E. M. Lilien, "At the Sewing Machine" (frontispiece from Morris Rosenfeld, Songs of Labor [Boston: Richard Badger, 1914]; image from the collection of the Tamiment-Wagner Labor Archives, New York University). This drawing connects workers' bodily decline and ethnicity with the oppression of the sweatshop. The frail worker is, based on his clothing, obviously Jewish. The half-bat, half-bloated capitalist behind the worker is either the boss or the embodiment of disease—or perhaps both. By depicting a straw from the vampire boss's mouth to the worker's body, Lilien seems to suggest that the sweated system sucks out workers' vitality and injects disease.

From Sweated work, weak bodies: anti-sweatshop campaigns and languages of labor by Daniel E. Bender

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  • American: General & Multiperiod
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  • Figure 3 E. M. Lilien, "At the Sewing Machine" (frontispiece from Morris Rosenfeld, Songs of Labor [Boston: Richard Badger, 1914]; image from the collection of the Tamiment-Wagner Labor Archives, New York University). This drawing connects workers' bodily decline and ethnicity with the oppression of the sweatshop. The frail worker is, based on his clothing, obviously Jewish. The half-bat, half-bloated capitalist behind the worker is either the boss or the embodiment of disease—or perhaps both. By depicting a straw from the vampire boss's mouth to the worker's body, Lilien seems to suggest that the sweated system sucks out workers' vitality and injects disease.