x, 292 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 267-275) and index.
A place in the universe: the ingenuity of Francis Cabot Lowell brings large-scale textile manufacturing to New England ; Generations of native-born Americans and immigrants find jobs in the mills -- The glory of the nation: from the rocky farmland and tranquil villages of New England, women migrate to the mill towns to take their place in the history of the American labor movement -- The lords of the loom: business leaders in Boston expand the textile industry, accumulate great wealth, and ignite a fierce debate over the morality of using Southern slaves to provide the cotton that feeds the mills -- From across the Irish Sea: Irish laborers build the mills, and Irish famine victims of the mid-nineteenth century replace the Yankee women at the looms -- Voyagers south: The ethnic character of New England is changed forever as the French Canadians of Quebec cross the border to seek opportunity in America -- Wretched refuse: Pole, Italians, Russians, Jews, and many others weary of Europe's nineteenth-century wars and poverty join the workforce in the New England mills -- Fighting for roses: immigrant women led the great 1912 textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and the women win -- Last bells: the shift of textile manufacturing to the South destroys the industry in New England.
"The Belles of New England is the story of one group of pioneers in the American labor movement - the thousands of women who left New England farm towns to work in the textile cities that sprang up in the region in the early nineteenth century. Their goal was to achieve personal independence, their mission social justice. At a time when women had no political influence, they battled powerful mill owners for fair pay and decent working conditions."--Jacket.