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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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JAMES FORESTER AND COMPANY. This firm, of which James FORESTER Sr., James Forester, Jr., and Chas. S. Robison were the individual members, was established in the 1880s. (1)

The factory was a 38x115 foot four-story building at 757 and 759 Iowa Street. Employing two hundred workers, the firm manufactured clothing, overalls, pants, shirts and jumpers, making ninety dozen pair of overalls and pants and fifty suits of clothing besides other goods, daily. The firm had a large trade extending throughout Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Dakota and Iowa. (2)

The second story of the establishment was used as a salesroom for the goods which were "put in shape" on the floor above. The company employed mostly women and girls. (3)

The company moved sometimes before 1878. In that year in the new location, the company had three lofts in which fifty "girls" made jumpers and overalls. Each of the girls furnished her own sewing machine and earned between $3 and $5 per week. (4)



1. The Industries of Dubuque: Her Relations as a Trade Center, Dubuque: J. M. Elster and Company, Publishers, 1887, p. 57

2. "James Forester & Co.," Dubuque Daily Herald, January 8, 1893, p. 8. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=_OG5zn83XeQC&dat=18930108&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

3. The Industries...

4. Ibid.

5. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, February 17, 1878, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18780217&printsec=frontpage&hl=en