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Iowa Women's Archives Timeline

Bread, Roses and Buttons: Pearl McGill and the 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike – March 6

Pearl McGill play

(l. to r.) Jean Burns, niece of Pearl McGill; Mary Vasey; Heidi Bibler; Janet Schlapkohl; Janet Weaver; and labor leader Dick Fallow, who suggested a play about Pearl McGill.

The Iowa Women’s Archives offered an Iowa perspective on the centennial of the 1912 Lawrence, Massachusetts, textile strike when it premiered a play by Janet Schlapkohl based on research by IWA assistant curator Janet Weaver. The play focused on Pearl McGill, a 17-year-old Iowa labor activist from the button factories of Muscatine who was a leader in the “Bread and Roses” work stoppage of 25,000 textile workers.