Sewing machine used by Nellie Stone Johnson

Sewing machine used by Nellie Stone Johnson

Electric-powered treadle sewing machine used by Nellie Stone Johnson of Minneapolis, Minnesota, at her alterations business. It features a flat wood table and a foot pedal. Johnson was a prominent civil rights activist and union organizer, as well as the first African American elected official in Minneapolis. She opened and operated her own sewing and alterations shop in 1963.

Prisoners working in a factory at Minnesota State Prison, Stillwater

Prisoners working in a factory at Minnesota State Prison, Stillwater

Prisoners working in a factory at Minnesota State Prison, Stillwater, 1950.

Prisoners working at sewing machines, Minnesota State Prison, Stillwater

Prisoners working at sewing machines, Minnesota State Prison, Stillwater

Prisoners working at sewing machines, Minnesota State Prison, Stillwater, 1950.

Thimble

Thimble

This metal thimble was found in 1968 during excavation of the sutler’s store at Historic Fort Snelling. Thimbles appear in the store's inventories from the 1830s. They could have been used by the women at the fort (laundresses, domestic servants, enslaved women, and officers' wives) or by the company tailors.

Washing tubs, boards, and dolly pins at Historic Fort Snelling

Washing tubs, boards, and dolly pins at Historic Fort Snelling

Washing tubs, boards, and dolly pins used by interpreters at Historic Fort Snelling to teach visitors about the fort’s laundresses. Photo by Bobbie Scott, 2012.

European American Women at Fort Snelling, 1819–1858

When the Fifth Infantry Regiment came west in 1819 to build a fort on the bluff where the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers flow together, some of the soldiers brought their wives and daughters with them. Women and girls made up around 20 percent of the fort’s population from the time of the first census in 1849 until at least 1900. They included the wives and daughters of officers but also lower-class women (wives and daughters of enlisted men, as well as their servants).

Polish labor union button

Polish labor union button

Button representing the Polish labor union Solidarność (Solidarity). Manufactured between 1980 and 1984.

Students and teacher in home economics class

Students and teacher in home economics class

Students and their teacher in a home economics class, Daytona Beach Florida. Photograph by Gordon Parks, 1943. Wikimedia Commons via Library of Congress. Public domain.

Steel Workers Organizing Committee dues button, 1941.

Steel Workers Organizing Committee button

Steel Workers Organizing Committee dues button, 1941.

Underground mining on the Mesabi Range, 1906. Photo by Underwood & Underwood.

Underground mining on the Mesabi Range

Underground mining on the Mesabi Range, 1906. Photo by Underwood & Underwood.

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