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A Former Lowell Girl Remembers Working in the Mills

Lucy Larcom worked in the mills at Lowell as a young woman. In her memoir, written more than forty years later, she remembered how she and other young female mill workers felt about their jobs.

I know that sometimes the confinement of the mill became very wearisome to me. In the sweet June weather I would lean far out of the window, and try not to hear the unceasing clash of sound inside…. 

I regard it as one of the privileges of my youth that I was permitted to grow up among these active, interesting girls…. They were earnest and capable; ready to undertake anything that was worth doing…. They gave me a larger, firmer idea of womanhood…. 

Country girls were naturally independent, and the feeling that at this new work the few hours they had of every-day leisure were entirely their own was a satisfaction to them. They preferred it to going out as ‘hired help.’ It was like a young man’s pleasure in entering upon business for himself. Girls had never tried that experiment before, and they liked it.

Source | Lucy Larcom, A New England Girlhood (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1889).
Creator | Lucy Larcom
Item Type | Biography/Autobiography
Cite This document | Lucy Larcom, “A Former Lowell Girl Remembers Working in the Mills,” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed September 19, 2019, https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/1817.

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