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“Sweat Equity: Women in the Garment Industry”
Will Explore the Uniquely Female-Dominated New York Industry on March 6, 2016

New York, NY, February 20, 2016 – The Center for the Study of Women’s History at the New-York Historical Society is pleased to present the first annual Diane and Adam E. Max Conference in Women’s History, which will take place on March 6. The day-long event, occurring during Women’s History Month, will explore the garment industry and its historical impact on women. Organized in memory of Jean Dubinsky Appleton, daughter of veteran labor organizer David Dubinsky, the conference is free and open to the public; advance registration is required.

Sweat Equity: Women in the Garment Industry will feature two keynote addresses, one by historian Alice Kessler-Harris (Columbia University) and one by union leader Julie Kushner (director, UAW Region 9A), along with panel discussions exploring the history and future of garment manufacturing in New York. The morning panels will focus on the entwined histories of immigration, labor activism, and the garment industry’s predominantly female workforce. In the afternoon, working designers will discuss the present-day conditions of New York’s garment district and how they are confronting the challenge of sustainability―both economic and environmental―in the fashion industry.

The conference will take place in the Robert H. Smith Auditorium at the New-York Historical Society, followed by an informal wine-and-cheese reception in the Smith Gallery. The audience is invited to attend the full day’s program or selected panels. Attendees must register in advance either online or by phone at 212-485-9268.

The Estate of Jean Dubinsky Appleton has provided generous support to the 2016 Max Conference, as well as to ongoing exhibitions and research at the New-York Historical Society. Important support for the conference has also been provided by The Coby Foundation, Ltd.

Program Highlights

9:15 am – 10 am:          Introductory Keynote Address: Alice Kessler-Harris
                                           R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History and Professor in the Institute
                                           for Research on Women and Gender, Columbia University

10:10 am – 11 am:        A Century of Change: The Immigrant Workforce over Time
                                           Panelists: Daniel Soyer (Fordham University),  Hector Cordero Guzmán (Baruch  
                                           College, CUNY), Margaret Chin (Hunter College, CUNY)
                                           Moderator: Annie Polland (The Tenement Museum)

11 am – 11:10 am:        Commemorating the Triangle Fire
                                           Mary Anne Trasciatti, Chair, Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition, Inc.

11:10 am – 12 pm:        On Fire and On Strike: Labor Activism in the Garment Industry
                                           Panelists: Jennifer Guglielmo (Smith College), Daniel Katz (Brooklyn College,
                                           CUNY), Katie Quan (UC Berkeley)
                                           Moderator: Lara Vapnek (St. John’s University)

1:30 pm – 2:15 pm:      Afternoon Keynote Address: Julie Kushner
                                           Director, United Auto Workers Union Region 9A

2:30 pm – 3:20 pm:      Preservation and Renewal in New York’s Garment District
                                            Panelists: Nanette Lepore, Yeohlee Teng
                                            Moderator: JoAnne Olian

3:30 pm – 4:45 pm:      The Future of Fashion: From Consumption to Sustainability
                                            Presentation followed by sustainable-design showcase
                                            Speaker: Timo Rissanen (Parsons School of Design)

4:50 pm:                           Closing Remarks: Valerie Paley
                                            Director, Center for the Study of Women’s History, New-York Historical Society  

About the Center for the Study of Women’s History
In 2017, a substantial portion of the New-York Historical Society’s fourth floor will reopen as the Center for the Study of Women’s History, a cutting-edge exhibition space and center for scholarship that will be the country’s first permanent public exhibition and educational center dedicated to women’s history. This landmark initiative will transform familiar narratives of the American past by bringing neglected stories to light and will demonstrate how women across the spectrum of race, class, and culture exercised power and brought about change even before they could vote. Guided by a committee of distinguished historians, the Center will combine permanent installations, temporary exhibitions, and a vibrant program of talks and debates to enrich the cultural landscape of New York City.

About the New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s pre-eminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research and presenting history and art exhibitions and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered history of New York City and State and the country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history. Visit nyhistory.org to learn more.

Marybeth Ihle
New-York Historical Society
(212) 873-3400 ext 326

Saturday, February 20, 2016
Creative: Tronvig Group