The Lowell Mill Girls: Truly Striking Women

Reaction in Women's Place

Because women were generally expected to stay and work in the home, it was difficult for many of them to work in a new setting. The women created a community within the mills, which functioned like a family.

Strict time table mill girls had to follow

Many country girls left homes and families to work at the mills

·          Most women who worked at mills resided in boardinghouses. Boardinghouses brought the women together and created a family-like atmosphere.

·           Mill girls had strict rules like eating at certain times, curfews, and church every sunday. Strict rules gave them something in common.

Community of women at a boardinghouse
·          The women also had very similar jobs, which gave them another thing in common."Their experiences were not simply similar or parallel to one another, but were inextricable intertwined." (Dublin)· Because of these things, the mill girls created community which acted like a stand-in family for many women who had family and home. Community gave women support and comfort that family did.

·          According to Jennifer Golboy, "…mill girls seem to have been unusually independent from their families compared to other women in manufacturing. One sign of their freedom is their distance from their families." 

·          In letter from Lucy Larcom to Jen Ingelow, Larcom wrote "I think a woman's life in necessarily lonely, if unsettled: the home-instinct lies so deep in us."

Mill women had such deep connection with role of working at home and in family that it was hard for them to leave for mills. Community created at Lowell mills helped women feel comfortable and safe.

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