Analyzing Photographs of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

While a catalyst for the labor movement, 146 people lost their lives in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1913. A series of photographs of the aftermath of the tragedy help young historians consider the impact of the fire. The photos are accompanied by questions to help them build their primary source image skills. 

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Use image analysis to introduce a unit on the Progressive Era or labor movements
  • Offer as an exit ticket activity following the introduction of these concepts
Classroom Considerations
  • Images—while not graphic—imply death and may not be appropriate in all settings
  • Photos are tragic and gripping
  • Ideas for discussion make the activity easy to integrate into discussion
  • Further details on the fire and its connection to the labor movement are not included, requiring additional teacher research