... I was fortunate enough to get to spend some time at the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University, a library I knew so far primarily for being the digital archive I kept landing on in searches, over and over, in the course of my book research.
The Reuther holds a massive labor archive—and though I didn't set out to write A Woman Is Against the Law as a book about women's labor organizing (arguably, to write another book on women's labor organizing). The myriad ways that women are criminalized, however, absolutely includes the police and state repression of strikes and other labor actions led by women, and long has.
That labor organizing has also brought together and fueled networks of feminists, like Mary Heaton Vorse, whose long friendship with Elizabeth Gurley Flynn began when Mary met Elizabeth while covering the Bread and Roses strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912.
In Detroit, at the Reuther, I got to hold a letter that Elizabeth wrote to Mary, after reading Mary's then-just published book about that time and their time in it.
One new thing I did pick up since the last book, when I didn't get to spend time in archives and libraries myself: I asked every library worker at the Reuther over those days to give me their name so that I can thank them in the book.
(I would right now, but I don't trust myself to locate all of those scraps of paper, I'm sorry, every spare thought right now is currently fighting for attention in a truly wild Scrivener file in which every day the draft catches up more and more with the research...)
More on Vorse and on libraries in a bit, including my own, the New York Public Library system—and I cannot believe this number, but the city wants deprive NYPL of more than $30 million through funding cuts, seemingly so that the city can pay for more (what else) cop overtime than they already do. In particular, I have more to say about the incredible research programs for writers at NYPL, that have been running there for decades and which I had no idea about until I came across mention of where Susan Brownmiller wrote (and smoked, and in stocking feet) Against Our Will.
p.s. One more thing about the Reuther that I didn't get to see on this visit though one of the archivists really wanted to show it to me: what sounds like a kind of rough wooden club, fashioned from part of a loom by a mill worker at Lawrence. (Save everything, organizers.)