Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day Souvenir Program, 1894

In honor of Labor Day, here's an ad that appeared in the 1894 publication, Official Program and Souvenir, Labor Day, Grand Rapids, Mich.  Clearly, Mr. Livingston thought his image was important for attracting business to the hotel and, if this was my ancestor, I would be thrilled that he included it!

1894 Ad for Livingston's Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan

There are some interesting things to note about this souvenir program:
  • There are a lot of ads that include images and not just text, so it's quite enjoyable to browse the pages and see the businesses from that time period;
  • A few ads from other states appear, such as Illinois and Ohio, so if your ancestors owned a business, don't forget to search surrounding areas for ads since they may have placed them in nearby cities in other states; and
  • Various photos of city and state leaders show how your ancestors may have looked at the time; bushy mustaches seem to have been extremely popular!

Another souvenir program from Michigan, Official Labor Day Souvenir, Owosso, Mich., printed this paragraph about Labor Day, 1895:
"Labor Day ... will probably be more extensively celebrated than ever before. Certainly the element of enjoyment will enter into the celebration in a greater degree than it did a year ago, when so many thousands were out of employment and so many other thousands were suffering from depression of spirits as a result of the failure of the big strike led by the American Railway Union. During the past few months the workingman's sky has been growing steadily brighter. Mills and factories that had shut down for an indefinite period when the financial panic swept over the country have been resuming operations one by one, until now the great majority of them are giving employment to the usual number of men, and wages are gradually getting back to a satisfactory basis. In addition to this there has been legislation in a number of states calculated to benefit organized labor in a greater or less degree; so it may reasonably be inferred that the workingmen are in a frame of mind to enjoy their annual holiday."

Enjoy the holiday!

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