Scholars from Columbia University and UC Berkeley to Illuminate Lawrence’s Remarkable History

L to R: Professor Robert Forrant (UMass Lowell), Susan Grabski (LHC Director), Christopher Muller (Columbia University), Alex Gourevitch (Brown University), Kathy Flynn (LHC Researcher), Amita Kiley (LHC Collection Manager)

May 26, 2015


Contact: Susan Grabski, Executive Director, Lawrence History Center, 978-686-9230

Scholars from Columbia University and UC Berkeley to Illuminate Lawrence’s Remarkable History

Lawrence, MA – The Lawrence History Center (LHC) has entered into an exciting new collaboration with scholars from Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley that will provide new and detailed information about life in Lawrence around the time of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike.

For the past several months LHC researcher Kathy Flynn and collections manager Amita Kiley have been working to organize and prepare collection materials for a journey to Columbia University as part of a post-doctoral research and digitization project that is being funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Columbia University’s Christopher Muller describes the project: “We will be producing archival-quality photographs and digital copies of death records, contagious disease records, and Essex County Jail Records for the city of Lawrence from 1911 to 1913. The death and disease records will enable us to study the effects of the 1912 strike on health and mortality throughout the city. The jail records will give us new insights into strike participation as well as the offenses for which strikers were arrested. Combining these records with census records will allow us to study whether neighbors or members of the same ethnic group were arrested and jailed together for strike activity.” Muller adds, “We couldn't be more grateful to the Lawrence History Center for its extraordinary support of this project. We hope to produce scholarship that will illuminate the city's remarkable history as well as generate new findings of general interest to scholars of health, labor history, and social movements.”

Project scholars include:

  • Peter Bearman, Jonathan R. Cole Professor of the Social Sciences, Columbia University
  • Kinga Makovi, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Sociology, Columbia University
  • Christopher Muller, Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar, Columbia University
  • Sameer Srivastava, Assistant Professor, Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley

“We are thrilled about the opportunity this project presents for LHC and for researchers going forward. Digitizing primary source documents such as these is as much about preservation as it is about access. And, it is most certainly a mutually beneficial undertaking which will make the work all the more meaningful,” explains LHC director Susan Grabski.

The history of Lawrence, the 1912 Bread and Roses strike in particular, has sparked the interest of scholars locally, nationally, and internationally. According to UMass Lowell History Professor Robert Forrant, “This project is further affirmation that the Lawrence History Center has become one of the leading research centers in the country for those interested in doing labor, social, and immigration history.”

lhc_logo.png The Lawrence History Center was founded in 1978 as the Immigrant City Archives by German immigrant Eartha Dengler. The organization’s mission is to collect, preserve, share, and interpret the history and heritage of Lawrence, Massachusetts and its people. The archive is located at 6 Essex Street, Lawrence, Massachusetts in the former Essex Company complex – a site built in 1883 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Tue–Fri: 9am-4pm
Sat: By appt
Sun-Mon: Closed

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6 Essex Street
Lawrence, MA 01840

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Founded in 1978 as the Immigrant City Archives, the mission of the Lawrence History Center is to collect, preserve, share, and animate the history and heritage of Lawrence and its people.