Workers coming out of the Farrell Birmingham Foundry, Ansonia, 1940

Workers coming out of the Farrell Birmingham Foundry, Ansonia, 1940
– Library Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

The story of work in Connecticut mirrors that of much of the nation. From colony to early statehood, Connecticut’s labor force consisted primarily of agricultural laborers, skilled craftsman, and local shopkeepers. The growth of manufacturing brought on by the Industrial Revolution, however, created a demand for mill and factory workers to produce the war materials, industrial products, and consumer goods required of a growing nation. While the state worked to provide important opportunities for women and immigrants, it also produced legislation to regulate child labor, the length of work days, the safety of work environments, and minimum and fair wages for the state’s workforce. Laborers, themselves, were instrumental in agitating for such changes.


Picking Tobacco in the Connecticut River Valley

Literacy Tests and the Right To Vote

Connecticut was the first state to require a literacy test of would-be voters and, even as the practice came under fire as a tool of discrimination, the state held steady until 1970.  …[more]

Learn More


“All in a Day’s Work: Photographs of Women in Connecticut Industry.” University of Connecticut, Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, 2012. Link.
“Greater New Haven Labor History Association,” 2012. Link.
University of Connecticut Libraries, Archives & Special Collections, Connecticut Business History Collections. “Workers at Play: Baseball Teams, Bowling Leagues, and Company Picnics,” 2012. Link.


University of Connecticut. “Finding Aid to the Labor Education Center Records,” 2005. Link.
Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center,  University of Connecticut Libraries. “Finding Aid to the Stephen Thornton Papers,” 2017. Link.
Connecticut Digital Newspaper Project. “Guide to Digitized Newspaper Content - The American Labor Party Movement in Connecticut, 1918-1921,” 2016. Link.


Moret, Marta. A Brief History of the Connecticut Labor Movement. Storrs, CT: Labor Education Center, University of Connecticut, 1982.
Brecher, Jeremy, Jerry Lombardi, Jan Stackhouse, and Brass Workers History Project. Brass Valley: The Story of Working People’s Lives and Struggles in an American Industrial Region. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1982.
Hogan, Neil, and Greater New Haven Labor History Association. Moments in New Haven Labor History. New Haven, CT: Greater New Haven Labor History Association, 2004.
Holloway, Charlotte Molyneux. Report of the Bureau of Labor on the Conditions of Wage-Earning Women and Girls. Hartford, CT, 1914. Link.
Burr, Nelson R. The Early Labor Movement in Connecticut, 1790-1860. West Hartford, CT, 1972.
Hewes, Amy, and Henriette Rose Walter. Women as Munition Makers, a Study of Conditions in Bridgeport, Connecticut. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation, 1917. Link.