A Shoemaker's Story
by Anthony W. Lee
Being Chiefly about French Canadian Immigrants, Enterprising Photographers, Rascal Yankees, and Chinese Cobblers in a Nineteenth-Century Factory Town
On a June morning in 1870, seventy-five Chinese immigrants stepped off a train in the New England factory town of North Adams, Massachusetts, imported as strikebreakers by the local shoe manufacturer. They threaded their way through a hostile mob and then — remarkably — their new employer lined them up along the south wall of his factory and had them photographed as the mob fell silent. So begins A Shoemaker’s Story.
Generously illustrated with many extraordinary photographs, A Shoemaker’s Story brings 1870s America to vivid life. Lee’s spellbinding narrative interweaves the perspectives of people from very different walks of life — the wealthy factory owner who dared to bring the strikebreakers to New England, the Chinese workers, the local shoemakers’ union that did not want them there, the photographers themselves, and the ordinary men and women who viewed and interpreted their images. Combining painstaking research with world-class storytelling, Lee illuminates an important episode in the social history of the United States, and reveals the extent to which photographs can be sites of intense historical struggle.
Hardcover, 312 pages, 7"x 9".