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Labor - Lowell] Bartlett, Elisha.

A Vindication of the Character and Condition of the Females Employed in the Lowell Mills.


Three Complete Years
[Labor]. Bartlett, Elisha, M.D. A Vindication of the Character and Condition of the Females Employed in the Lowell Mills, against the charges contained in the Boston Times, and the Boston Quarterly Review. Lowell, Massachusetts: Leonard Huntress, Printer, 1841.
8vo.; self-sewn binding, no covers; five pinholes on title leaf; foxed; fragile copy. In a specially made board folder.
First edition of Bartlett's defense of women workers in the Lowell mills.
Bartlett first published this in the Lowell Courier in July 1839, but was moved to reprint it for wider distribution after reading fallacious reports in the Boston Daily Times, the Boston Quarterly Review and the magazine, Laboring Classes, of poor mill working conditions for women in Lowell, MA. In this reprint, Bartlett updated his information and augmented his opinions. He writes, "At the end of a few years as a general rule, [the women] leave the mills…. They leave them, however, not worse but better off than they entered them; more independent in purse, with their minds quickened and enlightened, and with their manners and morals improved." He goes on to say that working in the mills increases the women's moral character and, he claims, their spirituality:
The great preponderance of influence is enlightening, elevating and improving - not darkening, debasing and deteriorating. Their manners are cultivated, their minds are enlarged, and their moral and religious principals are developed and fortified. Hundreds and hundreds of these girls will live long to refer the commencement of their best and highest happiness to their residence in this city.
Bartlett considered himself an unbiased, but not disinterested, observer of the residents of Lowell, where he lived and practiced medicine.
Elisha Bartlett was born in 1804 in Rhode Island. He studied medicine at Brown and became respected physician, professor and writer on medical topics; including A Discourse on the Times, Character, and Writings of Hippocrates, which was considered a masterpiece of medical biography. He moved to Lowell in 1827, and made his home there for twenty years. He married Elizabeth Slater of Rhode Island in 1829; he died at the age of 50, in Rhode Island, in 1855.  

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