"Thirty-five Children are Coming."
That was the headline Feb. 17, 1912 in the Barre Daily Times, when children from Lawrence, ages 4 to 14, arrived in the small Vermont town.
The Strike of 1912 was going on in Lawrence and as it intensified and families had no money to feed their children, they were sent to Barre, New York and Pennsylvania.
But it's Barre residents opening their doors to the Lawrence youngsters that has received the most attention over the years.
"This is a historic event that the town is very proud of," said Kathleen Patterson, author of "Bread and Roses, Too" about two Lawrence youngsters who went to Vermont.
Patterson first learned about the Strike of 1912 when she moved to Barre 25 years ago. She was inspired to write the book after seeing the photograph of the children in front of Labor Hall the day they arrived.
"It was really a magnificent story, one which I couldn't believe had not been told before," Patterson said. "They didn't talk about the strike and were made ashamed of their triumph."
After 100 years, the relationship between Lawrence and Barre has not waned.
Members of the Barre Historical Society set up a table during the Bread and Roses Festival on Labor Day. They created an exhibit about the 100th anniversary of International Workers of the World and had it on display at Lawrence Heritage State Park.
Lawrence Public Library is hosting a city-wide read of "Bread and Roses, Too" and Patterson will be in Lawrence in April to speak about the book.
Karen Lane, librarian at Aldridge Library in Barre, is not surprised about the partnership.
"It represent the close relationship we had with one another," Lane said. "The whole world was taking note of what was happening in Lawrence and the Italian immigrants here were interested in the outcome of the strike because they had the same philosophy and cultural experience that led them to be supportive of the strike," Lane said.
The library has files of information on the strike as well as clippings from local newspapers. They also have a photograph of the children outside the Old Hall when they arrived in Barre and another inside the hall later that day.
"There was quite a celebration," Lane said. In addition to a big dinner and musical entertainment where they met their host families, the Opera House put on a play for them.
When Patterson's book was published, a group from Lawrence went to Barre for its unveiling. Children in Barre had a skit portraying Lawrence youngsters. The group also visited the train station and Labor Hall.
"I love it because labor history is not well known as it should be," said Jim Beauchesne, visitor services supervisor at Lawrence Heritage State Park.
"It shows how widespread the support was and how people all over the country sympathized to the point they welcomed Lawrence children."
Louise Sandberg, archivist at Lawrence Public Library who is hosting the city-wide read, is not surprised by the publicity Barre has received.
"Out of all the places the children went, Barre was more intimate," Sandberg said. "The book introduces the children to the story in a way that nothing else can."
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