News & Events

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire for THE IRISH TIMES

On March 25, 1911, a fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Washington Place in Lower Manhattan, killing 146 workers, most immigrant women and girls, and sparking a nationwide fight for safer workplaces. I’m thrilled to share this milestone event in US labor history with readers of THE IRISH TIMES for the fire’s 110th anniversary. Read the full story here.

In case you missed…

My three-part podcast: “The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911, An Emigrant’s Experience” with Fin Dwyer’s Irish History Podcast

My interview with IRISH CENTRAL: “New podcast series explores disastrous Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York.”

My interview with AM NEW YORK, “New podcast explores events of Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in Greenwich Village from eyes of young women survivors.”

The Windsor Hotel Fire of St. Patrick’s Day 1899

NYC’s Deadliest Hotel Fire Took 86 Lives

On March 17, 1899, the Windsor Hotel at 575 Fifth Avenue caught fire, the first smoke and flames billowing from the building just as the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade reached 47th Street. Not even the proximity of the city’s firefighters marching by in their dress blues could save the grand hotel from burning to the ground. Nearly 90 people died, making the Windsor the deadliest hotel fire in New York and the worst commercial disaster until the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911.

Read the rest of the story on Medium.

Interview with Irish Central

I recently sat down with Irish Central to talk about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911, which marks its 110th anniversary this March 25th. Between research for my Gilded Age novel manuscript, Irish Eyes and my three-part podcast series with Irish historian Fin Dwyer, there was soooo much fascinating material that didn’t make it into either of those projects, leaving me lots to talk about, not only the grim facts of the fire but the workplace reforms won its wake.

The fire took the lives of 146 workers, most of them immigrant women and girls. The youngest victim was just 14 years old. Triangle policies such as denying workers fire drills and locking workroom doors from the outside greatly contributed to the catastrophic loss of life — the deadliest workplace disaster in New York State until 9/11.

In combing through the debris afterward, rescuers recovered fourteen engagement rings, a poignant reminder of the thwarted promise of so many young lives lost.

Check out my Irish Central interview here and then have a listen to the pod.

Tweet me your thoughts @hopetarr #historymatters.

Podcast – Episode Three, The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911: An Emigrant’s Experience

In the fire’s wake, the International Ladies Garment Workers and other women-led union groups helmed the fight for reform. Photo: osha.gov.

Episode Three, the final episode of my podcast series, “The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire: An Emigrant’s Experience” with Irish historian, author and podcaster, Fin Dwyer looks at the fire’s legacy through the eyes of two young women workers who survived it, Annie Doherty from County Donegal, Ireland, and Celia Walker from Przemsyl, Poland. One woman would disappear from the public record less than a decade later; the other would go on to achieve a modest version of the American Dream.

Meanwhile, the public outcry against the factory owners’ criminal negligence would fuel an unprecedented nationwide labor reform effort led by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. For the first time in US labor history, women didn’t have to beg a seat at the bargaining table — they were leading the charge. 110 years later, we have these fiercely dedicated women to thank for fire drills and many other legally mandated workplace safety measures we take for granted today.

Catch up on the previous episodes here:

Episode One follows Annie’s and Celia’s harrowing transatlantic journeys to New York where both women would make their home, Annie in the notorious West side neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen, Celia in the predominantly Eastern European Lower East Side.

Episode Two takes Annie and Celia from the citywide garment workers strike of 1909 known as The Uprising of 20,000 to Saturday, March 25, 1911 when the fire broke out on the factory’s eighth floor, trapping hundreds of young women and girls inside and killing 146, making it the most lethal workplace disaster in New York State until 9/11.

Have a listen and share your thoughts on Twitter where I post as @HopeTarr #HistoryMatters.

For Sharing on Social:

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire: An Emigrant’s Experience (Episode 3)
https://tinyurl.com/y3d9dtxy
#HistoryMatters #podcast

Don’t miss a thing! Sign up for my newsletter here.

Labor of love! Every year since 2004, volunteers for The Chalk Project chalk the names of the fire victims outside their last known NYC residence.

Podcast – Episode Two, The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911: An Emigrant’s Experience

Fire trucks rush to the scene at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Washington Place, March 25, 1911.

They called them the Shirtwaist Kings. Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, one of the largest ready-made clothing manufacturing firms in the United States and a principal provider of ladies’ button-up blouses, the go-to garment for the New Woman.

To the workers employed in their factories in Syracuse, Yonkers, Boston, Philadelphia and Manhattan, Blanck and Harris were more than kings. They were as good as gods, wielding the power of life and death over hundreds of employees, mostly immigrant women and girls like Annie Doherty from Ireland and Celia Walker from Poland, the subjects of my new three-part podcast series on the fire, a collaboration with Fin Dwyer, Irish historian, author and creator of the acclaimed Irish History Podcast.

