Perry Knitting Co. Loyalty Parade

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Dublin Core


Perry Knitting Co. Loyalty Parade


The four photographs here partially document a tense confrontation, during 1937, between the Perry Knitting Co. management and the Textile Workers Organizing Committee of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Like any other factory, worker concerns over safety, wages, and job stability ran into management concerns over profitability and authority. For example, in 1917 more than 250 Polish workers at PKC had gone on strike, leading to an escalating conflict and arrests.

The CIO's drive for unionization was much larger; one rally near the Perry Knitting Co. drew an estimated 1,200 people. Against this backdrop the Loyalty Parade should be seen as tactical, a public mobilization to show that workers were happy with the status quo. As the Perry Herald wrote, "In one of the most spontaneous demonstrations of civic spirit ever seen in this section more than 900 employees of the Perry Knitting Co., late yesterday afternoon staged a loyalty parade, prompted by the parade in the morning when less than100 new members of the CIO marched in the vicinity of the mill" (9 June 1937: 1). While its spontaneousness may be doubted--given the matching hats and nicely printed placards--the parade ultimately proved effective.

The photographs also document Perry's Main Street at a moment in time. The names and marketing signs of many businesses are visible. At the Auditorium Theater, a double bill of Call It a Day and Turn Off the Moon is playing. A number of curious spectators each think their thoughts. And the parade's marching formation, by work units like "Spinning Room" and "Box Shop," suggest the wrenching decisions individuals faced between loyalty to immediate co-workers and a proposed solidarity of labor. The company may have been valued for providing jobs, but it's questionable whether it could have mobilized such strong feelings.


Perry, NY Public Library




Cooper, Ken


Henry Page Historical Documents


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Still image

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format


Physical Dimensions

10 x 8 in.