Mill Workers at Boarding House


Boarding houses were run by matrons who strictly enforced the rules of the house including a 10pm curfew, temperance, and weekly church attendance. Mill girls were charged approximately $1.25 per week to live in overcrowded boarding houses with as many as six girls per room, which permitted virtually no privacy. Female operatives worked twelve hours a day and earned $3-$5.40 dollars per week. Many of these young women sent their wages home to their families, but some simply saved their earnings for their future nuptuals and household neccessities. For recreation, the factory girls attended reading and writing classes offered specifically for them, joined reading circles, knit, and went shopping.


circa 1860


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“Mill Workers at Boarding House,” Chicopee Archives Online, accessed February 22, 2018,