The Lowell Mill Girls: Truly Striking Women

Annotated Bibliography 

Primary Sources:
Addison, Daniel D. Lucy Larcom: Life, Letters, and Diary. Cambridge: Riverside, 1894. Print.

             A collection of letters and poems by one of the most famous mill girls ever, Lucy Larcom. Larcom 

             discusses, in letters to her friends back home, how lonely the mills can be, but also how great living
             in the mill community can be. Her poems express how she misses home and how sad it was when  
             someone from the mill community left to go back home or died. Her letters and poems helped me to
            understand how the mill girls felt about the community in which they lived and worked.   
Eisler, Benita. The Lowell Offering. 1977. Print.

            A collection of writing by Lowell mill women between 1840 and 1845. Writings by Harriet  

            Robinson, Sarah Bagley, and other mill girls and "Lowell Offering" writers provide insight into the
            minds of the mill girls. They comment on their work, strikes, and life in general. Many articles from
            the mill girls' famous newspaper, the "Lowell Offering", are provided to give the reader sample of
            how educated the mill women were and how well they could write.

Hibbard, Deborah J. Letter to Miss Sarah H. Hibbard. 8 Oct. 1845. MS. American Textile 
            History Museum, Lowell, Massachusetts.

            Deborah J. Hibbard wrote this letter in 1845 to her sister Sarah. She expresses her feelings about the

            low wages the women are earning and how the women are being treated. Ms. Hibbard shares her
            desires to go home, but also desires to stay at the mills and make money. She seems to not know what
            she wants the money for; just that she wants the money. This leads me to believe that most of the
            women who worked in the mills did not really need the money they made; they just liked to know
            that they were capable of making money. 

Robinson, Harriet H. Loom and Spindle: Life Among the Early Mill Girls. Kailua: Press Pacifica, 1976. Print.

            A first-hand account of life in the early years of the Lowell mills. Harriet H. Robinson went to work
            in the mills in 1835, at the age of ten. She gives great insight into how the mills gave some amount
            freedom to women who were oppressed by men. Her perspectives on the Industrial Revolution
            helped me understand what the women of those days thought of their work and living conditions. Her
            feelings about the mill community made me think that it would be a pleasant place to live an work.   
Secondary Sources:
Brezina, Corona. The Industrial Revolution in America: A Primary Source History of America's 
            Transformation into an Industrial Society. New York City: Rosen Group, 2005. Print.

            A broad context source with a few pages on the Lowell mill girls. It discusses the recreational and

            educational opportunities offered to the women who worked at the mills. It also outlines their strict
            work schedule, consisting of working eleven or more hours each day. It also discusses the general
            ages of the women and what their lives were most likely like before they went to work at the mills. 

Dublin, Thomas. "Women, Work, and Protest in the Early Lowell Mills: "The Oppressing Hand of Avarice
           Would Enslave Us"" The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention &
            Innovation. Web. 25 Apr. 2010. 

            Thomas Dublin’s scholarly journal article gives a great deal of information on how the community

            spirit of the Lowell mill girls led them to participate in many strikes and protests. It also outlines the
            values that the mill girls found important, such as independence, self-respect, and collectivism. Dublin
            effectively explains why women felt that they deserved to be equal to men and deserved more rights
            as workers and as women. The mill girls felt empowered by their freedom and independence.

Goloboy, Jennifer L., ed. Inustrial Revolution: People and Perspectives. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2008. 

            A secondary source which includes notes written by historians Thomas Dublin and Benita Eisler.

            This book has one chapter about the mill girls and discusses the unprecedented freedom that they
            obtained. It is suggested that one aspect of their freedom is that they are far away from their families,
            which gives them a large degree of independence. This source also discusses the separate spheres of
            men and women, and how the women who worked in the mills went against the description of the
            women's sphere.    
Josephson, Hannah. The Golden Threads: New England's Mill Girls and Magnates. Russel & Russel, 1967.

            Hannah Josephson presents many good perspectives on the Lowell mills and the Lowell mill girls.
            This secondary-source includes lots of information on the education of the mill girls and of the
            downfall of thee mill girls. It discusses how Irish people and other European immigrants took the
            spots of the mill girls in the Lowell mills. It helped me understand that when the mill girls were
            working in Lowell, many people saw the town as a good role model and a great working town. This
            book describes Lowell as having "the eyes of the world…upon it."   
Rivard, Paul E. A New Order of Things: How the Textile Industry Transformed New England. Hanover: 
            University of New England, 2002. Print. 

            A broad context source which contains information on how the textile industry and the introduction

            of mills changed New England. Two chapters of the book specifically discuss the female workforce
            in mills. The mills granted a large amount of economic and social freedom for women. This
            newfound freedom affected not only women, but society in general. The education of the mill girls
            made them feel empowered and that they should have the same rights as and be equal to men.    

Stein, Leon, and Annette K. Baxter, eds. Women in America: From Colonial Times to the 20th Century.
            1974. Print.

            Women who went to work in the mills had many more opportunities for education than women who

            worked in the home. For women to be able to get any education was a new idea for American
            society. The mills girls did not get much formal education, but had enough extra time after working
            hours to read and study. Some women and girls even created small groups to study and read in. The
            fact that these women were able to get an education was truly a revolution.              

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