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Joseph Wilson

Birthplace: Russia (Russian Federation)
Death: March 25, 1911 (16-25)
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, New York, New York, New York, United States (Victim of Triangle Shirtwaist Fire)
Place of Burial: New York, Richmond, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Fiancé of Rose Blitzstein

Occupation: garment worker
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Joseph Wilson

Found after the fire by fiance. They were to have been wed in June.

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Joseph Wilson's Timeline

March 25, 1911
Age 21
New York, New York, New York, United States

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, 1911
List of Victims

WILSON, Joseph, 21, asphyxiation/burns. 528 Green St., Philadelphia. Identified by his fiancée, Rosie Solomon. Multiple newspapers, March 27.


Artist Elizabeth Wilson recalls her father telling her, "Grandpop's brother Joseph died in the fire."

The 100th anniversary is a chance to learn about her uncle, Joseph Wilson, and his fianc?, Rosie Solomon, who identified Joseph by his pocket watch.

"She asked the attendant about the pocket watch, they opened it up, and there was her picture, staring," Elizabeth said. "I kind of just felt this heaviness like, oh ...'Cause you realize the pain."


artist Elizabeth Wilson noticed the name “Josie” and pointed it out. “I just happened to see it during the commemoration,” she said.

Wilson has been researching her family’s Triangle story since she learned that an ancestor, Joseph Wilson, died at age 22 in the fire. As the flames rose, he escaped from the Triangle Waist Company factory in Greenwich Village, but returned to retrieve his pocket watch, a special memento his father had given him. His fiancée, Rosie Solomon, was taken to a temporary morgue to identify the corpse. She recognized his remains in Box 34, only because of the pocket watch. When she opened the watch, she found her picture inside. A century later, Wilson connected with Solomon’s descendant.

Many of those invited to the luncheon had first been in touch with historian Michael Hirsch, who co-produced an HBO documentary about the fire, based largely on his research that identified the final six unidentified fire victims. So he invited 200 families of descendants of Triangle victims and key players in the world of 1911 unions to lunch following the 100th-anniversary commemoration.

Wilson was among the family members who were grateful for Hirsch’s painstaking research. “I’ve been trying to find all this information, and with Michael’s work, all the pieces are coming together,” she said.

Read more:


ELIZABETH WILSON: My name's Elizabeth Wilson and my grandfather's brother was Joseph Wilson and he died in the Triangle fire. He ran out of the building and ran back in because he forgot his father's gold pocket watch.

This was a prized object from Russia and probably the most valuable possession that the family had because they were really an extremely poor family. But he ran back in to get it and he never made it out.

He was engaged to be married to Rosie Solomon and she was a young woman, about 18 years old. She had planned to meet Joseph that night and he never arrived and she knew about the fire, everybody knew about the fire.

The next day which was Sunday she was in line early in the morning along the hundreds of other people waiting to view the bodies. And she finally got in, late afternoon and she came to box 34.

She recognized a ring and she asked the attendant if there would have been a pocket watch and they produced the pocket watch and they opened it up and her picture was inside. At that point, she just became hysterical and collapsed and had to be carried out.

Age 21
New York, Richmond, New York, United States

Birth: 1890
Death: Mar. 25, 1911
Greenwich Village
New York County
New York, USA

Victim of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. The company made women's blouses, known as "waists" or "shirtwaists", and it's workers were mostly recent immigrant German, Italian and European Jewish girls, some as young as 13 years old, although older women, men and young boys were also represented. Their working conditions were far from safe. They worked 14 hour shifts among heaps of flammable bolts of fabric, scraps of which piled up in bins, baskets and on the floor around them; tissue paper patterns hung from racks above their worktables. The workrooms were lit by open flame gas lamps and the cutters, mostly men, were allowed to smoke as they worked. Brought on by a New York garment workers strike in 1910, many had joined the fledgling International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. At the conclusion of the strike, most companies had signed agreements with the union improving working conditions. The Triangle Company, however, refused to sign and was under no obligation to abide by established safety rules.

On March 25, 1911, around 4:30pm, fire broke out on the 8th floor. Most on that floor and the executives on the 10th floor were able to escape, but workers on the 9th floor, who had not been alerted to the fire, found themselves trapped. Of the four 9th floor exits, the elevators made as many trips as they could but were commandeered by 8th floor workers and then stopped working altogether, one stairwell door was soon blocked by fire and smoke, the other stairwell door had been locked (although denied by the owners in their subsequent trial, it was common practice to lock factory workers in to prevent them from stealing) and the only fire escape collapsed under the weight of the escaping workers. Many died from being overcome by the smoke and flames quickly filling the building, some leapt down the elevator shafts, but 62 workers realized there was no other means of escape and jumped from the windows to the pavement 9 stories below. Or worse, they were pushed toward the open windows by the panicked crowd and had no choice. The fire department responded quickly, but their hoses' spray could not reach the top floors and ladders of the time were unable to reach above the 6th floor. By the time the fire was extinguished, 141 people had lost their lives. In the next few days, 5 more would die from their injuries.

The public outrage following the tragedy and subsequent acquittal of the company's owners paved the way for a flood of legislation to improve factory safety and hastened the growth and clout of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. A bystander who witnessed the workers jumping from the windows was inspired to a life of public service fighting for the rights of factory workers; Frances Perkins went on to become the first woman appointed to a Presidential Cabinet position as Franklin Roosevelt's Secretary of Labor. The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire was the most deadly workplace disaster in New York City until the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001.

Note: 21 years old. Victim of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

Baron Hirsch Cemetery
Staten Island
Richmond County
New York, USA