Monday, Sep. 05, 2011

No One Really Knows Who Invented It

The founding father of Labor Day is tangled in a web of union figureheads and, well, spelling. As the legend goes, young carpenter Peter McGuire stood before the New York Central Labor Union in May 1882 proclaiming his plan to honor all workers with a parade through the city. But another union worker, the similarly named machinist Matthew Maguire, is also credited with proposing a day off for laborers. A New Jersey newspaper published an opinion article touting Maguire as the Father of Labor Day, but only after the day became a national holiday in 1894. It's thought that Maguire, a onetime secretary of the New York Central Labor Union, held political views that were too strong to be associated with hatching the day, so the day was credited to McGuire instead.