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Social Fabric: Land, Labor, and the World the Textile Industry Created

Friday, September 1, 2023 at 9:00am to 5:00pm

Carl A. Kroch Library, Hirshland Gallery

Social Fabric: Land, Labor, and the World the Textile Industry Created tells the story of the communities affected by the textile and garment industries in the United States and around the world. Spanning nearly 400 years, it includes indigenous communities that lived along the river valleys in New England where those industries first arose, enslaved people and sharecroppers in the South that grew the cotton that fed the mills, women and immigrants that worked in the mills and factories who fought for worker’s rights through unions, incarcerated people that make clothing and textiles in American prisons, and the workers in the Global South that make much of what we use and wear today. 

As part of the Threads of History exhibition series, Social Fabric connects existing material from the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections and the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives to selections from the newly acquired library and archives of the former American Textile History Museum as a way to highlight the rich resources related to textiles at Cornell and broaden our understanding of the historical and current impact of textiles and clothing on the US and global economies and social and environmental sustainability.  

Curated by Marcie Farwell, Gordon and Marjorie Osborne Textile Industry Curator; Dr. Wesley Chenault, Director of the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives; Dr. Tamika Nunley, Cornell Departmant of History Associate Professor of History and Sandler Family Faculty Fellow, and Claudia Leon, Undergraduate Public History Fellow.

Hours are subject to change. See Rare and Manuscript Collections hours for more detailed information. 

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Event Type



Cornell University Library, History, Kroch Library, ILR Library, Sustainability, Campus Sustainability Office

University Themes

Public Engagement, Research


history, ILR, amstcal


Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Marcie Farwell

Dept. Web Site

Disability Access Information

Wheelchair accessible entrance via Olin Library

Open To

general public

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