November 13, 1909 was like any other day for the 480 men who went into the coal mine at Cherry, Illinois, to begin another day’s work.
The mine at Cherry was just a few years old, and it was considered the safest mine in America. However, within hours, a fire in the mine would take the lives of 259 men and boys. It would make widows of more than 100 women and orphans of 500 children.
Eight days after the fire, twenty men emerged in a miraculous tale of survival. The Cherry mine disaster remains the third worst coal mining disaster in United States history. But it brought about sweeping reform. It changed child labor laws in America and it resulted in the first workmen’s compensation laws.
This disaster was a bonanza for a number of local photographers, and the several hundred picture postcard views they produced provide a valuable visual account of this terrible event.
This book provides the most comprehensive collection of these photographs which document this American tragedy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Jim Ridings was born in Joliet, Illinois. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, with a minor in history. He was a reporter for The Daily Times in Ottawa and The Beacon-News in Aurora. He won more than a dozen awards for investigative reporting at both newspapers, from the Associated Press, United Press International, Copley Press, Illinois Press Association, Northern Illinois Newspaper Association, SDX Society of Professional Journalists and other organizations. Mr. Ridings was presented a Studs Terkel Humanities Service bronze medal from the Illinois Humanities Council in 2006. He was instrumental in getting a state historical marker erected at the site of the former coal mining town of Cardiff, Illinois. Mr. Ridings is the author of twenty-eight books of Illinois history, including Small Justice; Len Small, Governors and Gangsters; Cardiff: Ghost Town on the Prairie; Wild Kankakee; County West: A Sesquicentennial History of Western Kankakee County; The Illustrated History of the Cherry Mine Disaster of 1909; and The Society of the Living Dead: The Illustrated History of the Radium Dial Scandal of Ottawa. Several of his books have won awards from the Illinois State Historical Society.
PUBLISHER: America Through Time
DIMENSIONS: 6.5 (w) x 9.25 (h)