Browse Primary Sources
". . .But not all of the changes in the industry have bettered workers' lives. With increased automation - including, in some plants, the use of robotics and lasers - many jobs have become 'deskilled,' according to Donald Stull, a meatpacking expert at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Workers who once followed individual cattles through the plant, performing many of the skills of a butcher, 'now stand in the same spot, making the same cut thousands of times a day,' he says. This also heightened the risk of cumulative trauma, which contributes to meatpackin'g ranking as the most dangerous industry in America. . ."
Wall Street Journal 1994-12-01
"As previously announced, the second chapter of "The Jungle" will be printed next week—No. 484—thus giving an interval of two weeks between the publication of the first chapter and the second. This was done in order that the names of the new subscribers could be put on the mailing list in time to receive the second chapter. This putting on of new names is a big job—especially true at this time when the new names are beginning to roll into the office in a flood. . . ."
Appeal to Reason 1905-03-04
"It will set forth the breaking of human hearts in a system which exploits the labor of men and women for profits. It will shake the popular heart and blow the top off of the industrial tea-kettle. What Socialism there will be in this book, will, of course, be imminent; it will be revealed by incidents--there will be no sermons. The novel will not have any superficial resemblance to 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.' Fundamentally it will be identical with it—or try to be. It will show the 'system working.' It will show Graft in its thousand forms at work slaughtering women and children. Its themes will be the everyday ones of bread and butter; it will have incidents and adventures—a life and death struggle, and a heart-breaking tragedy—the tragedy of life. . . ."
Appeal to Reason 1905-02-11
Introductory Essay to The Lost First Edition of Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" - Gene DeGruson - Peachtree Press
"In the summer of 1980 a young man brought to Pittsburg StateUniversity a small truckload of rotting, mildewed paper. He had been hired, he explained, to clean out a cellar of a nearby Girard, Kansas, farm. Upon seeing the name of Upton Sinclair on several pieces of correspondence, he decided that perhaps the material should go to the local university's library rather than to the county dump. Too fragile to handle, the papers were covered with brightly colored mold, dyed purple by typewriter ribbon and red and green by inks used to write and print the documents. The fetid mass eventually proved to be over a thousand business records, inner office memos, and correspondence of the Appeal to Reason, once the nation's leading Socialist newspaper. Six months of drying were followed by weeks of careful brushing. More than a year was to pass before the most delicate items were deacidified and mounted on rag paper. Then began the organization of the papers. Pages of letters had become separated, and, in the sorting and drying process, many pieces no larger than a dime were stored to await their place in what came to be regarded as a gigantic jigsaw puzzle. Throughout the long and tedious period of reconstruction, however, there was no question that the time and expense would be warranted. . . "
"They were over a hundred dollars in debt, and all things not yet counted. It was a bitter and cruel experience, and it left them plunged in an agony of despair. Such a time of all times for them to have it, when their hearts were made tender! Such a pitiful beginning it was for their married life; they loved each other so, and they could not have the briefest respite!"
Appeal to Reason 1905-04-15
"The details came gradually. In the first place as to the house they had bought, it was not new at all, as they had supposed; it was about fifteen years old, and there was nothing new upon it but the paint, which was so bad that it needed to be put on new every year or two. The house was one of a whole row that was built by a company which existed to make money by swindling poor people."
Appeal to Reason 1905-04-08
"Marija was too eager to see that others conformed to the proprieties to consider them herself. She had left the church last of all, and, desiring to arrive first at the hall, had issued orders to the coachman to drive faster. When that personage had developed a will of his own in the matter, Marija had flung up the window of the carriage, and, leaning out, proceeded to tell him her opinion of him, first in Lithuanian, which he did not understand, and then in Polish, which he did."
Appeal to Reason 1905-02-25
The publication of Upton Sinclair's 1906 novel The Jungle produced an immediate and powerful effect on Americans and on federal policy, but Sinclair had hoped to achieve a very different result. At the time he began working on the novel, he had completed his studies at Columbia University and was trying to develop a career as an author. He had been born in Baltimore in 1878, but his family had moved to the Bronx in 1888. Though he came from a prominent family, his own parents had little money, and he paid for his university studies by writing dime novels and short stories. While at Columbia, he also became a convert to socialism.
History Now 2008-06-01
The Jungle is worthy of a place by the side of Frank Norris' greatest work, The Odojna. These two works have more of historic truth than many histories and they are marked by that high order of genius that compels the reader to see and feel all that man can see and feel under tragic conditions similar to those described. They are, we think, the greatest realistic romances that America has given to the world. There are many realistic writers, but for the most part they succeed only in reproducing the details of common, every-day life without revealing the soul of the picture they would portray. They are superficial observers and write superficially. They are imitators and theft works are dull and unprofitable. But let the man of transcendentimagination describe a scene and we see and feel what he sees and feels. We pass behind the mask or the superficial aspects and see the interior workings of life. The soul of the picture is revealed. He sees all that is to be seen; he feels what the actors in the scene feel; he shares the boundless hopes, the lofty aspirations, the nameless fear and the measureless despair of those that move to and fro in the play. When he depicts a section of life he becomes in the highest sense the historian of what he describes. It is this element of imagination that differentiates the genius from the hack writer; the poet from the versifier. It is this element of imagination also that invests a great painting with life, atmosphere, soul, that the camera can never catch, hold or reflect.
The Arena 1906-06-01
The Jungle was rejected by a half-dozen publishers, including Macmillan (“Gloom and horror unrelieved,” noted one of Brett’s readers. “As to the possibilities of a large sale, I should think them not very good.”), before Doubleday, Page & Company agreed to publish it. The book came out 100 years ago, in February 1906, when Sinclair was 27, and it achieved immediate and astonishing international success. According to the New York Evening World, “Not since Byron awoke one morning to find himself famous has there been such an example of worldwide celebrity won in a day by a book as has come to Upton Sinclair.”
Mother Jones 2006-01-01
The charges made by Mr. Upton Sinclair against the beef packers methods, put into his novel, but vouched by him to be true, have been examined by two most admirable men selected by the President, and to the surprise of many people the muck rake is vindicated.
The Independent 1906-05-31
"The question is," says The Independent reviewer, "how seriously shall we take this story of life in the packing house district of Chicago?" That seems to be the question with a great many people. For the past year, ever since the story began appearing serially, I have been receiving half a dozen letters a day asking it; so that if a public answer serves no other purpose, it will at least help to lighten the burden of my mail.
The Independent 1906-05-17