Episode One follows Annie’s and Celia’s harrowing transatlantic journeys to New York where both women would make their home, Annie in the notorious West side neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen, Celia in the predominantly Eastern European Lower East Side.

Episode Two, which launched 1/18/21, follows Annie and Celia from the citywide garment workers strike of 1909 to that fatal Saturday, March 25, 1911 when the fire broke out on the factory’s eighth floor. Within 30-minutes, 146 workers would be dead, another 78 injured, victims of what would be the deadliest industrial disaster in New York State until the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Episode Three, which looks at the legacy of the fire in the lives of survivors and in the larger landscape of labor reform, will post Monday, January 25.

Have a listen and then share your thoughts on Twitter where I post as @HopeTarr #HistoryMatters.

For Sharing on Social:

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire: An Emigrant’s Experience (Episode 2)
https://tinyurl.com/yxhn6a66
#HistoryMatters #podcast

Don’t miss a thing! Sign up for my newsletter here.

Podcast – The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911: An Emigrant’s Experience

I’m thrilled to announce the launch of “The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911: An Emigrant’s Experience,” a three-part podcast with Irish historian, author and podcaster Fin Dwyer. I first met Fin in 2018 at an event at the American Irish Historical Society in Manhattan where he was the guest speaker, thought he was brilliant and approached him afterward about how we might collaborate to put together a podcast program for the fire’s 110th anniversary on March 25, 2021. Nearly three years later, and more than 3,000 miles and five hours apart — Fin in Kilkenny and me in NYC — here we are!

The fire at the Triangle factory, housed in the Asch Building (today the Brown Building, part of New York University) took the lives of 146 workers, most of them immigrant women and girls, and injured 78 others, making it the deadliest workplace disaster in New York State until the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Each approximately 30-minute podcast episode looks at a different aspect of the fire as seen through the eyes of two immigrant factory workers who lived it: Annie Doherty, an Irish Catholic from Finn Valley in Ireland’s County Donegal and Celia Walker, an Eastern European Jew from Przemysl in southwestern Poland, in the late 19th century part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Listen to Episode One here, which follows Annie’s and Celia’s harrowing transatlantic journeys to turn-of-the-century New York where both women would make their home, Annie in the notorious West side neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen, Celia in the predominantly Eastern European Lower East Side.

Episode Two: Fire and Episode Three: Legacy will post Monday, January 18 and Monday, January 25, respectively. Have a listen and then share your thoughts on Twitter where I post as @HopeTarr #HistoryMatters.

For Sharing on Social:

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire: An Emigrant’s Experience
https://tinyurl.com/y38ntjuk
#HistoryMatters #podcast

Don’t miss a thing! Sign up for my newsletter here.

SALE! Get All Suddenly Cinderella Books for 99 cents

Now thru 4/26, get ALL four Suddenly Cinderella series books on sale for 99 cents each. This first-time offer is a fab opportunity to catch up on any of the stories you may have missed. Or binge read all four books for under $4. 🙂

​When a muckraking reporter gets her hands on a pair of vintage red heels first worn by a legendary Hollywood film actress, she opens up not only herself but her three BFFs to a host of Happily Ever After possibilities. The Cinderella fairy tale meets The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in this upbeat, contemporary series featuring four unlikely heroines…

Kindle

Nook

iBooks

Kobo

Google

Reading Tomorrow’s Destiny at Lady Jane’s Salon

Victorian Christmas Goodness!

This month, I read my Victorian Christmas novella, Tomorrow’s Destiny at Lady Jane’s Salon, the Manhattan, NYC reading series I co-founded back in ((gulp)) 2009. Like the Dickens’ classic from which it draws inspo, Tomorrow’s Destiny is a paranormal Christmas story. Only instead of ghosts, I have guardian angels. Guardian angels masquerading as the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future. One in particular, Fern, needs to score a h-u-g-e HEA for her human ASAP — or wait another hundred years for a shot at winning her wings. And in lieu of a mean-spirited, bent-back miser hoarding gold, I have my Scrooge-like heroine hoarding the best thing ever — books!

Yes, you read that right. My heroine, bookshop proprietress Fiona MacPherson, IS the Scrooge character. ‘Tis almost 2021, after all.

Watch my reading here on Youtube along with those of Salon guests Rose Lerner, Stacey Agdern, Harper Miller, Cara Bastone and Piper Huguley.

My intro and reading start at 38:10 minutes into the video.

You can get the Tomorrow’s Destiny novella as an ebook and audiobook, the latter voiced by my uber talented Salon co-founder, author Leanna Renee Hieber.

Scribd ebook
Scribd audiobook

This December’s Lady Jane’s Holiday Salon program is both deeply special and bittersweet. After twelve magical years as NYC’s first and only regular reading series devoted to romance fiction, we’re drawing the curtain on our beloved naughty red room at Madame X.

