Free webinar: “Dangerous Tempotation or Genuine Opportunity: ‘Factory Girls’ in Fact and Fiction”

Cape Ann Community

New England parents in the 19th century nervously allowed their daughters to leave the countryside for work in the textile mills of the new era. For young women it was a unique opportunity to participate in the growing cash economy, help support their families, and experience life outside the home. Did work in the textile factories represent a step forward in women’s independence? The mills and mill-towns were full of disease, dangerous machinery and duplicitous men! The conjunction of innocent young females and the rough life of the mills generated reams of sensational fiction in the 19th century—lurid tales warning young women to stay home if they wished to avoid ruin. In her illustrated talk, Elizabeth DeWolfe, professor of history at the University of New England, explores the promise and the perils of 19th century factory work for women through the essays, poetry and prose of the era. DeWolfe is…

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