: From History Matters — One of the greatest industrial tragedies in U.S. history occurred on March 25, 1911, when 146 workers, mostly young immigrant women, died in a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist company in New York City. The victims had been trapped by blocked exit doors and faulty fire escapes. One of the worst industrial fires in U.S. history, the Triangle fire became a galvanizing symbol of industrial capitalism’s excesses and the pressing need for reform. In its aftermath, a coalition of middle-class reformers and working people secured passage of landmark occupational health and safety laws. The Triangle fire received sensational coverage in all the New York newspapers. This article from the Jewish Daily Forward, printed the day after the fire, emphasized the tragic loss to the Jewish community.
    RESOURCES AVAILABLE: TEXT
    SOURCE: History Matters
  7. TITLE: Minute by Minute: The World’s Account of the Triangle Fire
    DESCRIPTION: From History Matters — On the warm spring afternoon of March 25, 1911, a small fire broke out in a bin of rags at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory on New York City’s Lower East Side. In less than an hour, 146 people—most of them young immigrant women—died, trapped by blocked exit doors and faulty fire escapes. One of the worst industrial fires in U.S. history, the Triangle fire galvanized working people and middle-class reformers alike, ultimately resulting in the passage of several laws designed to insure workplace safety. The fire received sensational and extensive coverage in all the New York City newspapers. William Gunn Shepherd, a young reporter for the New York World, happened to be at the scene of the fire when it began. From a phone across the street, he gave a minute-by-minute account of the unfolding events to his city editor. The World published them the following day.
    RESOURCES AVAILABLE: TEXT
    SOURCE: History Matters

Additional Media Resources

Triangle Factory Fire — online exhibit from Cornell University. Includes documents, photographs, and tips for student projects

The Triangle Fire, March 25, 1911 — From New Deal Network. Includes photographs, taken at the scene of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, from the archives of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire — From The Encyclopedia of New York City

Remembering Rose Freedman, last survivor of the Triangle Factory fire. Broadcast February 25, 2001

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire — From NPR

The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Trial: A Chronology

How Was the Relationship Between Workers and Allies Shaped by the Perceived Threat of Socialism in the
New York City Shirtwaist Strike, 1909-1910?
— From Women and Social Movements in the United States

How Did Florence Kelley’s Campaign against Sweatshops in Chicago in the 1890s Contribute to State Formation? — From Women and Social Movements in the United States

The 1912 Lawrence Strike: How Did Immigrant Workers Struggle to Achieve an American Standard of Living? — From Women and Social Movements in the United States

SAMPLE NEWSPAPER COVERAGE OF THE 1909-10 UPRISING

Additional Instructional Resources

Methods of Reform: The Lowell Mill Girls. From the UMBC Center for History Education, Teaching American History Lesson Plans.

Fire at the Triangle Factory

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

Fire in the Sky: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Causes and Consequences

Teaching With Documents Lesson Plan: Photographs of Lewis Hine: Documentation of Child Labor

Secondary Resources

Moore, Deborah Dash and David Lobenstine. “Beyond place and ethnicity : the uses of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire.” In Remembering the Lower East Side : American Jewish Reflections, eds.  Hasia R. Diner, Jeffrey Shandler, and Beth S. Wenger. Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c2000. 

Stein, Leon, The Triangle Fire. Cornell University Press, 2001.

Von Drehle, David. Triangle: The Fire That Changed America. Atlantic Monthly Press, 2003.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

Baltimore Museum of Industry
1415 Key Highway
Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: (410) 727-4808

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Access to materials linked within these document packets is intended for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The responsibility for making an independent legal assessment and independently securing any necessary rights rests with persons desiring to use particular items in the context of the intended use.

Password Access to Materials

The use of any user name and password to access materials on this web site constitutes an agreement by the user to abide by any and all copyright restrictions and is an acknowledgement that these materials will be used for personal and educational use only. In most instances, the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact ref@mdsa.net if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Nancy Bramucci.

Baltimore and the 19th of April 1861

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)

STANDARD 2: The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people.

Standard 2B: The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront.

7-12: Compare the motives for fighting and the daily life experiences of Confederate with those of white and African American Union soldiers. [Evidence historical perspectives]

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: View of Baltimore City from Federal Hill
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1859
    SOURCE: Cator Collection
    REPOSITORY: Enoch Pratt Free Library
  2. DESCRIPTION: Governor Thomas Hicks
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1867
    SOURCE: Maryland Commission on Artistic Property Collection, MSA SC 1545-1-1175
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  3. DESCRIPTION: Mayor George William Brown
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: published 1919
    SOURCE: Image taken from Wilbur F. Coyle, The Mayors of Baltimore (Reprinted in the Baltimore Municipal Journal, 1919), 101.
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  4. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Simon Cameron, Secretary of War to Governor Thomas H. Hicks
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 18, 1861
    NOTES: “The President is informed that threats are made and measures taken by unlawful combinations of misguided citizens of Maryland to prevent by force the transit of U.S. troops across Maryland on their way pursuant to orders to the defense of this capital.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 564.
  5. DESCRIPTION:Attack on the Massachusetts Sixth in Baltimore
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Wood engraving from Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, April 30, 1861
    SOURCE: Cator Collection
    REPOSITORY: Enoch Pratt Free Library
  6. DESCRIPTION: The Sixth Massachusetts Regiment Fighting Their Way Through Baltimore
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Published in Harper’s Weekly, May 4, 1861
    SOURCE: Son of the South
  7. DESCRIPTION: “Massachusetts Militia Passing through Baltimore”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1861
    REPRODUCTIONS: Ordering Information
    REPOSITORY: Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore (Z24.479)
  8. DESCRIPTION: Newspaper account, Battle of Baltimore
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Published in Harper’s Weekly, May 4, 1861
    SOURCE: Son of the South
  9. DESCRIPTION: Battle in Baltimore April 19th, 1861
    ARTIST: Adalbert John Volck (1828-1912)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1863
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Photographic Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: Civil War Treasures from the New-York Historical Society
    REPOSITORY: New York Historical Society
  10. DESCRIPTION: Captain Hare Demanding of Marshal Kane the Arms Taken from the Massachusetts Soldiers on the 19th of April, 1861.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: [1861]
    SOURCE: Cator Collection
    REPOSITORY: Enoch Pratt Free Library
  11. DESCRIPTION: Letter of Mayor George William Brown to President Lincoln
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 19, 1861
    NOTES: “The people are exasperated to the highest degree by the passage of troops and the citizens are universally decided in the opinion that no more should be ordered to come. The authorities of the city did their best to-day to protect both strangers and citizens and to prevent any collision but in vain; and but for their great efforts a fearful slaughter would have occurred. Under these circumstances it is my solemn duty to inform you that it is not possible for more soldiers to pass through Baltimore unless they fight their way at every step.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 564.
  12. DESCRIPTION: Letter of Governor Thomas H. Hicks to President Lincoln
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: n. d.; appended to letter of Mayor George William Brown to Lincoln, April 19, 1861
    NOTES: “I have been in Baltimore since Tuesday evening last and co-operated with Mayor G. W. Brown in his untiring efforts to allay and prevent the excitement and suppress the fearful outbreak… and I fully concur in all that is said by him…”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 565.
  13. DESCRIPTION: The Lexington of 1861. The Massachusetts Volunteers Fighting Their Way Through the Streets of Baltimore on Their March To the Defense of the National Capitol, April 19, 1861. Hurrah For the Glorious 6th.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Colored lithograph by Currier & Ives, 1861
    SOURCE: Cator Collection
    REPOSITORY: Enoch Pratt Free Library
  14. DESCRIPTION: Sixth Regiment Massachusetts Troops
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Wood engraving from Leslie’s illustrated newspaper of April 30, 1861
    SOURCE: Cator Collection
    REPOSITORY: Enoch Pratt Free Library
  15. DESCRIPTION: Captain Hare Demanding of Marshal Kane the Arms Taken from the Massachusetts Soldiers on the 19th of April, 1861
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: n. d.
    SOURCE: Cator Collection
    REPOSITORY: Enoch Pratt Free Library
  16. DESCRIPTION: Letter of Governor Thomas H. Hicks to Simon Cameron
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 20, 1861
    NOTES: “…the outbreak came; the turbulent passions of the riotous element prevailed; fear for safety became reality; … the rebellious element had control of things. They took possession of the armories, have the arms and ammunition, and I therefore think it prudent to decline (for the present) responding affirmatively to the requisition made by President Lincoln for four regiments of infantry.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 565.
  17. DESCRIPTION: Letter of President Lincoln to Governor Hicks
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 20, 1861
    NOTES: “Please come immediately…”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 565.
  18. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Henry Stump to Mary A. Stump
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 20, 1861
    NOTE:
    Eyewitness account of the riot
    SOURCE: Maryland Historical Magazine, 53 (1958): 403
  19. DESCRIPTION: Report of Col. Edward F. Jones, Sixth Massachusetts Militia
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 22, 1861
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 1 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 7-9.
  20. DESCRIPTION: Extracts from report of the Baltimore Police Commissioners
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 3, 1861.
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 1 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 9-11.
  21. TITLE:  Baltimore and the nineteenth of April 1861
    AUTHOR:  George William Brown
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 
    1887
    NOTE: 
    Brown was the mayor of Baltimore at the time of the riot.
    SOURCE:
      The Capital and the Bay: Narratives of Washington and the Chesapeake Bay Region, ca. 1600-1925 
    REPOSITORY:
    Library of Congress, American Memory
  22. DESCRIPTION: Report of Hon. George William Brown, Mayor of Baltimore
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: May 9 (?), 1861
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 1 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 12-15.
  23. DESCRIPTION: Extracts from the message of the Mayor of Baltimore
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 11, 1861
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 1 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 15-20.
  24. DESCRIPTION: Statement of George M. Gill
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 12, 1861
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 1 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 20-21.

Additional Media Resources

Union Policy of Repression in Maryland. Timeline of Events. From United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 563.

Secondary Resources

Chalkley, Tom. “First Blood.” Baltimore City Paper, 23 April 2003.

Harris, James Morrison. A Reminiscence of the Troublous times of April, 1861, Based upon Interviews with the Authorities at Washington, Touching the Movement of Troops through Baltimore; a paper read before the Maryland Historical Society, March 9th, 1891, by J. Morrison HarrisBaltimore [Printed by J. Murphy] 1891.

Sheads, Scott Sumpter and Daniel Carroll Toomey. Baltimore During the Civil War. Linthicum: Toomey Press, 1997.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Fort Avenue
Baltimore, MD
Baltimore Civil War Museum — President Street Station
601 President Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 385-5188

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Access to materials linked within these document packets is intended for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The responsibility for making an independent legal assessment and independently securing any necessary rights rests with persons desiring to use particular items in the context of the intended use.

Password Access to Materials

The use of any user name and password to access materials on this web site constitutes an agreement by the user to abide by any and all copyright restrictions and is an acknowledgement that these materials will be used for personal and educational use only. In most instances, the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact ref@mdsa.net if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Nancy Bramucci.

The Chinese Exclusion Act

Maryland State Archives
350 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, MD 21401

Photograph, "A Corner on the Hillside"

Overview

During the middle of the nineteenth century, two years after the California Gold rush was sparked by James Marshall’s discovery of gold, and in response to oppressive conditions in China stemming from the Opium War (1839-1842), a tiny trickle of Chinese immigrants began to arrive in the port city of San Francisco, California.  From the beginning, even with small numbers of Chinese in California mining camps and cities, institutionalized discrimination was enacted through a series of Foreign Miner’s Tax Laws – the first of which was passed in 1850.  These tax laws extracted the exorbitant fee of twenty dollars per month on any foreigner (read: Chinese) engaging in mining.  These unfair and oppressive conditions only worsened as more Chinese fled the poverty of their native land and bloody events such as the T’aip’ing Rebellion (1851-1864) – many of them hoping to find brighter futures on American soil.

Many white Americans held negative stereotypes of the Chinese people, partly due to deep-set notions of white superiority, but also due to the arrogant and incorrect belief that Chinese immigrants – many of whom would work for much smaller wages than white Americans were used to – were stealing “American” jobs.   This was particularly the case with the railroad, an industry that steadily worked its way from the foundries of the East into the frontier West.  Working conditions laying railroad track were often inhumane, with long, hot hours in the full glare of the sun, and pay was abysmal.  Many Chinese immigrants died working on the railroads, whether from malnutrition, dehydration, or the violent explosions caused by blast equipment.  Despite this harsh environment, the immigrants were able to carve a place for themselves in society, founding a thriving, bustling community in what would become Chinatown, San Francisco, and governing their own affairs through the creation of the Six Chinese Companies – or Tongs (founded in the 1860s).  With their willingness to acquiesce to harder working conditions than white Americans, by 1865 ninety percent of railroad workers were of Chinese descent, and because they formed tight-knit communities, they were even able to win several key victories to earn better wages.

The success of Chinese immigrants in assimilating to an “American” lifestyle infuriated many white Americans.  In large part, this was the case because although the Chinese thrived in the American economy, they largely kept their own social customs, traditions, and behaviors.  For instance, in several of the photographs included in this document packet, one can see the presence of traditional Chinese dress, and open-air style markets.  In fact, Chinatown was a nearly self-sufficient community, with its inhabitants providing their own services and operating independently of (mostly) white San Francisco.  However, many white Americans – whose belief in their own apparent physical and cultural superiority to other ethnic groups is evident in Western imperialism and the treatment of black Americans under Jim Crow law – believed that Chinese were the most “offensive” because, unlike black Americans, the Chinese rejected the Christian religion.  While some Americans such as Otis Gibson took a kinder (but also patronizing and condescending) view towards Chinese immigrants, others, such as Frank M. Pixley believed that the immigrants had no souls, and were damned by their very nature.  Within this framework, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was born.

