Skip to main content

Lowell Mills: Primary Sources

How did industrial development and innovation shape the stories and identities of mill girls, reformers, innovators, and immigrants?

The Lowell Mills

A group of Boston capitalists built a major textile manufacturing center in Lowell, Massachusetts beginning in the 1820s. The first factories recruited women from rural New England as their labor force. These young women, far from home, lived in rows of boardinghouses adjacent to the growing number of mills. The industrial production of textiles was highly profitable, and the number of factories in Lowell and other mill towns increased. More mils, however, led to overproduction, which led to a drop in prices and profits. Mill owners reduced wages and speeded up the pace of work. They also raised the rent for their boardinghouses. The young female operates organized to protest these wage cuts in 1834 and 1836.




Daughters of Freemen-Video


Daughters of Freemen-Viewer's Guide PDF


Sarah Bagley: Lowell Notes


User Name and Password for Textiles: Birth of An American Industry video linked below: wheeler/maryc