National Archives at Philadelphia

The Workers

Refer to Caption Courtesy of the Library of Congress Learn more
Refer to Caption Courtesy of the National Archives at Philadelphia Learn more

Overwhelmingly, the women and men who worked at the arsenal claimed an Irish-Catholic heritage. Most lived in Lawrenceville. Census records show that the daughters, sisters, and wives of the immigrant families performed dangerous munitions work at the arsenal to earn desperately needed income. Most relied on community members such as physicians and clergyman to provide character references before they could begin work. Employment at the arsenal enticed young girls, widows, mothers, and wives who struggled to make ends meet with husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons off to war.

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