The Chinese Exclusion Act involved a ten year period of limitation on Chinese immigrants to 105 per year, and was strengthened in 1884 with additional provisions that limited the ability of any person of Chinese descent – regardless of their country of birth – to freely leave and enter the United States.  The law also gave evidence of white Americans’ economic concerns because it specifically targeted Chinese laborers, blocking them from entering American ports.  When the law was due to expire in 1892, it was revived for another ten years under what was known as the Geary Act, which barred Chinese from testifying in court, and also required all Chinese to carry resident passports, with the harsh penalty of deportation enacted if they were found without them – at any time.  The Geary Act was renewed in 1902 with no terminal date attached.

For the next 41 years, Chinese-Americans held status as second-class citizens in the United States, although they served with valor and distinction in the first World War and were almost single-handedly responsible for the development of the railroad in California and the West.  Much like black Americans during this time, Chinese-Americans were seriously limited in terms of the civil rights they possessed, and subject to the violent whims of white supremacists (especially white, working-class Americans).  Nevertheless, Chinese immigrants continued to seek refuge in the port of San Francisco, and Angel Island in San Francisco Bay became “the Ellis Island of the West” in 1906.  Asian immigrants continued to be discriminated against in the Immigration Exclusion Act of 1924, and although in subsequent years some of the regulations would loosen – such as allowing World War servicemen to receive naturalization papers and allowing their wives to become citizens – the Chinese Exclusion Act/Geary Act was not repealed until the passage of the Magnuson Act in 1943.

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 6: The Development of the Industrial United States (1870-1900)
Standard 2: Massive immigration after 1870 and how new social patterns, conflicts, and ideas of national unity developed amid growing cultural diversity.
Standard 2A: The student understands the sources and experiences of new immigrants.

5-12: Assess the challenges, opportunities, and contributions of different immigrant groups. [Examine historical perspectives]

Standard 2B: The student understands “scientific racism”, race relations, and the struggle for equal rights.
5-12: Explain the rising racial conflict in different regions, including the anti-Chinese movement in the West and the rise of lynching in the South. [Explain historical continuity and change]

9-12: Analyze the role of new laws and the federal judiciary in instituting racial inequality and in disenfranchising various racial groups. [Evaluate the implementation of a decision]

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION:  Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  May 6, 1882
    NOTES: The official record of the United States Congress’ 1882 decision to limit Chinese immigration.  The Chinese Exclusion Act expired in 1892, whereupon it was renewed in the Geary Act in the same year.  The Our Documents website offers both original and transcribed versions of the document’s text.
    SOURCE:  Our Documents
    REPOSITORY:  National Archives
  2. DESCRIPTION: Columbia.–“Hands off, gentlemen! America means fair play for all men.”
    ARTIST: Thomas Nast
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: February 18, 1871 in Harper’s Weekly
    SOURCE: HarpWeek
  3. DESCRIPTION: Justice for the Chinese
    ARTIST: Thomas Nast
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: March 27, 1886 in Harper’s Weekly
    SOURCE:
    HarpWeek
  4. DESCRIPTION:  Pamphlet, “Chinaman or white man, which?’ Reply to Father Buchard”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  San Francisco, Published at the request of the “San Francisco Methodist Preachers’ Meeting, c. 1873 (San Francisco : Alta Printing House)
    NOTES: A sermon given by Rev. Otis Gibson, voicing the rare opinion of a white American in favor of Chinese immigration during the nineteenth century.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Chinese in California, 1850-1925
    REPOSITORY:  The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
  5. DESCRIPTION:  Pamphlet, “An Address from the Workingmen of San Francisco to Their Brothers Throughout the Pacific Coast”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  [ca. 1888]
    NOTES: An anti-Chinese labor publication created by the Workingman’s Party in San Francisco.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Chinese in California, 1850-1925
    REPOSITORY:  California Historical Society
  6. DESCRIPTION:  Photo book, “Chinese Photographed by D.D. Beatty at Downieville”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  [ca. 1890s]
    NOTES: A book of notes an photographs of various Chinese immigrants, possibly taken by an immigration officer.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Chinese in California, 1850-1925
    REPOSITORY:  California Historical Society
  7. DESCRIPTION:  Play, “The Chinese Must Go.’ A farce in four acts”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  San Francisco, A.L. Bancroft & Co., Printers, c. 1879
    NOTES: An anti-Chinese play produced in nineteenth-century San Francisco.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Chinese in California, 1850-1925
    REPOSITORY:  The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
  8. DESCRIPTION:  Photograph, “Day of Good Lady Festival”
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Arnold Genthe (1869-1942)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1895-1906
    NOTES: This photograph shows the contrast in western-style and traditional Chinese dress among immigrants in Chinatown, San Francisco.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Chinese in California, 1850-1925
    REPOSITORY:  California Historical Society
  9. DESCRIPTION:  Photograph, “A Corner on the Hillside”
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Arnold Genthe (1869-1942)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1895-1906
    NOTES: This photograph portrays an immigrant family on a busy, impoverished street of Chinatown, San Francisco.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Chinese in California, 1850-1925
    REPOSITORY:  California Historical Society
  10. DESCRIPTION:  Photograph, “The Grocery Store”
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Arnold Genthe (1869-1942)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1895-1906
    NOTES: The bustle of a busy Chinese market is captured in this photograph.  Like immigrant communities across the nation, the residents of Chinatown provided their own services to circumvent the oppression and discrimination faced in white society.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Chinese in California, 1850-1925
    REPOSITORY:  California Historical Society
  11. DESCRIPTION:  Sketchbook, “Lights and shadows in Chinatown”
    ARTIST: William Bode
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  San Francisco, Press of H.S. Crocker Company c. 1896
    NOTES: This sketchbook by artist William Bode captures several Chinese scenes and vignettes – appearing mysterious and exotic to Western preconceptions.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Chinese in California, 1850-1925
    REPOSITORY:  The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
  12. DESCRIPTION:  Photograph, “North Pacific Coast R.R. at Corte Madera, Cal. 1898”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1898
    NOTES: A photograph of Chinese railroad workers; the Chinese where seen by many white Americans as “stealing” their jobs in railroad work and mining.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Chinese in California, 1850-1925
    REPOSITORY:  California Historical Society
  13. DESCRIPTION:  Photograph, “The Heathen Chinee Prospecting”
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1852
    NOTES: A photograph of a Chinese miner; the Chinese where seen by many white Americans as “stealing” their jobs in railroad work and mining.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Chinese in California, 1850-1925
    REPOSITORY:  California Historical Society
  14. DESCRIPTION:  Sheet music, “The heathen chinee: words by Brett Harte; music by F.B.”
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  Boston : O.Ditson & Co., c. 1870
    NOTES: Published in Boston, this song and poem represents the degrading racial stereotypes that many white Americans held towards Chinese immigrants.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Chinese in California, 1850-1925
    REPOSITORY:  The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

