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Labor Disputes

Herrin Massacre

by Paul Cadmus

Cadmus was one of sixteen artists commissioned by Life magazine to illustrate significant moments in American history after 1915. Cadmus chose to depict the tragic events of a labor contract dispute which occurred in the mining town of Herrin, Illinois in 1925.

The bloody riot that ensued left twenty-six dead strikebreakers, slain by labor union members. Cadmus situated the action in a town cemetery, and included the symbolic Christian image of the sacrificial lamb on a headstone, drenched in blood.

However, Cadmus’s tempera painting was never published by Life, most likely because the magazine did not wish to offend organized labor just as the nation was gearing up for war production.

Learn more about this artist:

Artist Biography

Lesson Plans

Herrin Massacre - Paul Cadmus

Paul Cadmus,  Herrin Massacre, 1940.  Tempera and oil on panel, 35 ½ x 26 ¾ in.

Gift of Thomas J. Lord and Robert E.  White, Jr. in memory of Arthur and Marie Bell Lord and R. Emmett and Irene Foster White

Within Labor Disputes...
Paul Cadmus Hugo Gellert Thomas Hart Benton Lynd Ward

Rural Poverty Urban Poverty Anti-Poverty Efforts Fall Short Labor Disputes

Ida Abelman
Thomas Hart Benton
Lucienne Bloch
Harry Brodsky
Paul Cadmus
Francis Chapin
Jack Delano
Phillip Evergood
George Gilbert
Hugo Gellert
Joseph Hirsch
Irwan Hoffman
Morris Huberland
Meritt Mauzey
Elizabeth Olds
Walter Quirt
Moses Soyer
Raphael Soyer
Lynd Ward

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