BACKGROUND

Who are the Mill Girls of Lowell?

In 1821, the Boston Associates purchased land and rights to the Pawtucket Canal located north of the city of Boston, Massachusetts. The Associates built several textile mills and enlarged the Canal for water power.  The first mills opened in 1823, and for the next 25 years more mills and a network of power canals were built.  By 1848, Lowell was the largest industrial center in America!  The mills produced 50,000 miles of cotton cloth each year. 

The Associates needed a large work force for the busy mills. They decided to run their mills using a work force of young women recruited from New England farms.  Lowell was known around the world for this innovative solution. 

Lowell "Mill Girls" were asked to work in the factories for a few years, then return to the farms or marry.  Mill girls filled the city of Lowell, living in boardinghouses managed by the corporations.  Mill life meant a hard day's work in which girls followed a strict schedule marked by the ringing of bells. Mill girls were expected to follow the company rules for curfew, church attendance and proper behavior.  View the Timetable of the Lowell Mills from 1853 and the Factory Rules of 1848 to see if you could keep up with the mill girls! (click your BACK button to return here)

The Early Industrial Revolution, Tsongas Industrial History Center

THE LOWELL OFFERING
Even after long work hours, the mill girls found the energy to write about their lives and aspirations. The women created their own literary magazine, the Lowell Offering, and filled it with their letters, stories, and essays.
You can submit a comment or an article to our ONLINE BLOG edition of the Lowell Offering.

MILL GIRLS WORD FIND
Print out the Word Find. Can you find the names of the men and women of Lowell?
The Word Find will open up in a new browser window, just close it to return here.

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