For additional materials: see American Memory’s The Chinese in California, 1850-1925 Collection

Additional Media Resources

PBS – The West – Documents on Anti-Chinese Immigration Policy

Digital History

Separate Lives, Broken Dreams

Angel Island Poetry

Chinese-American Contribution to Transcontinental Railroad

Additional Instructional Resources

Resources on Incorporating Primary Sources and Historic Sites in Classroom Instruction

The Learning Page: Collections Connections; The Chinese in California, 1850-1925

Secondary Resources

Brienes, Marvin. China Camp and the San Francisco Bay Shrimp Fishery. [Sacramento?]: Interpretive Planning Section, Office of Interpretive Services, California Dept. of Parks and Recreation, [1983].

Carosso, Vincent P. The California Wine Industry, 1830-1895, a Study of the Formative Years. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1951.

Chan, Sucheng, ed. Entry Denied: Exclusion and the Chinese Community in America, 1882-1943. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991.

Chen, Yong. Chinese San Francisco, 1850-1943: A Trans-Pacific Community. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, c2000.

Chinn, Thomas W., ed. A History of the Chinese in California. San Francisco: Chinese Historical Society of America, 1969.

Chiu, Ping. Chinese Labor in California, 1850-1880, an Economic Study. Madison, Wisconsin: State Historical Society of Wisconsin for the Dept. of History, University of Wisconsin, 1963.

Gyory, Andrew. Closing the Gate: Race, Politics, and the Chinese Exclusion. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, c1998.

Hansen, Gladys, and William Heintz. The Chinese in California. San Francisco: Richard Abel & Company, Inc., 1970.

Hsu, Madeline Yuan-yin. Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home: Transnationalism and Migration between the United States and South China, 1882-1943. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2000.

Ma, L. Eve Armentrout. Hometown Chinatown: The History of Oakland’s Chinese. New York: Garland, 2000.

Nash, Robert A. The Chinese Shrimp Fishery in California. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, 1973.

Sandmeyer, Elmer Clarence. The Anti-Chinese Movement in California. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991.

See, Lisa. On Gold Mountain: The 100-Year Odyssey of a Chinese-American Family. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995.

Yung, Judy. Unbound Feet: A Social History of Chinese Women in San Francisco. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1995.

Yung, Judy. Unbound Voices: A Documentary History of Chinese Women in San Francisco. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1999.

Some journal articles linked to this site require password access due to copyright and other restrictions. Teachers participating in the Teaching American History in Maryland program with a valid University of Maryland (UMBC) Library card can access these materials through ResearchPort.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

Angel Island State Park
Angel Island
Tiburon, CA 94920
(415) 435-3522

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Access to materials linked within these document packets is intended for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The responsibility for making an independent legal assessment and independently securing any necessary rights rests with persons desiring to use particular items in the context of the intended use.

