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Factory Gothic: The Dark Side of Mill Girl Life with Bridget Marshall

October 27, 2022 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Popular stories about Lowell’s so-called “mill girls” in the nineteenth century (and even today) often highlight the happy aspects of mill girls’ lives. According to popular lore, their wages enabled them to send their brothers to college, or to dress up in fancy clothes and wear gold watches. Mill girls and mill owners alike promoted the fact that they had ample time to socialize and pursue intellectual and cultural improvement; they wrote and published poems and stories in The Lowell Offering and played pianos in their boarding houses. But the people who worked in the mills of Lowell (and elsewhere) in the nineteenth century faced a variety of dangers, including working conditions that threatened their health; hazardous mill machinery and buildings; predatory overseers and mill owners; and abuse and harassment at their workplace and in their domestic lives. This talk will focus on some of the real dangers encountered by the mill girls as well as how popular literature of the nineteenth century portrayed their lives. Registration is required – to register, click here.