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Message-ID: <199505040210.KAA19451@uniwa.uwa.edu.au>
Subject: The History of Labor Day (fwd)
To: afrlabor@acuvax.acu.edu (carolyn aflabor)
Date: Thu, 4 May 1995 10:10:43 +0800 (WST)

Forwarded message:
Message-ID: <SETHW.950503185301@maine.maine.EDU>
Date: Wed, 3 May 1995 18:53:01 EDT
Sender: H-Net Labor History discussion list <H-LABOR@MSU.EDU>
From: Seth Wigderson <SETHW@MAINE.maine.edu>
Subject: The History of Labor Day

The History of Labor Day

From Judson MacLaury, Departmental Historian,
U.S. Dept. of Labor
<JMacLaur@DOL.GOV> 3 May 1995

Thanx to Judson MacLaury for this note. There does seem something oxymoronic in network reality checks.
Seth Wigderson, H-Labor Moderator

From: MacLaury Jud <JMacLaur@DOL.GOV>

Thank you for forwarding Mr. Gaylord's very interesting post on May Day. I agree with him that it is a sadly neglected holiday and I can well understand his partiality toward it. I just have one quibble with the piece, and that is regarding Labor Day. He implies that the holiday was created by the federal government and that it has no historical significance. In fact, the first Labor Day parade occured in New York City on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882. It was sponsored by the Central Labor Union of New York and included as many as ten thousand working people. After that a number of states recognized the holiday. Finally, in 1894, 12 years after the first Labor Day, the federal government made it a holiday for federal workers.

My principal authority on this is an article titled "Who is the father of Labor Day?", published by my office in the Sept. 1972 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The title may ring a bell with readers of this list as it gained brief national notoriety in March when CBS News did a RealityCheck segment on federal historians (and a nasty piece of work it was). The article was the very first item cited by the reporter as an example of a ridiculous/useless product of my profession. In fact, it is frequently sent out to grateful media, including CBS News, around Labor Day when they call the Department of Labor for background.

Judson MacLaury
Departmental Historian
U.S. Dept. of Labor