Home » A Shoemakers Story: Being Chiefly about French Canadian Immigrants, Enterprising Photographs, Rascal Yankees, and Chinese Cobblers in a Nineteenth-Century Factory Town by Anthony W. Lee
A Shoemakers Story: Being Chiefly about French Canadian Immigrants, Enterprising Photographs, Rascal Yankees, and Chinese Cobblers in a Nineteenth-Century Factory Town Anthony W. Lee

A Shoemakers Story: Being Chiefly about French Canadian Immigrants, Enterprising Photographs, Rascal Yankees, and Chinese Cobblers in a Nineteenth-Century Factory Town

Anthony W. Lee

Published July 21st 2008
ISBN : 9780691133256
Hardcover
303 pages
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 About the Book 

On a June morning in 1870, seventy-five Chinese immigrants stepped off a train in the New England factory town of North Adams, Massachusetts, imported as strikebreakers by the local shoe manufacturer. They threaded their way through a hostile mob andMoreOn a June morning in 1870, seventy-five Chinese immigrants stepped off a train in the New England factory town of North Adams, Massachusetts, imported as strikebreakers by the local shoe manufacturer. They threaded their way through a hostile mob and then--remarkably--their new employer lined them up along the south wall of his factory and had them photographed as the mob fell silent. So begins A Shoemakers Story. Anthony Lee seeks to understand the social forces that brought this now-famous photograph into being, and the events and images it subsequently spawned. He traces the rise of photography as a profession and the hopes and experiences of immigrants trying to find their place in the years following the Civil War. He describes the industrialization of the once-traditional craft of shoemaking, and the often violent debates about race, labor, class, and citizenship that industrialization caused.Generously illustrated with many extraordinary photographs, A Shoemakers Story brings 1870s America to vivid life. Lees spellbinding narrative interweaves the perspectives of people from very different walks of life--the wealthy factory owner who dared to bring the strikebreakers to New England, the Chinese workers, the local shoemakers union that did not want them there, the photographers themselves, and the ordinary men and women who viewed and interpreted their images. Combining painstaking research with world-class storytelling, Lee illuminates an important episode in the social history of the United States, and reveals the extent to which photographs can be sites of intense historical struggle.