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Inquiry Question

Historical Context





Table of

About This Lesson

The lesson is based on the National Historic Landmark nomination files, "Great Falls of the Passaic/Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures" (with photographs) and "The Pietro Botto House" (with photographs); the National Register of Historic Places registration file, "Belle Vista"; information from several Paterson museums; and Steve Golin's Fragile Bridge: Paterson Silk Strike, 1913. Paterson, New Jersey: America's Silk City was written by Rita G. Koman, an educational consultant. The lesson was edited by Fay Metcalf, Marilyn Harper, and the Teaching with Historic Places staff. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into classrooms across the country.

Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: The lesson could be used in American history, social studies, and geography courses in units on labor-management conflict and the rise of unions, or on immigration.
Time period: Early 20th century
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12

Objectives for students
1) To identify some characteristics of the work and the workforce in Paterson's silk industry.
2) To analyze the causes and effects of the 1913 silk strike.
3) To describe the role of the Industrial Workers of the World labor union in the 1913 silk strike.
4) To examine the lives of a silk mill owner and a skilled silk worker and evaluate their roles in the strike.
5) To look for evidence of historic industries in their own community and to examine the effects of changes in those industries.

Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a smaller, low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) two maps showing Paterson and its historic industrial district;
2) three readings that describe the work in the silk industry, the 1913 strike, and the lives of owners and workers;
3) six photographs of the silk-making process and of important people and places in Paterson's past.

Visiting the site

The Great Falls/S.U.M. Historic District Visitor's Center is located at 65 McBride Avenue, across from the Great Falls parking area in downtown Paterson. It can provide information on touring the district and visiting many of Paterson's other historic buildings. For more information, contact the Tour Director, 65 McBride Avenue, Paterson, NJ 07501.

The Passaic County Historical Society/Lambert Castle Museum, the American Labor Museum/Botto House National Historic Landmark, and the Paterson Museum have been restored and are open to the public. Contact them at the following addresses for further information:

Passaic County Historical Society/Lambert Castle Museum, 3 Valley Road, Paterson, NJ 07503; American Labor Museum, Botto House National Historic Landmark, 83 Norwood Street, Haledon, NJ 07508; Paterson Museum, 2 Market Street, Paterson 07505. The Botto House also has developed educational materials on the Paterson silk strike and on labor history in general.



Comments or Questions

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