Silk Strike Centennial At Lambert Castle

By on May 1, 2013

NEW JERSEY – In 1913, nearly 5,000 workers from dozens of silk mills in Paterson were arrested for disorderly conduct and other non-violent acts after walking away from their looms in a strike that would drag on for months and forever change the roles of worker and employer. Key players in the ongoing saga included mill owners such as Catholina Lambert, radical idealists such as journalist John Reed, and civil servants such as Court Recorder James F. Carroll, one of many city officials cited for their heavy-handedness and bias against the strikers.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of this major event in the history of labor relations, and Paterson’s Lambert Castle, once the home of silk magnate Catholina Lambert, is commemorating the centennial with a brand-new exhibit. “We Had to Be Rebels” will be open through October and will feature antique looms used in the production of silk, primary resources such as the actual arrest records of the strikers and their supporters, and recorded interviews with Paterson silk workers.

“When we see the opulence of Castle, it’s always important to remember that Lambert himself was only part of the story,” said Lambert Castle’s Historic Site Manager, Charles Casimiro. “His fortune was made on the backs of the people that worked for him, and ultimately, the strike did irreparable financial damage to him and the other mill owners in the area.”

Lambert Castle is open to the public Wednesday through Thursday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (973) 247-0085 or visit lambertcastle.org.