January 20, 2008

Fifth Avenue and The High Road to Taos: Mabel Dodge and The Paterson Strike Pageant

Read a revise, update post about the Paterson Strike Pageant here.

In the late spring and early summer of 1913, Margaret Sanger, Max Eastman, John Sloan and his wife Dolly, the Harvard-educated radical journalist John Reed (see Warren Beatty's Reds), I.W.W. leader Big Bill Haywood, and others worked tirelessly to organize the Paterson Strike Pageant of 1913. Over a thousand workers in the silk mill industry who had walked off their jobs earlier in the year took part in the elaborate staging of their plight.The venue was Madison Square Garden, when the Garden was located off Madison Square Park.

Dodge writes, "No one realized the fun of having placed the letters I.W.W. ten feet high on each of the four sides of the Madison Square Tower in bright red electric lights, so that they could be seen from one end of town to the other." (from Movers and Shakers)

In recounting the events of the pageant, Dodge acknowledges, "Everybody worked except me." Dodge's job, as she saw it, was to inspire her then-lover, John Reed, and raise money. Dodge, as a wealthy Fifth Avenue heiress, spent a lot of energy trying to convince the anarchists in her circle that she was a good capitalist. The most humorous parts of her autobiography, although I don't think she saw them as funny, involve her worries that her friend Emma Goldman might possibly kill her.

to be continued....See previous related posts.

No comments: