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Dig Deeper: How Did Labor Day Begin and Evolve?

Just as Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer, Labor Day marks its end. Now widely celebrated with picnics and trips to the shore or to the shopping mall, much of the holiday’s original meaning has been forgotten as well as, like Memorial Day, the date on which it was originally celebrated.

The first official Labor Day celebration occurred on a Tuesday; Labor Day is now commemorated on the first Monday of September. On that Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882, the Central Labor Union (CLU), a New York City area local labor union organized in January 1882, held the first Labor Day parade. The parade began inauspiciously: there were numerous spectators, but only a few marchers and no band. These few were soon joined by 200 members of the Jewelers Union and their band. Next to join were a group of bricklayers and their band. Spectators joined the parade as did another 500 union men. By the end, there were at least 10,000 people, both men and women, marching. Some workmen marched in their traditional work clothes; others wore their best dress garments. Many carried signs such as “Strike with the Ballot,” “Eight Hours for a Legal Day’s Work” (the typical work day was much longer), “Less Work and More Pay,” and “Labor Built This Republic, Labor Shall Rule It.”

a postcard of the first Labor Day parade

a postcard of the first Labor Day parade

The parade ended at Reservoir Park at noon. From there most of the participants went to Wendels’ Elm Park, New York’s largest park at that time, at 92nd Street and 9th Avenue. There, together with their families, union members who had not marched in the parade and others, they enjoyed a picnic, abundant beer and cigars, and speeches by union leaders. This first Labor Day celebrated American workers and their contributions to the prosperity of the United States with a parade and picnic, setting a pattern for those that followed.

The next year, the Central Labor Union held a second Labor Day celebration; this was even larger than the first one. The following year, 1884, the CLU declared the first Monday of September as the official annual Labor Day. That year over 20,000 workers marched. By 1886 Labor Day was celebrated throughout the United States. The following year five states – Oregon, New York, Colorado, Massachusetts, and New Jersey – made Labor Day a state holiday. In 1894, during Grover Cleveland’s presidency, Senator James Henderson Kyle of South Dakota introduced a bill to make the first Monday of September, Labor Day, a legal holiday; the bill passed on June 28. The CLU originally selected a date in September to create a holiday in the long period between July 4 and Thanksgiving.

In 1968, the Senate and House of Representatives passed Public Law 90-363, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which listed legal public holidays: New Year’s Day, January 1; Washington’s Birthday (now Presidents’ Day), the third Monday in February; Memorial Day, the last Monday in May; Independence Day, July 4; Labor Day, the first Monday in September; Columbus Day, the second Monday in October; Veterans Day, the fourth Monday in October; Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November and Christmas Day, December 25. The law took effect on January 1, 1971.

The Congressional Record of May 6, 1968 explains that the law was established to benefit families: to provide three-day holidays so that families could get together, to allow more leisure time to participate in hobbies, educational and cultural activities; and to “improve commercial and industrial production by minimizing midweek holiday interruptions of production schedules and reducing employee absenteeism before and after midweek holidays.” Both labor and management supported the bill, but its passage meant that those who worked in retail businesses would not receive the holiday.

Labor Day today is mostly celebrated with travel, picnics, the beginning of football season and retailers’ Labor Day sales. However, some churches hold Labor Day services with Blessings of Tools. The tools may be anything used as part of a trade or business, even pencils and keyboards. The Michener Museum in Doylestown, Pa., is hosting an exhibition, “Iron and Coal, Petroleum and Steel: Industrial Art from the Steidle Collection,” which celebrates Pennsylvania’s industries and workers. So while we have strayed far from the original purpose of Labor Day, vestiges of its history still remain in some of the day’s observances.
How will you celebrate the holiday?

Dig Deeper:

All Around the Year: Holidays and Celebrations in American Life (1994). Jack Santino.

Red, White, and Blue Letter Days (2002). Matthew Dennis.

America’s Labor Day: The Dilemma of a Workers’ Celebration.” Michael Kazin and Stephen J. Ross. Journal of American History 78, 4, (March 1992), 1294.

History of Labor Day.” United States Department of Labor.

Labor Day.” Scott Hearn. The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia.

Article by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team.


Labor Day Special: Library Resources Underpin Debate Over Meaning & Motivation at Work

vectorstock_3580561While reading the Sunday Review section of the New York Times this weekend, I was struck by how important both library books and access to scholarly articles are to not only the professional study of job satisfaction and design but also to the public debate over motivation and meaning at work.

In Barry Schwartz’s article Rethinking Work,”old and new books and scholarly articles frame the conversation. Falvey Memorial Library collections and services provide direct access (via print or ebooks, open access ebooks, or E-ZBorrow) to the sources you need to fully engage in the discussion. See the links to the books and articles referenced in Schwarz’s opinion piece. Research librarians are available by chat, email and research consultations to guide you through finding the full text of vaguely referenced scholarly research articles such as these underscored in “Rethinking Work.”

Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Principles of Scientific Management by Taylor

The Human Equation by Pfeiffer

High Commitment, High Performance by Michael Beer (quickly and easily available through E-ZBorrow)

Why We Work by Barry Schwartz (On order)

Grant, A. M., Campbell, E. M., Chen, G., Cottone, K., Lapedis, D., & Lee, K. (2007). Impact and the art of motivation maintenance: The effects of contact with beneficiaries on persistence behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 103(1), pp. 53-67. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2006.05.004

Dutton, J.E., Debebe, G. & Wrzesniewski, A. (2012). Being valued and devalued at work: A social valuing perspective.  In Qualitative Organizational Research: Best Papers from the David Conference on Qualitative Research (forthcoming). http://webuser.bus.umich.edu/janedut/High%20Quality%20Connections/Being%20valued%20%20final.pdf

– See more at: http://blog.library.villanova.edu/business/category/uncategorized/#sthash.jsl6sLPJ.dpuf

RS4522_FML164_LindaHauck_003_EDITResources selected by Linda Hauck, subject librarian for business.


Library Essentials for Villanova Graduate Students

Calling all grad students! We know life is hectic and powering through night classes takes all the brain juice you’ve got left in reserve. Fortunately for you, we are always here to help! Think of us as your trusty companion, your loyal steed. As you get going on this busy year, keep this info handy – why do more work than you absolutely need to? Find out how to contact a librarian for research help (the options abound). Learn where to find your online account preferences to make our website work for you. We’re convenient, efficient, and always your biggest cheerleader. Check us out! (…see what I did there?)

Double-click for enlarged view!

Double-click for enlarged view!


Library Essentials for Villanova Students Infographic

Welcome back, Wildcats! Whether you’re fresh on the scene or coming back for more, here’s a quick guide for your library essentials. We at the library want everything to be as convenient and helpful for you as possible. Below you’ll find out how to contact the pros; one of our esteemed librarians will always have your back. Our website is on your side, too! Learn where to find your account information to easily renew books or organize your many searches of our many resources. Take a look! If you have a question, we have an answer.


Undergraduate student library services and info

Double click for enlarged view!


‘Caturday: Cool ‘Cats

villanova recyclingYou already know that Wildcats are cool, but did you know that Villanova ranked as one of Sierra Magazine‘s 2015 “Cool Schools”? As one of the “greenest colleges and universities in the United States,” Villanova has added a master’s degree program in environmental sciences that begins with the fall 2016 semester.

Father Donahue also signed the St. Francis Pledge “to protect God’s Creation and advocate on behalf of people in poverty who face the hardest impacts of global climate change.” You can find out more about the Pledge on the Catholic Climate Convenant website.

The Library supports that program and that pledge, even now, by providing specialized resources and librarian research and consultation services. Contact Alfred Fry, science librarian, or Robin Bowles, life sciences librarian, to discuss our resources or to make an appointment.

‘Caturday post by Luisa Cywinski, editorial coordinator on the Communication & Service Promotion team and team leader of the Access Services team.


Librarians Welcome New Faculty at Annual Breakfast



Falvey Memorial Library was again proud to host the traditional continental breakfast for Villanova University’s New Faculty Program, which took place Monday, Aug. 17. The program is hosted by VITAL, the Villanova Institute for Teaching and Learning, and tailored to support the needs of new faculty members by easing them into their new teaching positions, answering questions and introducing them to campus resources. The library’s Learning Commons meeting rooms provided a bright, spacious environment for the new professors to network with subject librarians and begin their Villanova experience.

Gabriele Bauer, PhD, and Director of VITAL also introduced the new faculty members to Falvey’s newest entrant, Millicent Gaskell, University librarian and library director, who began here in May.

Photos by Alice Bampton.



Falvey Memorial Library welcomes new faculty members to Villanova

Falvey Memorial Library welcomed all new faculty members to Villanova to a breakfast reception this morning. If you are a faculty member who was unable to attend, we’re reprinting the general handout that was provided here, which gives a brief rundown of key contact information and services (double click graphic for expanded view). Contact us anytime if you have any further questions or suggestions for library staff.




Introducing Falvey Memorial Library’s Scholarship Open Access Reserve (SOAR) Fund


Falvey Memorial Library’s Scholarship Open Access Reserve (SOAR) Fund

Falvey Memorial Library has committed to support open access journal publication in the 2015-16 fiscal year with the Scholarship Open Access Reserve (SOAR) Fund.  This program is designed to provide financial support to Villanova faculty who are interested in publishing in high quality open access journals.  Faculty may be eligible to have article processing fees incurred publishing in open access journals paid by Falvey Memorial Library.

In the grand scheme of scholarly publishing, open access journals are a relatively new development.  Unlike conventional journals disseminated by paid subscriptions, open access journals make articles freely available to all without paywall barriers.  The emergence and expansion of open access journals have the potential to significantly improve access to new ideas and thinking for scholars and students while acting as a moderating force on exponential library journal price increases.  However, for faculty doing research not funded by grants or gifts that cover article processing charges, publication in open access journals can be prohibitively expensive.  This is where Falvey Memorial Library’s SOAR Fund can help promote both open access and research at Villanova.

Who:  Full- time (tenure and non-tenure track) Villanova faculty are eligible.

What: Falvey Memorial Library may pay up to $2000 in article processing fees on behalf of faculty for an accepted article’s publication in an open access journal.   Sponsored research covered by grants or gifts that provide for article processing fees are exempt.

Where:  Publication in true, sometimes called gold, open access journals are qualified.  Journals that accept article processing fees on the article level to enhance access will not be considered.  Falvey Memorial Library Resource Council will assess targeted journals based on additional quality criteria before granting funding.

Why: By nurturing open access publishing Falvey Memorial Library aspires to support the University’s commitment to a just dissemination of knowledge

When: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis with total funding capped at $10,000 in the 2015-2016 budget.

How: Visit the Open Access Fund Pilot Program page, read the Terms and Conditions and apply!

imagesArticle by Linda Hauck, MS, MBA, business librarian and team coordinator for the Business Research team.


‘Caturday: Podcasting Wildcats

novanation logoHey, NovaNation! Want to know who else is podcasting on campus?

Take a look at the podcast posts on our blog this week, then jump over to some of the links below.

The Villanova University channel on College Sports Live is getting ready for a year of on demand podcasts of Villanova games!

There are some excellent podcasts on Sports Law from The Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law at the Villanova School of Law.

And don’t miss the Villanova University lecture and event podcasts on iTunes U.

vu itunes








If you’re thinking of creating your own podcasts, check out the resources offered by UNIT on the University website. They also have some helpful podcasting FAQs.

podcasting bookWant more help? The Library has current print and online resources about “do it yourself” podcasting.


‘Caturday post by Luisa Cywinski, editorial coordinator on the Communication & Service Promotion team and team leader of Access Services.


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Philadelphia Researching Tips

Even though Philadelphia is only 13 miles away, navigating the city may seem like another world in some sense. With world class institutions, museums, and parks, coupled with a rich history running throughout the city, it is no wonder people can feel overwhelmed when visiting Philadelphia. Luckily Falvey has access to many resources to help navigate and research any topic on Philadelphia. Whether the resource is in print or online, the Library can help resolve any confusion when it comes to researching the City of Brotherly Love.


Falvey has a vast collection of books on Philadelphia; where that collection is located in the Library depends on your subject of research. Start with “Philadelphia” in the subject line to narrow your results.



Use the facets on the right to filter the results down to your area of interest:



In this example, the results are filtered down into books about Philadelphia politics. The picture below displays that books on this subject can be found in the F 158 call number section of the library.



Online Resources

Jutta Seibert, History Librarian and Academic Integration Team Leader, suggests the following free resources readily available online:

Historical Images of Philadelphia – 20,000 historical images of the city dating back to 1841 courtesy of the Free Library.

Library Company of Philadelphia – The Library Company was founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin and remains to this day an independent cultural institution. Its rare books, manuscripts, broadsides, ephemera, prints, photographs, and works of art are worth a visit to its Locust Street location. The Library Company currently hosts “Fashioning Philadelphia – the Style of the City, 1720-1940.” Selected exhibits such as the “Black Founders: The Free Black Community in the Early Republic” are available online.

Digital Maps of Philadelphia – Digital access to city maps ranging from 1834 to 1962 courtesy of the Free Library.


This is a short, starting point for researching tips on Philadelphia. Remember to always contact your subject librarian for a more in depth search.

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Last Modified: July 30, 2015