Women at Work The Transformation of Work and Community in Lowell, Massachusetts, 1826-1860

ISBN-10: 0231041675
ISBN-13: 9780231041676
Edition: 2nd (Reprint)
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Description: Until the nineteenth century, women were largely confined to work in the home. But in the years between 1820 and 1860 the rise of the cotton textile industry in New England radically altered women's working and living patterns. Thousands of single,  More...

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Book details

List price: $36.00
Edition: 2nd
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 4/22/1981
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 312
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.210
Language: English

Until the nineteenth century, women were largely confined to work in the home. But in the years between 1820 and 1860 the rise of the cotton textile industry in New England radically altered women's working and living patterns. Thousands of single, young women left the homes of their parents to work in the growing mill towns and to live together in the company boardinghouses. This was the first generation of American women to face the demands of industrial capitalism. Women at Workdetails the lives of this first generation in Lowell, Massachusetts -- America's leading factory town in the middle decades of the nineteenth century. The mill experience bridged the gap between rural and urban life, as Yankee women from the countryside brought to the mill towns the rich kinship and friendship networks indigenous to preindustrial America. Thomas Dublin shows how these rural values, transplanted to Lowell's factories and boardinghouses, contributed to the emergence of a close-knit community of women workers. Recounting the birth of the American textile industry and the rise of Lowell, Dublin analyzes the social relations in the early mills, the boardinghouse community, the strikes of the 1830s, and the Ten Hour Movement organized for the reduction of hours in the 1840s. He then describes the influx of Irish and other immigrant workers who displaced the Yankee women workers and brought about the transformation of the community. The immigrant workers lived in private tenements rather than in the company boardinghouses, a family labor system replaced one consisting primarily of young, single women, and more stringent working conditions and wage cuts undermined the previous standards. The unprecedented first period of the American women's labor movement had passed.

Preface to the Second Edition
Notes
Acknowledgments
A Note on Quotations
Women Workers and Early Industrialization
The Early Textile Industry and the Rise of Lowell
The Lowell Work Force, 1836, and the Social Origins of Women Workers
The Social Relations of Production in the Early Mills
The Boardinghouse
The Early Strikes: the 1830s
The Ten Hour Movement: the 1840s
The Transformation of Lowell, 1836-1850, and the New Mill Work Force
Immigrants in the Mills, 1850-1860
Housing and Families of Women Operatives
Careers of Operatives, 1836-1860
The Operatives' Response, 1850-1860
Preparation of the Hamilton Company Payroll, 1836
The Social Origins Study
The Hamilton Company Work Force, August 1850 and June 1860
The 1860 Millhand Sample
Sources of Bias and Considerations of Representativeness
Abbreviations
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

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