Daughters of St. Crispin

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The Daughters of St. Crispin was an American labor union of women shoemakers, and the first national women's labor union in the United States.[citation needed]

The union began with a strike of over a thousand female workers in 1860 in Massachusetts. By the end of 1869, it had a total of 24 local lodges across the United States, the largest of which had over 400 members.[1] Conventions of all the lodges were held annually in Massachusetts until 1872.[2]

The name "Daughters of St. Crispin" was inspired by the contemporary men's union of shoemakers, the Order of the Knights of St. Crispin. Saint Crispin is the patron saint of cobblers, tanners, and leather workers.

In 1870, a convention of the Daughters of St. Crispin unanimously adopted a resolution which demanded equal pay for doing the same work as men.[1] In 1872, they staged a successful strike for higher wages in Massachusetts.[2]

Though the national organization began to decline as early as 1873 as a result of the Long Depression,[3] local chapters in Massachusetts remained active,[2] and many individual members eventually joined the Knights of Labor which formed in 1869.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b National Women's Trade Union League of America (1912). Life and labor, Volume 2. Cornell University. 
  2. ^ a b c Cullen-DuPont, Kathryn (2000). Encyclopedia of women's history in America. Infobase Publishing. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-8160-4100-8. 
  3. ^ Neill, Charles Patrick (1910). Report on condition of woman and child wage-earners in the United States. 1910: United States. Bureau of Labor.