Past Exhibition

Ladies' Garments, Women's Work, Women's Activism

February 22, 2019 - July 21, 2019

The story of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union and its role in shaping women’s activism is explored through garments, objects, documents, and photographs in this special installation, on view in the Jean Dubinsky Appleton Women and Labor Exhibition Case at our Center for Women's History.

The story of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union and its role in shaping women’s activism is explored through garments, objects, documents, and photographs in this special installation, on view in the Jean Dubinsky Appleton Women and Labor Exhibition Case at our Center for Women's History. For nearly 200 years, women from across the globe have labored in New York’s garment industry. The unions they organized—particularly the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union (ILGWU)—are some of the most important organizations of women in U.S. history. 

The ILGWU fought for recognition and protection for women workers on the job and reimagined how a union could serve workers and their communities beyond the factories. Women organizers in the ILGWU pioneered modern worker benefits and inspired social welfare programs in education, health, recreation, and legal aid. Through their work, the ILGWU and its women organizers also shaped women’s movements across the 20th century, from the suffrage movement of the 1910s to the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. 

Ladies' Garments, Women's Work, Women's Activism is on display in the Jean Dubinsky Appleton Case in the Center for Women’s History.

Exhibition Highlights

Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Evelyn & Seymour Neuman Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the media sponsor.

  • NYC Cultural Affairs
  • NY Council on the Arts

Media sponsor:

  • WNET New York Public Media