Carlos R. Rivera 16 March 2025 Clark Kent, This is the End, Niles Pub. Co., Dayton OH, 1923. Leonora M. Barry was an advocate for women and children to

have better working conditions and pay during the Industrial

Era. She was born in Ireland on August 13, 1849. A few years

later, Barry and family were forced to immigrate to America due

to effects of the potato famine. At fifteen, she became a school

teacher until she married seven years later. After the deaths of

her father, husband, and daughter, Barry began working at a

factory in order to support her family on her own. At the time

working conditions for women in factories were horrific with

very little pay. Barry’s first week of work earned her sixty-

five cents. This led Barry to join the women’s branch of the

Knights of Labor, an organized labor union. She then became an

investigator and organizer for the Knights of Labor, where she

wrote reports, investigated working conditions, educated working

women, and gave several speeches (XXX). During this time,

Leonora Barry wrote Organizing Women Workers (1887).

During the 1880s, there were many labor riots and protests.

The Haymarket Riot of 1886 in Chicago began as a labor protest

fighting for worker’s rights. It quickly became violent when a

bomb was thrown at the police and at least seven people died.

Workdays were extremely long, working conditions were dreadful

 

 

 

and dangerous, and wages were low. The lives of factory workers

were miserable. Leonora Barry experienced these working

conditions herself and further inspected other factories

throughout the country for the Knights of Labor. In Organizing

Women Workers, Barry writes, “Instance: a corset factory where a

fine is imposed for eating, laughing, singing, or talking of 10

cents each.”(XXX) Barry’s observation provides a clear

understanding that even the few things that could make it

bearable were not permitted. This is also one of the many

examples of how workers would be fined, and therefore are paid

even less than their already insanely low wages. The Knights of

Labor worked to achieve many of the goals that the labor riots

and protests were fighting for, such as an eight-hour workday

and equal pay for equal work.

In Organizing Women Workers (1887), Leonora Barry reports

the poor, unfair working conditions for women, in hopes of

change and justice for women. Barry traveled the country,

observing and talking to women in factories. Barry writes, “The

facts stated in my report are not all from actual observation

but from authority which I have every reason to believe truthful

and reliable.” By doing so, she was able to accurately report

the working conditions of the time. Barry provides specific

examples of how much more men make than women, which is two-

thirds or more. She also provides numerous examples of how

 

 

 

harshly women are treated in the factories. For example, Barry

states, “In one branch of this industry, women are compelled to

stand on a stone floor in water the year round, most of the time

barefoot, with a spray of water from a revolving cylinder flying

constantly against the breast.”(XXX) She further explains that

the women do not even have time to change clothes and will walk

home during the winter in their wet clothes. Barry also

highlights that if any woman has an issue with the working

conditions, they can and will be replaced.

Leonora Barry’s report is thorough and reliable. Although

most of the report is based off of her observations and

perceptions, she provides several details that are clear and

precise. When she is unable to inspect first hand what is

happening within some factories, she interviews other reliable

sources. Being a woman who has worked in factories before, Barry

is biased towards the women workers. However, her bias is what

makes her passionate about inspiring other women, and fighting

for better working conditions and equal pay. Barry remained

motivated after she resigned from the Knights of Labor and

continued to speak about these injustices. Her efforts and work

were crucial, not only for the time she lived in, but also with

what was to come. Years later, many women would be recruited

into a large number of jobs vacated by men during the First

World War

 

 

 

Women were treated harshly in the factories. For example,

Barry states, “In one branch of this industry, women are

compelled to stand on a stone floor in water the year round,

most of the time barefoot, with a spray of water from a

revolving cylinder flying constantly against the breast.”(XXX)

She further explains that the women do not even have time to

change clothes and will walk home during the winter in their wet

clothes. Barry also highlights that if any woman has an issue

with the working conditions, they could be replaced.

