Lawrence: 1880. Albumen photograph on card stock, 7 ¾ x 4 ½ inches. Good. Item #List124
Working conditions were notoriously bad in Lawrence, one of the industrial hubs of the textile industry in the late nineteenth century after the harnessing of the Merrimack River’s water power in 1845. The city was a hub of immigration - mostly Irish - and many immigrants who were familiar with mill work flocked to the city in the 1850s. In 1860 an accident at the Pemberton Mill killed 145 workers. The Bread and Roses strike of 1912, also known as the Lawrence Textile Strike, was the culmination of decades of poor working conditions. This uncommon occupational photograph of female mill workers gives scant clues as to the background of the workers or specifics of the factory. We find no record of the photographer, a J.J. Greene, based in Lawrence. The seven women pictured are mostly looking off-camera, suggesting that the photographer had a companion. The date is unknown but the albumen cabinet card format and general feel suggest a date of 1880s-1890s.
An uncommon occupational photograph of women in Lawrence’s mills. Good condition overall, fading to image and some light foxing, verso with tears from tape removal.