The World of Work: History of Work in Minnesota


Evolving expectations and threats to those involved in the world-of-work have fostered tension and conflict throughout our history.

Transitions from times of scarcity to plenty, and back to scarcity, had many triggering factors. Climatic influences were always present. Competition for space and resources was intensified by growth and development.

Transportation and communication improvements strengthened the bonds of interdependence at local, state and national levels. Conditions and events in distant locations had a growing impact on local conditions. Wars and rumors of wars influenced the tides of scarcity and abundance. As the nature of “work” evolved from its pioneering status, it became obvious that the quality of life for “laborers” was tied to interaction and cooperation.

Good Times and Bad Times


Wrapping bacon

Wrapping bacon, Swift and Company, South St. Paul, 1937

Minnesota Historical Society


Linemen, 1955

Minnesota Historical Society


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