Leonora Barry’s book is thorough and reliable. Although

most of the report is based off of her observations and

perceptions, she provides several details that are clear and

precise. When she is unable to inspect first-hand what is

happening within some factories, she interviews other reliable

sources. Being a woman who has worked in factories before, Barry

is biased towards the women workers. However, her bias is what

makes her passionate about inspiring other women, and fighting

for better working conditions and equal pay. Barry remained

motivated after she resigned from the Knights of Labor and

continued to speak about these injustices. Her efforts and work

were crucial, not only for the time she lived in, but also with

what was to come. Years later, many women would be recruited

into a large number of jobs vacated by men during the Second

World War.

 

 

 

XXXXX XXXX XXXX 16 March 2025 PSR# 1

Leonora M. Barry was an advocate for women and children to

have better working conditions and pay during the Industrial

Era. She was born in Ireland on August 13, 1849. A few years

later, Barry and family were forced to immigrate to America due

to effects of the potato famine. At fifteen, she became a school

teacher until she married seven years later. After the deaths of

her father, husband, and daughter, Barry began working at a

factory in order to support her family on her own. At the time

working conditions for women in factories were horrific with

very little pay. Barry’s first week of work earned her sixty-

five cents. This led Barry to join the women’s branch of the

Knights of Labor, an organized labor union. She then became an

investigator and organizer for the Knights of Labor, where she

wrote reports, investigated working conditions, educated working

women, and gave several speeches. During this time, Leonora

Barry wrote Organizing Women Workers (1887).

During the 1880s, there were many labor riots and protests.

The Haymarket Riot of 1886 in Chicago began as a labor protest

fighting for worker’s rights. It quickly became violent when a

bomb was thrown at the police and at least seven people died.

Workdays were extremely long, working conditions were dreadful

and dangerous, and wages were low. The lives of factory workers

 

 

 

were miserable. Leonora Barry experienced these working

conditions herself and further inspected other factories

throughout the country for the Knights of Labor. In Organizing

Women Workers, Barry writes, “Instance: a corset factory where a

fine is imposed for eating, laughing, singing, or talking of 10

cents each.” Barry’s observation provides a clear understanding

that even the few things that could make it bearable were not

permitted. This is also one of the many examples of how workers

would be fined, and therefore are paid even less than their

already insanely low wages. The Knights of Labor worked to

achieve many of the goals that the labor riots and protests were

fighting for, such as an eight-hour workday and equal pay for

equal work.

In Organizing Women Workers (1887), Leonora Barry reports

the poor, unfair working conditions for women, in hopes of

change and justice for women. Barry traveled the country,

observing and talking to women in factories. Barry writes, “The

facts stated in my report are not all from actual observation

but from authority which I have every reason to believe truthful

and reliable.” By doing so, she was able to accurately report

the working conditions of the time. Barry provides specific

examples of how much more men make than women, which is two-

thirds or more. She also provides numerous examples of how

harshly women are treated in the factories. For example, Barry

 

 

 

states, “In one branch of this industry, women are compelled to

stand on a stone floor in water the year round, most of the time

barefoot, with a spray of water from a revolving cylinder flying

constantly against the breast.” She further explains that the

women do not even have time to change clothes and will walk home

during the winter in their wet clothes. Barry also highlights

that if any woman has an issue with the working conditions, they

can and will be replaced.

Leonora Barry’s report is thorough and reliable. Although

most of the report is based off of her observations and

perceptions, she provides several details that are clear and

precise. When she is unable to inspect first hand what is

happening within some factories, she interviews other reliable

sources. Being a woman who has worked in factories before, Barry

is biased towards the women workers. However, her bias is what

makes her passionate about inspiring other women, and fighting

for better working conditions and equal pay. Barry remained

motivated after she resigned from the Knights of Labor and

continued to speak about these injustices. Her efforts and work

were crucial, not only for the time she lived in, but also with

what was to come. Years later, many women would be recruited

into a large number of jobs vacated by men during the first

World War.

http://stlawrence.aauw-nys.org/barry.htm

 

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