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Inside, the noise was higher-pitched, a relentless squeak, clatter, and whirr from the belt-and-shaft system that transmitted water power to the machinery. Those near the windows could look through the twilight at the factory yard, with its two lower buildings running out at right angles from the ends of lookihg main plant. Next to the yard lay the canal which carried the waters of the Merrimack River to the giant water wheels, and beyond that was a row of frame boardinghouses for the employees. But not that night. Suddenly there was a sharp rattle, and then a prolonged, deafening crash.

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With Lowell booming and growing, there would always be a job when she returned to the factory. From to aboutit seemed to show that the fond aldy of those who planned a rotating and virtuous labor force might be realized. National Historical Park Massachusetts To find workers for their mills in early Lowell, the Massachusette corporations recruited women from New England farms and The majority of mill girls in Lowell lived in boardinghouses.

About american heritage

A supply was thus obtained of respectable girls: and these, from pride of character as well as principle, have taken especial Lowwell to exclude all others. During the Civil Warmany of Lowell's cotton mills closed, unable to acquire bales of raw cotton from the South. They organized the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association to press for reducing the workday to 10 hours.

In addition, they began to increase the of frames and looms each girl had to watch, and then to overcrowd the boardinghouses, asing as many as eight to a room. But the owners were not concerned with the problem of replacements. Two new mills went up inanother inthree more instill another in The houses had kitchens attached in the back, dining rooms and parlors on the ground floor, and bedrooms in which two or four girls roomed together. The difference between Lawrence and Lowell, the towns, was something loking the difference between Lawrence and Lowell, the men.

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Get Updates. She could grow fruits and vegetables, and put them into pies and preserves of breathtaking quality. Nor was the factory work unremittingly taxing. Tons of machinery crashed down through crumpling floors, dragging trapped, screaming victims along in their downward path. That appealed to them even more than striking, which had Massacnusetts unladylike and un-Christian character about it, hardly becoming to the virtuous daughters of independent yeomen.

For the girls who had come on the scene early, of course, there was the option of going home.

The new arrivals would gaze wide-eyed and white-faced at the huge buildings, the crowds, and the rushing canal. In the first of these, subtitled "Factory Life As It Is", the author proclaims "that our rights cannot be trampled upon with impunity; that we WILL not longer submit to that arbitrary power which has for the last ten years been so abundantly exercised over us.

Women's labor

Those men had nursed lordly dreams of progress and profit through the machine, and some of their visions of growth and gain and uplift had been realized. And after a time, as the wages became more and more reduced, the best portion of the girls left and went to their homes, or to the other employments that were fast opening to women, until there were very few of the old guard left; and thus the status of the factory population of New England gradually became what we know it to be to-day.

The Lowell Mill Girls Go on Strike, A group of Boston capitalists built a major textile manufacturing center Lkwell Lowell, Massachusetts, in the second As I looked back at the long line that followed me, I was more proud than I have Massaachusetts. Bythe leaders of the Boston Manufacturing Company were looking for new worlds to conquer, hunting for a site for a new factory, to turn Mxssachusetts printed calicoes.

Culture and reform in the early nineteenth century

The Merrimack factory was up in December of Yet it was an incredible production to emerge from a factory working force. A few girls who came with their mothers or older sisters were as young as ten years old, some were middle-aged, but the average age was about The truth was that as early asin the face of growing competition, they began to cut costs at the expense of the workers.

In the shorter months, breakfast was served before daylight, and the working day was finished under lamps. A bank appeared, then another, then a hotel, a library, two schoolhouses, and Episcopalian, Baptist, Congregational, Universalist, and Unitarian churches. When her widowed mother moved to Lowell to run one of the boardinghouses, Lucy, aged eleven, was prepared for hard work and for leisure rigorously spent in self-improvement. They were usually two or three story frame buildings, standing in neat rows separated from the factory by squares of greenery.

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In the evenings, many enrolled in courses offered by the mills and attended public lectures at the Lyceum, a theatre built at company expense offering 25 lectures per season for 25 cents. At a few minutes after five, the factory was a heap of twisted iron, splintered beams, pulverized bricks, and agonized, imprisoned human flesh. As the magazine grew in popularity, women contributed poems, ball, essays, and fiction — often using their characters to report on conditions and situations in their lives.

A factory-girl was no longer condemned to pursue that vocation for her Iife: she would retire, in her turn, to assume the higher and more appropriate responsibilities of her sex; and it soon came to be considered that a few years in a mill was an honorable mode of securing a dower.

Proud and independent, the farm girls of New England helped build an industrial Dusk fell over the city of Lawrence, Massachusetts, a few minutes before five Those near the windows could look through the twilight at the factory yard, with. Lippincott, In the short term, not much. Capital, markets, and skilled labor—all necessary to a manufacturing economy—were scarce in an undeveloped America, which still found adequate rewards for its work in the soil, the ocean, and the forest.

But the difference between a Boston attorney with a few shares of Suffolk Manufacturing Company in his safe, and Bridget Doyle at her spinning frame, was more than one of money. In she published Loom and Spindle, a memoir of her Lowell experiences, where she recounted the strike of The houses were often run by Massachusegts who kept a close eye on the workers and made church attendance mandatory for all of the girls. Thus it happened, that if a woman did not choose to marry, or, when left a widow, to re-marry, she had no choice but to enter one Massachhsetts the few employments open to her, or to become Loowell burden on the charity of some relative In her autobiography, Harriet Hanson Robinson who worked in the Lowell mills from — suggests that "It was to overcome this prejudice that such high wages had been offered to women that they might be induced to become mill girls, in spite of the opprobrium that still clung to this degrading occupation.

A showdown came and the bosses won.

Lowell mill girls

In a careful Scot, James Montgomery, made a study of the comparative costs of cotton manufacture in Great Britain and the United States. But this masked the bitter opposition of many workers to the 12—14 hours of exhausting, monotonous work, which they saw was corrosive to their desire to learn. Mut what of labor?

They didn't stop there.

In a circulating current! Oxford University Press, To talk of wage slavery to such women was futile; to them the factory gates had opened the way to independence. He did not need to; even byhis kind of textile factory, mass-producing cheap, utilitarian goods, had won a clear decision over the dying system of decentralized craft production.

Breadcrumb

So it was that in something more than a single defectively built factory lay in ruins in Lawrence. The companies did not restore the cuts—then or later. When Lucy Larcom grew up, she chose to work there. Brick walls had not been sufficiently reinforced against the outward thrust of those overburdened doors.