Ellsworth Lectures

The Annual Ellsworth Lecture is funded by the Robert A. Ellsworth Trust and brings visiting scholars to campus to speak publicly about their work.

29th Annual Ellsworth Lecture

A Vermont marble worker (photo credit: Vermont Marble Museum)





Scott McDowell
Labor, Law and Power:
The Vermont Marble Workers' Strike of 1935-1936
Wednesday, March 20, 7 p.m.

Stearns Performance Space

This year's Ellsworth Lecture by Scott McDowell, a Vermont historian and 2010 graduate of Johnson State, examines the 1935-36 labor strike by Rutland area marble workers against Vermont Marble Company.

A 2012 graduate of the University of Vermont with an M.A. in history, McDowell will focus primarily on the role that Vermont labor laws played during the eight-month strike, and how entanglements between the company and the state influenced the course of the strike.

McDowell researched the strike for his master’s thesis. In his thesis, he explores how the strike occurred within the context of the New Deal era when a change in the federal government’s attitude toward labor resulted in the development of legislation sanctioning the existence of unions and providing them with various legal protections. However, he explains, business-political-social power dynamics prevented laws at both the federal and state level from having meaningful significance in practice and ultimately thwarted the collective efforts of the striking workers at Vermont Marble.