Password Access to Materials

The use of any user name and password to access materials on this web site constitutes an agreement by the user to abide by any and all copyright restrictions and is an acknowledgement that these materials will be used for personal and educational use only. In most instances, the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact ref@mdsa.net if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Kevin Allor.

The Strike of 1877

Maryland State Archives
350 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, MD 21401

A contemporary artist’s rendering of the clash in Baltimore between workers and the Maryland Sixth Regiment during the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. The governor had called out the troops on behalf of the railroad company.

Introduction

The Strike of 1877, also known as ‘The Great Strike’ took place on railroads across the nation. The strike was the result of continued wage cuts of the laborers such as engineers and trainmen, while many of the companies continued to pay out dividends to its stockholders. The B&O Railroad, based in Baltimore, Maryland, was one of the last to cut the wages of its employees. When the wage cut was announced on July 11, 1877, the workers had had enough. The strike started in Baltimore and spread across the entire nation.

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 6: The Development of the Industrial United States (1870-1900)

Standard 3: The rise of the American labor movement and how political issues reflected social and economic changes 
Standard 3B: The student understands the rise of national labor unions and the role of state and federal governments in labor conflicts.
5-12:
Analyze the causes and effects of escalating labor conflict. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12: Explain the response of management and government at different levels to labor strife in different regions of the country. [Compare competing historical narratives]

Primary Resources

  1. TITLE:  Announcement of Wage Cuts on the B&O Railroad. 
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  July 11, 1877
    NOTES: The Strike of 1877 was touch off by a series of wage cuts on nearly every Railroad in the Nation.  The B&O Railroad was one of the last roads to cut the wages of its workers, but at the same time approved a dividend increase for the stockholders.  The strike started just a few days later on the B&O Railroad in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
    SOURCE:  B&O Railroad Minute Book
    REPOSITORY:  B&O Railroad Museum Archive
  2. TITLE:   The Recent Railroad Damages
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  July 28, 1877
    NOTES: An account published in the American Railroad Journal, the primary source of railroad news during the time, detailing the lawlessness that is taking place during the strike.  At the time of printing the strike was still taking place at many places throughout the country  It can clearly be seen that the editors of the journal did not sympathize with the striking workers.
    SOURCE:  American Railroad Journal
    REPOSITORY:  B&O Railroad Museum Archive
  3. TITLE:  A Strike at Strikes
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: August 4, 1877
    NOTES: Editorial published by the American Railroad Journal saying that while workers do have a right to earn a fair wage, they do not have a right to strike in such a manner that it causes harm to the property of the company.  The article also says that the actions of the workers “prove more or less injurious to the strikers.”
    SOURCE:  American Railroad Journal
    REPOSITORY:  B&O Railroad Museum Archive
  4. TITLE:  Claims for Good Destroyed by the Rioters
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  August 25, 1877
    NOTES: The Pennsylvania Railroad, the road that sustained the greatest amounts of damage during the strike, issued a statement to anyone who might have had property destroyed by the rioters while it was being transported by them.  The  railroad decided that it was the fault of the local county, and their failure to protect private property and enforce the peace, that made them responsible for all damages causes as opposed to the railroad itself.
    SOURCE:   American Railroad Journal
    REPOSITORY:  B&O Railroad Museum Archive
  5. TITLE: The Great Strike – The Sixth Maryland Regiment Fighting its Way Through Baltimore 
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:  From an engraving by D. Bendann
    NOTES: An attack on the Maryland Sixth Regiment by rioters, sympathizers, and hooligans as they marched to Camden station from the armory in Baltimore.
    MEDIUM:   Photograph
    REPOSITORY:  B&O Railroad Museum Archives
  6. TITLE: Locomotives Sitting Idle
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:  1877
    NOTES: Locomotives lined up as workers refuse to work during the Strike of 1877.  The location is possibly Martinsburg, West Virginia.
    MEDIUM:   Photograph
    REPOSITORY:  B&O Railroad Museum Archives

Additional Media Resources

Additional Instructional Resources

Secondary Resources

Bruce. Robert V. 1877: Year of Violence. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1970.

Hofstadter, Richard. Social Darwinism in American Thought, 1860-1915. Boston: Beacon Press, 1955 (originally published 1944).

Miller, George H. Railroads and the Granger Laws. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1971.

O. Stowell, David. Streets, Railroads, and the Great Strike of 1877. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1999.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Access to materials linked within these document packets is intended for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The responsibility for making an independent legal assessment and independently securing any necessary rights rests with persons desiring to use particular items in the context of the intended use.

Password Access to Materials

The use of any user name and password to access materials on this web site constitutes an agreement by the user to abide by any and all copyright restrictions and is an acknowledgement that these materials will be used for personal and educational use only. In most instances, the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact ref@mdsa.net if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Richard Olson.

