A Brief History of Labor Day

The very first United States Labor Day celebration was held on September 5, 1882 in New York City and was organized by the New York Central Labor Union. (1) While there is some debate over who is the official founder of the holiday are two men generally credited with the establishment of this holiday, Peter McGuire and Matthew Maguire. (2)  The holiday slowly grew in recognition and was locally celebrated by a number of states over the proceeding decade until if became a federally recognized holiday in 1894. (3) In many ways we still celebrate the holiday as it was founded with time off from work to celebrate our dedication to our industrious nature with parades, picnics, and good people.

Labor Day has become a modern day signal for back to school, the end of the BBQ season, and end of summer savings. However, in the midst of all this activity we tend to overlook the initial intent of the holiday, to honor the American worker.



(1) http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/today/sep05.html

(2) http://www.dol.gov/laborday/history-maguire.htm

(3) http://www.dol.gov/laborday/history-elevator.htm