The “mink brigade” is the name for the wealthy women (the type of women who could afford to wear minks) who supported the strikers at the New York shirtwaist strike of 1909. American trade unionist Rose Schneiderman (1882-1972) used the name “mink brigae” in a 1967 book, but there’s no evidence that the term was actually used in 1909.
‘Mink brigade” was used in January 1935 to describe the wealthy women who watched the “Trial of the Century”—Richard Hauptmann (1899-1936) and the Lindbergh baby kidnapping case. The “mink brigade” term became popular in the 1930s and 1940s to describe any group of wealthy women.
Wikipedia: Mink brigade
The mink brigade was a name used, at first mockingly, to refer to wealthy or otherwise socially privileged women who supported striking workers in the United States.
Anne Morgan, Alva Belmont and other wealthy strike supporters gained the attention of the press who labeled them the “mink brigade” during the New York shirtwaist strike of 1909. The phrase was used again to refer to other women strike supporters, such as Fola LaFollette in the 1913 New York Garment Workers Strike, to describe women whose dress and social status would give police pause in arresting them.
The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax
The American Bar Association’s unpublished HALLAM REPORT APRIL 9, 1936 [ACLU Execution Watch Counter]
RICHARD HAUPTMANN WAS ELECTROCUTED ON APRIL 3, 1936
The trial opened January 2, 1935. The verdict of the jury was returned February 14, 1935.
Newspaper reporters and columnists wrote from day to day of “famous faces seen in court” as they might have listed the box-holders at a grand opera, and gave long lists, including by name, movie actresses, feature writers, dramatic critics, radio broadcasters, actors, expugilists, politicians, bankers, show promoters, a “music chap,” wives of prominent men, and society matrons in fine furs who acquired the title of the “Mink Brigade.” It was a cosmopolitan congregation.
Old Fulton NY Post Cards
25 January 1935, New York (NY) Post, “Sidelights on the Big Trial” by Staff Correspondents, pg. 3, cols. 6-7:
The mink brigade is attending in large numbers now that Hauptmann is on the stand.
23 June 1935, Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock, AR), “Articles By Hauptmann Jurors Start Today,” pg. 1, col. 1:
5. What the Mink Brigade Meant to Us, by Verna Snyder.
30 January 1943, New York (NY) Amsterdam Star-News, “All Ears” by Bill Chase, pg. 10, col. 1:
Mrs. Billy Rowe and Mrs. Ruth Ellington James helped to bring up the mink brigade, ...
21 May 1946, Bradford (PA) Era, “N.Y.’s Great White Way Turns Green Under Blizzard of Big Folding Money” by Gilbert Swan (Central Press Staff Writer), pg. 11, col. 4:
But the charge of the Mink Brigade is on, and the chief casualties appear to be those little souvenir shops that catered to the demands of returning veterans.
All for One
By Rose Schneiderman with Lucy Goldthwaite
New York, NY: P.S. Eriksson
An ally of great value to us was “The Mink Brigade,” a group of wealthy women who marched on the picket line with the strikers during the Shirtwaist Makers’ strike and several times afterward.
Women and American Trade Unions
By James J. Kenneally
St. Albans, VT: Eden Press Women’s Publications
Dubbed the “mink brigade” by Rose Schneiderman, seventy-five volunteers lent their prestige and respectability to the demonstration for seven weeks; these included Anne Morgan, the daughter of J. P. Morgan, Elsie Cole, daughter of Albany’s SUperintendent of Schools, and Inex Milholland. daughter of millionaire John E. Milholland.
OCLC WorldCat record
We shall not be moved : the women’s factory strike of 1909
Author: Joan Dash
Publisher: New York : Scholastic, ©1996.
Edition/Format: Print book : Juvenile audience : English
The mink brigade --
Classroom to Capitol
Whatever happened to the Mink Brigade?
Posted on December 17, 2010 by melindaklewis
As described in The Woman Behind the New Deal, the Mink Brigade was a group of wealthy, liberal young women who used their money and political connections to support progressive political causes–women’s suffrage, workers’ rights, workplace safety, children’s issues. They bailed out striking workers, pulled strings to get access to public officials, and even went to jail to protest unsafe conditions, unfair treatment, and unjust laws.
OCLC WorldCat record
We stand as one : the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Strike, New York, 1909
Author: Laura Bufano Edge
Publisher: Minneapolis : Twenty-First Century Books, ©2011.
The mink brigade --
Ephemeral New York
September 9, 2016
The rich activists of New York’s “mink brigade”
Thanks to the labor movement and the push for women’s suffrage, New York in the first two decades of the 20th century was a hotbed of strikes and rallies—with thousands of women doing the organizing and walking picket lines.
Two well-known members of the so-called mink brigade were Anne Morgan (left), daughter of financier J.P. Morgan, and former society queen bee Alva Belmont, ex-wife of W.K. Vanderbilt and widow of banker Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont.