Labor Day is annually held on the first Monday of September. It was originally organized to celebrate various labor associations’ strengths of and contributions to the United States economy. It is largely a day of rest in modern times. Many people mark Labor Day as the end of the summer season and a last chance to make trips or hold outdoor events. [source]

VICTORIAN AMERICA INSTITUTES LABOR DAY!

The first Labor Day was held in 1882. Its origins stem from the desire of the Central Labor Union to create a holiday for workers. It became a federal holiday in 1894. It was originally intended that the day would be filled with a street parade to allow the public to appreciate the work of the trade and labor organizations. After the parade, a festival was to be held to amuse local workers and their families. In later years, prominent men and women held speeches. This is less common now, but is sometimes seen in election years. One of the reasons for choosing to celebrate this on the first Monday in September was to add a holiday in the long gap between Independence Day and Thanksgiving.

~ Time and Date.com

Drawing of First United States Labor Day Parade

Drawing of First United States Labor Day Parade held in New York City on September 5, 1882 as it appeared in Frank Leslie’s Weekly Illustrated Newspaper’s September 16, 1882 issue. Image: Public Domain, courtesy of Wikipedia.

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Labor Day Originated. How. The Wichita Daily Eagle of Wichita, Kansas on January 1, 1890

The Wichita Daily Eagle of Wichita, Kansas on January 1, 1890.

…DURING A DARK TIME IN U.S. HISTORY…

Labor Day, an annual celebration of workers and their achievements, originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks.

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~ History.com

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During this time, influential events played a role in selecting September for Labor Day, as well as modifying work hours, safety regulations, honoring unions for each trade and skill, eradicating child labor, and so much more. These include: Boycott of Pullman Cars, Haymarket Riot, and many more.

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VICTORIAN AMERICA ARGUES FOR SHORTER WORK DAY

limiting work day hours. The Evening Bulletin of Maysville, Kentucky on April 8, 1890

The Evening Bulletin of Maysville, Kentucky on April 8, 1890.

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Labor Day in Kansas. Wage Workers. 8 hour days. declare September 1. The Humboldt Union of Humboldt, Kansas on August 16, 1890.

Labor Day in Kansas. Wage Workers. 8 hour days. declare September 1. The Humboldt Union of Humboldt, Kansas on August 16, 1890.

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OFFICIAL HOLIDAY, ONE STATE AT A TIME

In 1887 Oregon became the first state of the United States to make Labor Day an official public holiday. By the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894, thirty U.S. states officially celebrated Labor Day. Thus by 1887 in North America, Labor Day was an established, official holiday.

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Following the deaths of workers at the hands of United States Army and United States Marshals Service during the Pullman Strike of 1894, the United States Congress unanimously voted to approve legislation to make Labor Day a national holiday and President Grover Cleveland signed it into law six days after the end of the strike.

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~ Wikipedia, Labor Day

Shortest Bill. Labor Day on First Monday. The Bismarck Tribune of Bismarck, North Dakota, on January 28, 1890

Shortest Bill. Labor Day on First Monday. The Bismarck Tribune of Bismarck, North Dakota, on January 28, 1890.

VICTORIAN LABOR DAY EVENTS

SPEECHES

Labor Day Orators. The Saint Paul Globe of Saint Paul, Minnesota, on August 9, 1890.

The Saint Paul Globe of Saint Paul, Minnesota, on August 9, 1890.

PARADES & PICNICS

Lancaster will celebrate Labor Day in September with parade and picnic. The Times of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 29, 1890.

Lancaster will celebrate Labor Day in September with parade and picnic. The Times of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 29, 1890.

CONCERTS

Concert on Memorial Day. Harrisburg Telegraph of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on August 23, 1890.

Concert on Memorial Day. Harrisburg Telegraph of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on August 23, 1890.

AMUSEMENTS

Amusements on Labor Day. Oshkosh Daily Northwestern of Oshkosh, Wisconsin on August 22, 1890.

Amusements on Labor Day. Oshkosh Daily Northwestern of Oshkosh, Wisconsin on August 22, 1890.

GALAS

Grand Gala Day. Ontario Beach. Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester, New York on August 30, 1890

Grand Gala Day. Ontario Beach. Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester, New York on August 30, 1890

A HOLIDAY!

Railway reduced rates on Labor Day. Weekly Republican-Traveler of Arkansas City, Kansas, on August 28, 1890.

Weekly Republican-Traveler of Arkansas City, Kansas, on August 28, 1890.

No one works. Lawrence Daily Journal of Lawrence, Kansas on August 6, 1890.

No one works. Lawrence Daily Journal of Lawrence, Kansas on August 6, 1890.

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WITH A PURPOSE!

Every Good Citizen. Labor Day. The Kansas City Gazette of Kansas City, Kansas on August 30, 1890

Every Good Citizen. Labor Day. The Kansas City Gazette of Kansas City, Kansas on August 30, 1890.

Because of the determination of our American ancestors to make a difference–to equalize rights between laborers and those with vast wealth, the United States of America is a different place today. We no longer work six days a week, sixteen hours a day. Children are no longer employed for pennies on the dollar in factories. Unions and safety laws make most workplaces far safer than they once were. This Labor Day, midst BBQ’s and hitting a sale or two at the mall, I urge you to reflect a little on our nineteenth century past and the benefits you enjoy today because of our shared history.

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Articles about Victorian Observation of Holidays:

May Day Oddities in the Victorian United States Victorian America and Easter Eggs Victorian Americans and Mardi Gras Victorian Americans Observed Groundhog Day? Victorian Letters to Santa Victorian America Celebrates Halloween Victorian Americans Celebrate Oktoberfest Pioneer Day: Utah’s Victorian History Victorian America Celebrates Independence Day Victorian America Observes Flag Day Victorian America Observes Memorial Day Victorian America Observes Mother’s Day–on Sweet Americana Sweethearts Victorian America Celebrates Arbor Day Victorian America Celebrates Easter Victorian America & April Fool’s Day–on Sweet Americana Sweethearts Victorian America Celebrates St. Patrick’s Day Victorian Leap Year Traditions, Part 1 Victorian Leap-Year Traditions, Part 2 Leap Into Love– The Victorian Way: Sweet Americana Sweethearts Victorian Era Valentine’s Day Victorian New Year Celebrations, on Sweet Americana Sweethearts A Victorian Menu for New Year’s Day, 1892 American Victorian Era Christmas Celebrations Victorian Era Thanksgiving Celebrations Happy Birthday, United States!

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Fried Chicken

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