This is a Labor Day blog post

Unidentified Photographer, [Two Domestic Workers], ca. 1875 (72.2004)

Unidentified Photographer, [Two Masons], ca. 1870 (2010.43.3)

Unidentified Photographer, [Blacksmith], ca. 1860 (77.2004)

Fred Weese, [Blacksmith], June 20, 1886 (81.2004)

Unidentified Photographer, [Chemist], ca. 1880 (2010.43.2)

If the first Labor Day “was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City,” according to the Department of Labor’s History of Labor Day webpage, then almost all of the these photos, beautiful and magnetic, of workers, almost all produced by unidentified photographers, were made before the workers received an official day of recognition and a day off.

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of this country. Department of Labor

Qualitatively and quantitatively this quickly (I have so much work to do) prepared (and so little time) display (when is lunch?) of tintypes (the best medium) of workers (the best people), including many males with more-than-abundant facial hair, is not as good as last year’s instant classic Labor Day blog post: On their deathbed, no one ever said: “I wish I spent more time at the office.” (Irrelevantly, I am out to lunch and found a new favorite photo: [Chemist], ca. 1880, now that’s a great photo! Who is that character? Where was that photo made? What is in those beakers? Diabolically Beautiful.)

Interestingly and relevantly as of August 5, 2016, the American unemployment rate was 4.9%. “255,000 jobs were created in July 2016″ according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth increased in professional and business services, health care, and financial activities, while employment in the mining industry continued to decrease” ( And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are 7.8 million unemployed persons in America in August, 2016. The average non-farm workweek is 34.3 hours; the average hourly non-farm wage is $25.73. Employment increased in food services and drinking places, social assistance, professional and technical services and health care. (This information is a summary of the Employment Situation Summary, from the US Department of Labor.)

Intriguingly this Labor Day blog post is a creation of a photographer and is dedicated to the creative achievements of workers. It consists of a yearly international tribute to the contributions constituents have made to the curiosity of this country.
More importantly: have many happy, creative, innovative and productive Labor Days and days of labor.

Unidentified Photographer, [Unidentified Photographer], ca. 1875 (2008.57.5)

[The Almost Alchemy of Photography]

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