Once again, I’m turning to you for help with the next novel. An Unremembered Life (yes, new working title) is the story of Annie Clements, who was once known around the world as America’s Joan of Arc. This extraordinary 25-year-old woman was a pivotal figure in the labor movement of the Progressive Age. In 1913, she led a strike that shut down 20 copper mines for nearly a year in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Obviously, there are few (if any) people who remember those days directly, but I’m hoping some of you have family memories of strikes that have been passed down. The strikes don’t need to be as early as 1913, nor do they have to be about striking miners. They could also be about storekeepers in towns where a strike is ongoing, for example.

Because the novel is about a strike at a copper company where there were only two women employed (as office workers), I’m particularly interested in the experience of the wives and children of strikers because so little has been written about them.

How were food and clothing collected and shared? What kind of meals women managed to put on the table, what sort of support they got from other unions, etc. Did the children continue to go to school in company towns? How were they affected?

I’m also interested in family anecdotes that demonstrate the strikers’ reaction to prolonged idleness, tension over how long the strike would go on. You can answer here, in the comments, or email me at