Thoughtful Thursday History of Labor Day

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In the late 1800’s, during the industrial revolution, workers were subject to some pretty fierce working conditions. The average adult worked everyday of the week for about 12 hours which gave them just enough for a mediocre life. Children as young as 5 and 6 years old also worked in the mills and factories but for a fraction of what the adults made.

The environment in the workplace was normally not safe nor did workers have sanitary conditions. Labor unions became more popular and more vocal as a result, and they organized workers to carry out strikes and protests. Some of these rallies became violent and sadly even led to death for some.

The first Labor Day parade was held on September 5, 1882. There were approximately 10,000 workers who marched from City Hall to Union Square in New York City. It caught the attention of industrial centers all over the United States and as a result, many states passed legislation recognizing the first Monday in September as the “Workingmen’s Holiday.” However, Congress did not legalize it as a holiday for another 12 years which was under President Grover Cleveland.

So take this coming Monday off and celebrate. Celebrate for you and for all those in your community who work so hard for the rest of us. Also, remember those who voiced their concerns over years to improve working conditions for everyone.

I hope you enjoyed this little history snippet. Have a Happy and Safe Labor Day!

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“Success will always come down to this: Focus and effort, and we control both.” ~ Dwayne Johnson

Sources:

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/labor-day-1

https://www.employmentlawhandbook.com/resources/the-history-of-labor-day-in-the-united-states/

Thoughtful Thursday

Esther A Howland “The Mother of Valentine”

Follow Up to the History of Valentine’s Day

Last week I wrote a post about the history of Valentine’s Day and learned we had a “Mother of Valentine, “Esther A Howland. I found her very interesting considering she was born in a time before women basically had rights and as a result the odds were not in her favor. Despite that, Esther persevered and moved forward with her vision. Below are some of the highlights of Esther’s lifetime accomplishments below:

  • 1828 Esther was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her parents were Southworth Allen Howland and Esther Howland.
  • Her Father, owned the largest stationary and bookbindery business in Worcester, Massachusetts.
  • Esther attended college at Mount Holyoke Academy the same time as Emily Dickinson did.
  • 1847 Esther graduated college at the age of 19 and received a Valentine card from one of her father’s friends which was decorated with lace and cut out flowers. During this time, Valentine Day Cards were imported from Europe into the States.
  • Esther loved the card and thought she could do better. She talked to her father and he bought her supplies to make her own cards. She created a dozen designs.
  • Esther gave the samples to her brother for his next sales trip for their father’s business. She hoped for $200 in sales which would be worth around $6,380 today. But to her surprise he returned with over $5,000, worth $159,501 today.
  • Esther knew she couldn’t handle these orders by herself so she employed friends, primarily women who were said to have been paid liberally and had pleasant working conditions. She used a guest bedroom on the 3rd floor of her home for her new business. She set up an assembly line to create the cards and inspected each one.
  • 1850 The Worcester Spy published the first advertisement for Esther’s Valentine Cards and she became officially known as a businesswomen.
  • 1870 Esther incorporated her business, New England Valentine Company (N.E.V.Co).
  • In red ink, Esther began stamping the letter “H” and price on the back of her cards. She also included in red ink, the letters for her company “N.E.V.Co.”
  • Esther’s business grossed $100,000 annually the equivalent of $3,190,024 today.
  • Esther expanded her business and made cards for Birthdays, Christmas and New Years. She also created May Baskets and Booklets.
  • 1866 Esther suffered a knee injury and became bound to a wheelchair.
  • 1874 Esther moved her Valentine factory from her home to Harrington Corner.
  • Esther passed away in 1904 at the age of 76. Although she was considered “The Mother of Valentine” she never married.
Esther Howland’s Home
Assembly Line
Esther Howland Valentine Cards

Thanks for stopping by. Share the Happy!!

“I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.” ~ Estee Lauder

Sources:

https://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day-2

https://www.amazingwomeninhistory.com/esther-howland-american-valentine

https://newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/esther-howland-worcester-valentine-queen/

https://www.legacyclub.boston/esther-howland

https://bonnercountydailybee.com/news/2021/feb/10/esthers-gift-and-legacy-love/