Shirtwaist Journal Entry

1960 Words8 Pages

This is the first of many entries in this little red book. I hope the words I record in its pages stand out in the way that this journal did when I first came upon it. It was one of those dreadful, fourteen-hour workdays in which I was tasked with cutting the excess thread of the shirtwaists. I’d never been particularly good at sewing, so I was stationed with the other young and inexperienced girls. All of the workers in our factory had an assigned job that they did every day. The shirtwaists would pass through a hierarchy of skill: the designers, then the cutters (always men, despite their scarcity) and finally the sewers. When they were done being made, it was up to the packagers, salesmen, and owners to make sure they were sold so we could …show more content…

It’s lack of lighting and small size made it much cooler than the rest of the factory, which allowed me to catch my breath. When my vision adjusted to the darkness, I scanned the room for anything I could use to dust off the now dirtied shirtwaists. There were dusty crates filled with fabric scraps and broken sewing machines. Among the junk, however, I noticed the small, red book embroidered with a beautiful golden fabric. It was not much larger that my hand, and there was nothing written in the book, just the initials “JDR” embroidered on the binding. I was filled with a new excitement after my discovery, and I quickly brought the shirtwaists to the designated location. I tucked the beautiful little book into my waistband and hoped my shirt would disguise its shape. When I returned to my family’s cramped tenement I was too exhausted to thoroughly examine the book. Home didn’t feel very different from what I was used to in the factory. It was much cooler because it was just me, my mother, and father; however, it was still very cramped, and had that same smell of moldy paint.; I quickly bathed and scrubbed off the layer of grime from the factory. I ate my meager helping of food and fell asleep admiring this little red

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