Lowell Mill Girls

Maryland State Archives
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Annapolis, MD 21401

Phone: (410) 260-6400
Internet: mdsa.net
e-mail: archives@mdsa.net

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 4: Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)

Standard 2: How the industrial revolution, increasing immigration, the rapid expansion of slavery, and the westward movement changed the lives of Americans and led toward regional tensions 

Standard 2A: The student understands how the factory system and the transportation and market revolutions shaped regional patterns of economic development

5-12: Analyze how the factory system affected gender roles and changed the lives of men, women, and children. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships] 

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: Time Table of the Lowell Mills
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: October 21, 1851
    REPOSITORY: Courtesy of Baker Library, Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University

  2. DESCRIPTION: The Lowell Offering: A Letter From Miss Martineau
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 28, 1844 in The Living Age... (Volume 2, Issue 20, pp. 502-503)
    SOURCE: The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals
    REPOSITORY: Cornell University

  3. DESCRIPTION: Among Lowell Mill Girls: A Reminiscence. 
    AUTHOR: Lucy Larcom
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: November 1881 in The Atlantic Monthly,  Volume 48, Issue 289
    SOURCE: The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals
    REPOSITORY: Cornell University

  4. DESCRIPTION: Massachusetts in the woman suffrage movement. A general, political, legal and legislative history from 1774, to 1881.
    AUTHOR: Robinson, Harriet Jane Hanson
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: Boston, Roberts Brothers, 1883
    NOTES: Harriet Hanson was a Lowell mill operative in the 1830s and 1840s when she wrote "Loom and Spindle." In 1848, she married William Stevens Robinson, editor of the "Lowell Courier." After the Civil War both Harriet and her husband became steadfast supporters of woman suffrage. This book by Robinson deals with the woman suffrage campaign in Massachusetts from 1774 to 1881. The writing is rather dry, but it includes a very good 88-page appendix containing a detailed description of the Lowell Mill; accounts of various attempts by women to gain limited access to voting rights; and statistical information on women's employment
    SOURCE: Votes for Women: Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848-1921
    REPOSITORY: National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection (Library of Congress)

Additional Media Resources

Center for Lowell History

Uses of Liberty Rhetoric Among Lowell Mill Girls 

Lowell National Historical Park

The Mill Girls

Additional Instructional Resources 

Methods of Reform: The Lowell Mill Girls. From the UMBC Center for History Education, Teaching American History Lesson Plans.

Editorials Wanted! Life as a "Mill Girl" in Lowell, MA

Understanding Primary Sources: The Mill Girls of New England

Questions for Pondering -- About the Lowell Mill Girls

Secondary Resources

"The Lowell Offering". The North American Review. (April 1841): 537-541.

Gutman, Herbert G. "Work, Culture, and Society in Industrializing America, 1815-1919." The American Historical Review, Vol. 78, No. 3. (Jun., 1973), pp. 531-588. [JSTOR]

Horwitz, Richard P. "Architecture and Culture: The Meaning of the Lowell Boarding House" American Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 1. (Mar., 1973), pp. 64-82. [Password required]

Robinson, Harriett H. "The Lowell Offering" The New England Magazine (December 1889): 461-467.

Password Access to Journal Articles

Some journal articles linked to this site require password access due to copyright and other restrictions. Teachers participating in the Teaching American History in Maryland program with a valid University of Maryland (UMBC) Library card can access these materials through ResearchPort.

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Password Access to Materials

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Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

An Archives of Maryland Online Publication
© Copyright, Maryland State Archives, October 21, 2005