Arrest of the Maryland Legislature, 1861

Introduction

Kemp Hall, Frederick, MDIn early 1861, Maryland was walking a tightrope between the Union and the Confederacy. In addition to being physically between the two sides, Maryland depended equally on the North and the South for its economy. Although Maryland had always leaned toward the south culturally, sympathies in the state were as much pro-Union as they were pro-Confederate. Reflecting that division and the feeling of many Marylanders that they just wanted to be left alone, the state government would not declare for either side.

For the Federal Government, however, there was no question about which side Maryland had to take. If she seceded, Washington D.C. would be surrounded by hostile states, effectively cut off from the rest of the Union. The situation came to a head on April 19, 1861, when the soldiers of the 6th Massachusetts Volunteers, moving through Baltimore on the way to Washington, were attacked by a pro-Southern mob. When the mob started shooting at the regiment, the soldiers returned fire, and when the smoke had cleared, four soldiers and twelve civilians had been killed.

To avoid further riots, it was decided to send troops through the Naval Academy at Annapolis. To ensure the safety of the troops and the loyalty of the state government, the Federal Government sent General Benjamin F. Butler to Annapolis to secure the city on April 22. That same day, Governor Thomas Holliday Hicks decided to call a special session of the General Assembly to discuss the crisis. At that time, the General Assembly met biannually, but popular outcry was so strong that the governor felt it necessary to call together the Assembly during an off year. However, he probably felt that anti-Union sentiment would run high in a city that had just been occupied by Northern troops, so Governor Hicks decided to convene the Legislature in Frederick, Maryland, a strongly pro-Union city.

The General Assembly first met in the Frederick County Courthouse on April 26. However, it was quickly found that the courthouse was too small, and so, on the second day, the Assembly moved to Kemp Hall the meeting hall belonging to the German Reformed Church. On April 30, the weekly Frederick Herald reported: “The Legislature seems comfortable and well provided for in their new halls in the German Reformed Building. The Senate occupies the Red Men’s Hall, third story — the House, the hall in the second story. These halls have been tastefully and appropriately fitted up for their purposes.”

The main topic of discussion in those tastefully appointed halls was, of course, the question of whether or not to secede from the Union. As the General Assembly met throughout the long summer, a bill and a resolution were introduced calling for secession. Both failed because the legislators said that they did not have the authority to secede from the Union. Even many of the pro-Southern delegates and senators did not support the bills. At the same time, however, the legislators refused to reopen rail links to the Northern States, for fear the they would be used for military purposes and also by pro-Union agitators bent on revenge for the Baltimore riots. One of the few things the General Assembly did agree upon was a resolution sent to President Lincoln protesting the Union occupation of Maryland. It seems that the General Assembly was primarily interested in preserving Maryland’s neutrality, for they neither wanted to secede from the Union, nor to allow Union troops to cross its territory in order to attack the Confederacy.

On August 7, the General Assembly adjourned, intending to meet again on September 17. However, on that day Federal troops and Baltimore police officers arrived in Frederick with orders to arrest the pro-Confederate members of the General Assembly. Thus, the special session in Frederick ended, as did Frederick’s summer as the state capital, as Maryland found itself inexorably drawn further and further into the heart of the bloodiest war in American history.

SOURCE: Taken from Maryland State Archives, “The General Assembly Moves to Frederick, 1861”

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)

STANDARD 2: The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people. 
Standard 2A: The student understands how the resources of the Union and Confederacy affected the course of the war.

5-12: Identify the turning points of the war and evaluate how political, military, and diplomatic leadership affected the outcome of the conflict. [Assess the importance of the individual in history]

Standard 2B: The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront.

5-12: Compare the human and material costs of the war in the North and South and assess the degree to which the war reunited the nation. [Examine historical perspectives]

