• Pawtucket canal with boat tour full of visitors with trolley in the background.

    Lowell

    National Historical Park Massachusetts

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  • Credit Card payments for interpretive fees.

    Beginning September 9, due to the federal government's fiscal year close out, only cash or check payments can be accepted for fees at the Boott Mills, canal boat tours, and for Interagency Passes. Credit cards will be accepted again on October 1, 2014. More »

  • Lowell NHP Superintendents Compendium update.

    The Superintendents Compendium has been updated in regard to the use of unmanned aircraft in national park areas. More »

Women's History in Lowell

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As much as the massive brick mills along the Merrimack, "mill girls" were an innovation of the early industrial revolution in New England. Lowell's mill workforce in the antebellum decades consisted largely of young single women from the farming communities of northern New England. Most were between 15 and 25, signing on for short stints that rarely exceeded a year at a time. Overall, they averaged about three years of employment before leaving the mills for marriage, migration to the west, other employment, or return to their hometowns.

Lowell hosts “Lowell Women’s Week” annually during the first week of March, celebrating the historical and contemporary contributions of women in this city. For more information, please visit the Lowell Women’s Week website.


To discover more about the women who came to work in Lowell’s mills, explore these links:

Mill Girls

Mill Girls and Immigrants Exhibit & the Boarding House System

NOTE: The Mill Girls and Immigrants Exhibit is open seasonally. Please check the website for current information.

Lucy Larcom: Writer, Teacher, Poet

Sarah Bagley: Mill worker and Activist

Boarding House Keeper

Galusha Family Collection

The Lowell Offering: Written and published by women working in Lowell between 1840 – 1845. From UMass Lowell Center for Lowell History

Additional Mill Girl materials from UMass Lowell Center for Lowell History:

Links to additional related websites from UMass Lowell Center for Lowell History:

Did You Know?

Photo of mill workers outside of a Boardinghouse

There were female and male overseers in the mills of Lowell in the 19th century. In Rev. Henry Miles' book, Lowell As It Was, and As It Is, he mentions that the Boott Cotton Mills has recently opened a new weave room and it is being overseen by two women overseers. More...