First published in 1978, this classic book, through vivid oral histories and historic photographs, documents the social and cultural impact of the industry during America’s rise as a manufacturing power. For nearly a century, the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company was chief architect of the social, ethnic, and economic existence of Manchester, New Hampshire. In the early 1900s, it was the largest textile mill in the world, employing 17,000; its red brick facade stretched for nearly a mile along the Merrimack River and its payroll drew immigrants by the thousands. In their own words, laborers, foremen, managers, and town residents paint a detailed portrait of the mill’s nearly feudal dominance of every aspect of their lives and offer their response to this existence, with fierce pride and an unshakable sense of community. When competition, labor unrest, and obsolescence caught up with the mill in 1936, a weaver recalls, “the mills went out and the world stopped for everybody.”
“[Amoskeag] belongs to the literature of testimony, offering up insights on work experiences, family practices, patterns of sociability, the pleasures and miseries of life and labor in Manchester . . . Tamara Hareven, one of the most intelligent and prolific among contemporary historians of the family, has disclosed something of the life and work patterns of men and women in a great mill. In the course of it, she has also warned us about the insufficiency of simple formulas, the complexity of men and societies, and we are in her debt for it.”—New Republic
TAMARA K. HAREVEN is Unidel Professor of Family Studies and History, University of Delaware, and Visiting Scholar in sociology at Harvard University. She is founder of the Journal of Family History and President of the Social Science History Association. A pioneer and foremost leader in the development of the field of family history, Dr. Hareven is the author of several books, and most notably Family Time and Industrial Time (1982) and Aging and Generational Relations (1995).
RANDOLPH LANGENBACH is a designer, architectural historian, and photographer. His documentation of, and historical research on, nineteenth-century industrial cities have become well known in both the United States and Great Britain. His articles and photographs have been published in numerous books and magazines; and his book, A Future From the Past, was published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has produced an exhibition in London on British industrial towns, and was actively involved in planning the new national park in Manchester’s sister city, Lowell, Massachusettes.