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: Arrest and Detention of Certain Members of the Maryland Legislature
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: [1861]
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 667-675.
  2. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Abraham Lincoln to Winfield Scott
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 25, 1861
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  3. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Winfield Scott to [Brig. Gen. B. F. Butler]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April 26, 1861
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 675-675
  4. DESCRIPTION: Resolutions of the General Assembly of Maryland in relation to the arrest and imprisonment of Ross Winans, edq., & c.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 1861
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 587-588.
  5. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Simon Cameron to Maj. Gen. N. P. Banks
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 11, 1861
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 678-679
  6. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Frederick Schley, Editor of the Examiner to W. H. Seward
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 12, 1861
    NOTES: ” There are twenty-two senators, of whom twelve is the requisite majority to enact a law. Of the present senators eight are loyal and reliable, leaving fourteen in whom I have no faith and I speak the sentiment of many.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 679-680.
  7. DESCRIPTION: Letter, John A. Dix to Simon Cameron (Arrests made in Baltimore)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 13, 1861
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  8. DESCRIPTION: Letter, W. G. Snethen to W. H. Seward
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 15, 1861
    NOTES: “I thank you in the name of every truly loyal man in Baltimore an din my own poor name for your arrest of the traitors whom you have sent to Fortress Monroe…. I hope General Banks will take care that the Legislature shall not sit at all…. The arrest of W. Wilkins Glenn, the proprietor of the Exchange, has given intense satisfaction. Beale Richardson and his writing editor Joice, of the Republican, are very violent ….”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 595.
  9. DESCRIPTION: Letter, N. P. Banks to Lieutentant-Colonel Ruger
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 16, 1861
    NOTES: “It is not impossible that the members or a portion of them may be deterred from meeting there on account of certain arrests recently made in Baltimore. It is also quite possible that on the first day of meeting the attendance may be small. Of the facts as to this matter I shall see that you are well informed as they transpire. It becomes necessary that any meeting of this Legislature at any place or time shall be prevented.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 681
  10. DESCRIPTION: Letter, R. Morris Copeland to Major General Banks 
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 18, 1861
    NOTES: “I have just telegraphed to General Dix that we have seized seven members of the house of a very bitter character, and four officers, clerks, & c. who are intensely bitter and are said to have been very forward and to have kept some of the weaker men up to the work. Several arrests were made of violent or resisting persons whom I shall let go after the others are gone. I shall send four men at least to General Dix, at Baltimore, who are very bad men….”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 682-683
  11. DESCRIPTION: Oath of fidelity taken by members of the Maryland Legislature after arrest
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 18, 1861
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 683
  12. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Arthur Rich to William H. Seward
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 19, 1861
    NOTES: “Allow me to congratulate you upon the Government manifesting its strong arm in giving the quietus to our so-called Legislature. It has had the salutary influence in many respects and has soothed down the temper of the disunionists prodigiously.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 684
  13. DESCRIPTION: Letter George W. Howard, Jr. to Simon Cameron
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 25, 1861
    NOTES: “As the treasonable documents of the Legislature of Maryland were seized I think that the journals of all the sessions should be seized also….”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 691
  14. DESCRIPTION: Letter N. P. Banks to Col. R. B. Marcy
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 20, 1861
    NOTES: “I have the honor to report … that all the members of the Maryland Legislature assembled at Frederick City on the 17th instant known or suspected to be disloyal in their relations to the Government have been arrested.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 684-685
  15. DESCRIPTION: Letter John A. Dix to W. H. Seward.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 20, 1861
    NOTES: “I have arrested and put on board the Baltimore E. G. Kilbourn, a dangerous successionist, president of the house of delegates. There are two of the arrested persons whose release would I am confident promote the Union cause, and since the Legislature is effectually broken up the Government cannot be injured and may vindicate its justice by its clemency in these cases.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 685
  16. DESCRIPTION: Letter Thomas H. Hicks, [Governor of Maryland] to Maj. Gen. N. P. Banks
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 20, 1861
    NOTES: “We see the good fruit already produced by these arrests. We can no longer mince matters with these desperate people.”
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 685
  17. DESCRIPTION: Letter, Allan Pinkerton to William H. Seward
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 23, 1861
    NOTES: Describes some of the arrests, including arrests of newspaper editors.
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 1. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1894): 688
  18. DESCRIPTION: Letter, J. M. Coale to Abraham Lincoln  (Requests release of imprisoned members of the Maryland legislature)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: November 12, 1861
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916.
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  19. DESCRIPTION: Letter, John A. Dix to William H. Seward
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: February 17, 1862
    NOTES: Includes report of political prisoners taken, released, and remaining since March 4, 1861, at Fort McHenry, Md.
    SOURCE: United States. War Dept., United States. Record and Pension Office., United States. War Records Office., et al. The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2 – Volume 2. (Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1897): 226-228
  20. DESCRIPTIONSession Laws, Maryland General Assembly, Special Session
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: April – December 1861
    SOURCE: Archives of Maryland Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives
  21. DESCRIPTIONPhotograph, Kemp Hall, Frederick
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: c. 1870
    SOURCE: Fredericktown Bank Collection, MSA SC 4702-1-8
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

See also:

Secondary Resources

Brugger, Robert. “Suspended between Memory and Hope (1816-1865).” In Maryland: A Middle Temperament. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press in association with the Maryland Historical Society, 1988.

Brugger, Robert. “A House Divided (1850-1865).” In Maryland: A Middle Temperament. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press in association with the Maryland Historical Society, 1988.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Access to materials linked within these document packets is intended for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The responsibility for making an independent legal assessment and independently securing any necessary rights rests with persons desiring to use particular items in the context of the intended use.

Password Access to Materials

The use of any user name and password to access materials on this web site constitutes an agreement by the user to abide by any and all copyright restrictions and is an acknowledgement that these materials will be used for personal and educational use only. In most instances, the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact ref@mdsa.net if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Nancy Bramucci.