Order of the Knights of St Crispin
The Order of the Knights of St Crispin was an American labor union of
shoeworkers in the Northeast. Founded in 1867 it claimed 50,000 members by 1870,
by far the largest union in the country. But it was poorly organized and soon
declined. They fought encroachments of machinery and unskilled labor on autonomy
of skilled shoeworkers. One provision in the Crispin constitution explicitly
sought to limit the entry of "green hands" into the trade. But that
failed because the new machines could be operated by semi-skilled workers and
produce more shoes than hand sewing.
The crisis of 1873 brought its decline, and internal dissension within a few years led to its extinction.
A separate branch composed of women was called the Daughters of St. Crispin.