TUportal Support the Libraries

The Working People of Philadelphia, Then and Now

Wed, Nov 07, 2018 | 6:00 pm

In 1980, historian Bruce Laurie published The Working People of Philadelphia, 1800-1850. The book has now been reissued in a freely available online format by Temple University Press. In celebration of its return, please join us for a conversation with historians and Philadelphia natives Francis Ryan and Sharon McConnell-Siddorick. They will discuss questions such as: what was it like to be a worker in Philadelphia in the nineteenth century? How was the Philadelphia working class constituted by race, ethnicity, gender, and occupation? What were some of the major problems, hopes, and aspirations that workers shared? What were the cultures, organizations, and institutions that workers created? In what ways have things changed for the better for Philadelphia workers in 2018, and in what ways are they still struggling?

Francis Ryan is a graduate program director at Rutgers University’s Masters in Labor and Employment Relations program in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Sharon McConnell-Sidorick is an independent historian and author of Silk Stockings and Socialism: Philadelphia's Radical Hosiery Workers from the Jazz-Age to the New Deal (University of North Carolina Press, 2017).


Cynthia Little began her involvement with public history in the 1970s as a doctoral student at Temple University.

Working People of Philadelphia, 1800-1850, by Bruce Laurie, was reissued by Temple University Press in 2018 and is now freely available online. It is part of a larger collection of open access books on Labor Studies and Work.

This event has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

Image credit:

Photograph of workers etching labels onto saws at Disston Saw, Tool and File Works, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, circa 1920s. United Saw, Files, and Steel Product Workers of America Records, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries.

Registration is requested.

Ethical Society