All our virtual Salon programs will continue to live online on Youtube and on the Lady Jane’s website. Please remember our wonderful house charity, Win (Women in Need, Inc.) in your end-of-year charitable giving.

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.

XO Hope

Free Christmas Novella

Now through 11/16, download my Christmas novella, A Cinderella Christmas Carol FREE across platforms. Get the ebook, part of my Suddenly Cinderella series of contemporary romances, and discover why bestselling author Jacquie D’Alessandro dubbed it “a delightful and heartwarming holiday treat.”

Here’s a bit about the story…

There’s nothing On Top managing editor Cynthia “Starr” Starling hates more than Christmas. With an important deadline looming, plus her dreaded Christmas Day birthday, Starr just wants the holiday to end. But when she wakes up Christmas Eve night to the ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future-all in the form of the super-hot Matt Landry, the new art director-she knows she’s in for a long night. Matt is the one person on Starr’s team she can’t boss around and the only one she doesn’t need to. He’s also her employee and totally off limits, even if he does seem interested. Though he’s seven years younger and all kinds of forbidden fruit, he’s the form the Powers That Be decided she’d be receptive to. Because they have a message for her: learn the true meaning of Christmas spirit or risk being alone for the rest of her life.

Get the FREE A Cinderella Christmas Carol ebook here:

Kindle

Nook

iBooks

Kobo

Google Play

Entangled

And be sure to check out my other holiday offerings, A Wonderfully Sexy Life, contemporary time-slip romance set in my birthplace of Bawlmer – Baltimore – Maryland and Tomorrow’s Destiny, a Neo Victorian – and feminist – take on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

It’s beginning to feel A LOT like Christmas…

xo Hope

If the Shoe Fits…

My Suddenly Cinderella series focused on four BFFs (Macie, Francesca, Stefanie and Starr) who find their romantic soulmates through sharing a pair of (possibly magical) vintage high heeled shoes first owned by a 1930’s Hollywood starlet has a fresh new look! If you haven’t yet, check out these fun, feel-good stories on Amazon, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Google and elsewhere e-books are sold.

Reader Praise:

Cindy F on Operation Cinderella:

I loved every character in this book. They were hysterical and so outrageous at times. Even little Samantha had me bursting out in laughter at times. Oh how trying some teenagers can be. 😉 There were also a lot of heart-warming moments throughout this story, that just melted my heart. After reading that intriguing epilogue, I can’t wait to read the next story.

Miranda Owen on The Cinderella Makeover:

The backdrop of this book is a reality TV show called Project Cinderella in which geeky contestants are made over by a “fairy godmother”. Before meeting up again through the TV show boy genius CEO Greg Knickerbocker & fashion guru Francesca St. James first meet when Francesca goes to get a photograph for a magazine feature on Greg. Things do not go well. Greg views Francesca as attractive but pushy and intrusive. Francesca feels Greg is arrogant and a jerk. Fast forward a bit and Francesca has a job as a “fairy godmother” on a reality show, coaching contestants to turn from geek to chic. Greg entered the contest because even though he has tons of money, he is lonely and looking for that special someone. After reading Greg’s first interaction with Francesca, I was very surprised that he would go on a show like that, especially for the reasons he has. It suggests a vulnerability and romantic side that was not apparent at first. Francesca reveals hidden depths as well after learning of her relationship with her daughter. I truly enjoyed reading about how Greg and Francesca’s opinion of each other changes the more they get to know each other and watching their relationship grow. I thought this romance was sweet, sexy & I liked the characters. This is the first book I’ve read by this author but I will try others.

Rosemary on The Cinderella Seduction:

Stefanie Stefanopoulos wants to help her father with his financial problems. She feels guilty. Her former fiancée swindled him out of $3 million dollars. Now how will he repay the money loaned to his company by Costas International. Nikolaos Costas has come to town to collect this debt. Stefanie’s stepsisters are always in the spotlight, but her father wants her to distract the CEO until he gets his fiancés in order. Now it is her turn to be Cinderella and enjoy this handsome man’s attention. After all she has magic shoes to help her capture the heart of this notorious playboy. Will she get the man of her dreams? Hope Tarr has written a very romantic love story filled with humor and happiness. Stefanie is a beautiful and honorable woman who just now realizes the power of love. Nikolaos is an Alpha male who just found his love child and has learned to love someone more than himself. This book makes me smile. It’s fast paced, funny and has a touch of magic. A perfect afternoon escape.

Melody May on A Cinderella Christmas Carol:

Cinderella Meets Scrooge.

A Cinderella Christmas Carol is without a doubt a fun twist on a Christmas Classic. Cynthia Starling (Starr) would definitely fit the part of Scrooge, yet she probably doesn’t see herself that way. With the help of a spirit guide who is in the image of Matt Landry, who is drool-worthy. Starr and “Matt” go on a merry adventure to see if Starr can have a change of heart…