Workers of Broome County

Collection Owner:
Cover Image:
Endicott Johnson Workers Public Market
Endicott Johnson Workers Public Market - Image Source

Collection Facts


Historical Context

Broome County, basically synonymous with the Binghamton-Endicott-Johnson City triangle and Greater Statistical Area, is known for its major employers. 

The communities of Endicott and Johnson City were both founded and named for founders of the Endicott-Johnson Corporation shoe manufacturing company.  The cities were built as part of the famous "Square Deal" established by company co-owner George F. Johnson, who employed tens of thousands of employees in the first few decades of the 20th century with a standard 40 hour workweek and comprehensive medical care.  The communities were full of amenities that were subsidized by the company.  The area saw an influx of immigrants for these progressive factory jobs and was known as the Valley of Opportunity.

Major employers and industries in the 19th century included canals, railroads, and cigar-making.  Into the 20th century, besides the ten factories for the shoe company, there were factories for clothing and other products.  Two years after the well-known Triangle Shirtwaist Factory tragedy of 1911, a similar fire at the Binghamton Clothing Company factory killed 31 people and further pressured New York State to improve fire code requirements and inspections.

After World War II, major employers included IBM, Ansco, and General Electric.