Women and Children of the Mills: An Annotated Guide to Nineteenth-Century American Textile Factory Literature

Overview

This annotated bibliography of 19th-century literature by and about American textile factory workers examines 457 texts, including novels, short fiction, poetry, drama, narratives, and children's literature, and offers new insights into 19th-century working-class culture. The textile industry was the premier and largest 19th-century industry in the United States. The texts, drawn from a variety of publications, such as workers' periodicals, mainstream publishers' monographs, newspapers, magazines, story papers, ...

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Overview

This annotated bibliography of 19th-century literature by and about American textile factory workers examines 457 texts, including novels, short fiction, poetry, drama, narratives, and children's literature, and offers new insights into 19th-century working-class culture. The textile industry was the premier and largest 19th-century industry in the United States. The texts, drawn from a variety of publications, such as workers' periodicals, mainstream publishers' monographs, newspapers, magazines, story papers, dime novels, pulp publications, and Sunday-school tracts, reveal the variety and complexity of the factory literature and represent the largest body of American working-class women's literature. The literature explores a number of women's concerns, such as their roles as workers, sexual harassment, marriage, motherhood, and homosexual and heterosexual relationships, and treats the factory work experience of hundreds of thousands of 19th-century children. Annotations are divided among 14 topical chapters that highlight such key issues as women's independence, class bias, child labor, technology, and protest. Most entries include information on text availability, including microform reprints and U.S. library holdings for rare titles.

Scholars of 19th-century women's literature and history will value the full picture of 19th-century factory women's lives that emerges through the synopses of the literature. This work includes the first literary depictions of and protest against child labor, the first anti-factory poem, and the first fictional depiction of a strike. The more than 50 annotated texts that treat child labor offer new source material for the study of child labor in 19th-century America. Appendices furnish a chronological listing of titles, a selection of nonfiction texts, and a listing of unavailable texts.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Comprises 457 examples of poetry, songs, stories, novels, drama, narratives, and children's literature, some 36 percent of which were probably or definitely written by mill workers between 1787 and 1900. Drawn from English-language publications, all writings are ostensibly set in the U.S. and/or written by Americans. Entries are alphabetically arranged within each of 14 topics such as women leaving home, romances and mysteries, working children, speaking out against oppression, strikes, etc., and they include as many as possible of the following elements: bibliographic citation, text length, brief author identification, genre and formal features, setting, synopsis, noteworthy features of content, place of publication, and text availability. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
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Product Details

Meet the Author

JUDITH A. RANTA is a reference librarian and an English instructor at CUNY.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Women Leaving Home: Work, Independence, Women's Rights 1
2 Minds among the Spindles: Workers' Education and Writing 31
3 Offerings and Voices: Periodicals of Women's Work 43
4 Only a Factory Worker: Representing Class 57
5 Means of Escape: Romances and Mysteries 79
6 Blighted and Deceived: Dangerous Desires and Women's Wrongs 107
7 Scenes of Factory Village Life 133
8 Working Children 155
9 Wondrous Machines: Responses to Technology 173
10 Occupational Hazards: Stress, Disease, Accidents, Fires 183
11 Laborers' Remonstrances: Speaking Out against Oppression 205
12 Strikes and Other Organized Protest 229
13 Anti-Strike Fiction 243
14 Charity and Reform 255
Bibliography 277
App. I Annual Chronology of Factory Literature by Title, with Author, Genre, and Entry Number 283
App. II Names and Noms de Plume of the Writers in The Lowell Offering, Compiled and Corrected by Harriet Hanson Robinson, September 1902 299
App. III Nonfiction Texts by and about Nineteenth-Century Textile Factory Workers 301
App. IV Titles Unavailable for Examination 305
Index 307
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