Harriet Farley (Using the Pseudonym “Susan”): Letters from the Lowell Mill(1844)
In the second decade of the nineteenth century (perhaps 1813), the Reverend Stephen and Lucy Farley welcomed Harriet, the sixth of ten children, into their rapidly growing family. While her father served as minister to a local Congregational church and as principal of the Atkinson Academy of New Hampshire, the family struggled financially. The older children were, in turn, required to aid in the family’s support. Before she ventured to Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1837 to take up work in a textile mill, Harriet had participated in local cottage industry and taught school. Well educated, like many of her counterparts, she became involved in one of the local “Improvement Circles” and began to contribute to a local literary magazine, the Lowell Offering. In 1842 she and her fellow miller worker, Harriot Curtis, left factory employment to co-edit the Offering.
In 1844, Farley contributed a series of articles written as letters under the pseudonym “Susan.” In her missives, written...
Looms inside the old Boott Cotton Mill in Massachusetts (Library of Congress)View Full Size