AUGUSTA — The captivating “tiny red-haired bundle of dynamite,” Rose Schneiderman, comes back to life at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Maine State Library through a portrayal in voice, images and song by her grandniece, Annie Schneiderman Valliere of Woolwich.

A well-known suffragist from 1907-1920, Rose Schneiderman worked alongside suffrage leaders in several state suffrage campaigns and traveled the east coast and Midwest speaking on behalf of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Describing one of her talks in Cincinnati, an attendee wrote: “ … But no one has touched the hearts of the masses like Rose Schneiderman … Strong men sat with tears rolling down their cheeks.”

Schneiderman, a Jewish immigrant who stood at four feet six inches tall, was one of the few working class, nonnative-born women travelling the country and speaking about suffrage. From 1905 through the 1950s, she was also a prominent member of the Women’s Trade Union League, rising to national president. An organizer for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, she is best known for her leadership in the Girls Shirtwaist Strike in 1909 and her landmark speech advocating for a strong working-class movement following the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City in 1911. Schneiderman’s work on labor issues led to her role as an adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and an appointment as the only woman member of the National Labor Advisory Board in 1933.

Valliere has worked as a psychotherapist and middle school social worker for over 30 years. She has presented Rose Schneiderman’s story to high school and college history classes, historical societies and community groups throughout Maine. Her essay, “The Rose Schneiderman I Knew and the Triangle Fire: A Grandniece Remembers,” will be published in an upcoming anthology about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

Refreshments and a reception will precede the talk, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Valliere appears as part of the Collaborative Encounters Series co-sponsored by the Maine State Museum, Maine State Library and Maine State Archives. For more information, see www.mainestatemuseum.org.

Rose Schneiderman, 1909 Courtesy photo from Library of Congress


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: