Reher Center Map Clue #2

Shirt Factory Workers
Credit: F. Jacobsons and Sons Factory, ca 1916. Courtesy Friends of Historic Kingston

In 1916, F. Jacobson’s and Sons opened a new factory at the corner of Cornell Street and Smith Avenue, and employed 200 workers. The factory employed 185 sewing machine operators, which were mostly low-paid girls and women. The Daily Freeman described how the factory’s opening also created forty “remunerative” job opportunities for men, and workers and their families were relocating from New York City to take factory jobs here. Shirts sewn in Kingston were then shipped back to the company’s New York office, where they where sold around the country.

Jacobson and Sons closed in the mid 1960s. In the 1990s, Romain Luksberg, a Holocaust survivor, established another garment business in the building, Romain Handbags Company. At its height, the business employed 70 workers, most of whom were Italian, Puerto Rican and Mexican.

In 2002, a developer converted the building into artist housing and studios, including several textile manufacturers. This remains its function.

Learn more stories of the former tenants of the Shirt Factory at Sewing in Kingston, an exhibition, catalogue and public program series opening at the Reher Center Gallery in March, 2021.