Signed in pen and brown ink at lower right, "Cadmus"; inscribed in graphite below image at lower left, "Herrin Massacre #2 / Originally delivered to Midtown 4/6/43 / returned to PC for reframing 30/VI/58".
This is one of a group of studies for a 1940 painting depicting the Herrin Massacre, also known as the Lester Strip Mine Massacre, of 1922. A contract dispute in the town of Herrin, Illinois erupted into a violent confrontation in which twenty-three men, most of them company-hired strikebreakers, were killed by union members. Cadmus visited the site in 1939. Rather than locate the scene near the coal mine, he chose to set it in a cemetery. Although the painting was part of a commission from Life magazine to illustrate significant events, it was never published.