"Factory Girl's Song"

About the Project

This broadside contains the lyrics to “The Factory Girl’s Song,” a folk song whose origins date back at least to the 1830s. The song’s nineteen 4-line stanzas describe the daily work of the mill girls in different jobs: spinning, weaving, and dressing the finished cloth. At the end the singer tells of returning home to marry, giving up the rigors of tending the machinery and working for harsh overseers. The song may have originated in Lowell, Massachusetts, but some scholars suggest that the reference to wages earned in “shillings” instead of dollars may mean it had connections to Canadian immigrants to the Lowell textile mills. Several iterations of the song are known, including “The Lowell Factory Girl”, “The Factory Girl’s Come-All-Ye” from Lewiston, Maine, and generalized versions titled “Factory Girl.” Help transcribe this song as part of the Smithsonian's #BecauseOfHerStory campaign to share and celebrate the diverse stories of American girlhood.

Coordination of this and other girlhood history projects in the Transcription Center (including selection, digitization, cataloging, outreach, and educational resources) was funded by the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative. Click here to learn more.

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