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Mill Girls and Strangers: Single Women's Independent Migration in England, Scotland, and the United States, 1850-1881

Mill Girls and Strangers: Single Women's Independent Migration in England, Scotland, and the United States, 1850-1881

by Wendy M. Gordon

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In the nineteenth-century mill towns of Preston, England; Lowell, Massachusetts; and Paisley, Scotland, there were specific demands for migrant and female labor, and potential employers provided the necessary respectable conditions in order to attract them. Using individual accounts, this innovative and comparative study examines the migrants' lives by addressing their reasons for migration, their relationship to their families, the roles they played in the cities to which they moved, and the dangers they met as a result of their youth, gender, and separation from family. Gordon details both the similarities and differences in the women's migration experiences, and somewhat surprisingly concludes that they became financially independent, rather than primarily contributors to a family economy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780791487822
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 02/01/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 244
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Wendy M. Gordon is Assistant Professor of History at Plattsburgh State University.

Table of Contents

List of Figures


1. Transitions in the City: Independent Female Migration, 1850—1881

Single Female Migrants in Historical Perspectives

2. Preston: The Unseen Migrants

Migrants and Domestic Service in Preston
The Migrants' Economy

3. Lowell: The Mill Girls

Migrants and the Textile Industry in Lowell
The Migrants' Society
A Desire to See the City
The Migrants' Independence

4. Paisley: The Strangers and the Maids

Migrants and Domestic Service in Paisley
Migrants and Bleaching in Paisley
Accommodating Independent Migrants
The Migrants' Economy
To Prosecute Her Claim
Personal Migration Patterns
Migrants at Risk

5. Comparisons: The Migrants Beside Themselves

Appendix: The Statistical Methodology




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