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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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"The Inevitable Result to the American Workingman of Unrestricted Immigration"

This cartoon, published in the weekly humor magazine Judge around 1890, presents a vision of what large numbers of poor immigrants, willing to work for low wages, might do to American workers and their families. 

Workers Applaud the New Deal's Works Progress Administration

In this letter to President Roosevelt written in 1936, Michigan workers express their gratitude for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) programs and urge the president to continue WPA efforts. The letter describes how working improves their [...]

A Hotel Worker Requests Labor Laws for Women

In this letter to Eleanor Roosevelt, an aging Southern hotel worker describes long hours and hard working conditions. Advocating on behalf of women hotel laborers, she requests a six day, 48 hour work week, and an improved pension for older workers. [...]

A WPA Worker is Ready to Fight (with text supports)

This letter was written to Harry Hopkins, who was then head of the Works Progress Administration. Between 1935 and 1943, when it was terminated, the W.P.A. was the nation's largest employer; in March 1936, W.P.A. rolls included over 3,400,000 [...]

"We Can Do It!"

Among the most famous images from the World War II era, the "We Can Do It!" poster of a determined working woman (colloquially dubbed "Rosie the Riveter") has been reproduced thousands of times since its original appearance in 1942. During the war, [...]

"Jenny on the Job Wears Styles Designed for Victory"

This World War II-era poster is from the "Jenny on the Job" series developed by the U.S. Public Health Service and aimed at women workers. The series offered safety tips and advice for thousands of women thrust into the workforce during World War [...]

"United We Win"

This 1943 government poster offers an image of racial solidarity among wartime workers under the slogan "United We Win." Although African-Americans did find enhanced opportunities thanks to the high demand for workers and the Roosevelt [...]

"I'm Proud... My Husband Wants Me To Do My Part"

During World War II, the U.S. government produced a number of propaganda posters aimed at mobilizing women workers to contribute to the war effort, offering images that challenged traditional ideas about the role of women and the nature of their [...]

"Jenny on the Job Gets Her Beauty Sleep"

This World War II-era poster is from the "Jenny on the Job" series developed by the Office of War Information and aimed at women workers. The series offered safety tips and advice for thousands of women thrust into the industrial workforce during [...]

Tables Show Chinese Labor Distribution and Wage Discrepancies in Late 19th Century San Francisco

This chart shows the numbers of Chinese immigrants employed in various occupations in San Francisco from 1860-1880. Although the data is incomplete, the chart shows that the vast majority of Chinese worked in menial jobs as laundry workers, [...]

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