Lowell Mill Girl: A Life of Personal Responsibility

Harriet Hanson Robinson never let a group define her.
Harriet Hanson Robinson never let a group define her.

When does having a sense of group consciousness stand in the way of personal responsibility and self-actualization?

“Harriet called the mill her “Alma Mater,” and felt that its “incentive to labor” and the discipline of the work were of great value. “We were taught daily habits of regularity and of industry; it was, in fact, a sort of manual training or industrial school.”

Girls in this position did not see themselves as members of the working class–the term and concept working class was an invention of industrialism that was still in formation in the 1830’s. Group consciousness was absent from these girls, who viewed their stay in the mills as temporary, a stepping stone to a better life or else a deliberate sacrifice for others. Rather than improve the lot of all workers, they hoped to rise above it, individually.”  from A Good Poor Man’s Wife by Claudia  L. Bushman

Identifying with a group in our day seems to bring strife and irrational blaming of other groups. Wonder what the mill girls would say.

READ MORE ABOUT MILL GIRLS:

LOWELL MILL GIRLS

Innocence: The New Dirty Word

Jules Cyrille Cave (1859- 1940) The Flower Girl
Jules Cyrille Cave (1859- 1940) The Flower Girl

It’s no secret we live in a sexual-ized culture. Maybe all cultures are so, but look through the eyes of an abused child. It is then that every vulgar presentation of sexuality, every “sexy” media star, every unasked-for visual hits you in the face. Suddenly a trip past Victoria’s Secret in the mall while shopping for school clothes becomes cringe-worthy. Every song on the radio reminds this child of some abhorrent event.

Children even in quaint Victorian times were often subject to sexual abuse. Maybe the lines between children and adults were more fluid and maybe our society is moving in that direction once more, but suddenly, seeing with the eyes of someone who’s been wounded, television,  fashion and  music are jarring in the extreme.

What would the Victorians think about Victoria’s Secret?

Here is a case to ponder:

Minnie Rae–A 19th century girl

And here’s some history:

Exploitation 19th century style

It feels like I’ve been away forever from my little blog home and still another week looms before school begins and I can take stock of history again.

See you all soon.

Lady Edison

Scary Baby Lady
Air Baby

“Lady Edison” with latest invention: an air baby doll that can be bathed. Miss Beulah Louise Henry, of North Carolina and a direct descendent of Patrick Henry, is often called the “Lady Edison” because of her many inventions. She arrived at the Patent Office in Washington today to consult with Uncle Sam about one of her more than 40 inventions. Miss Henry is shown with her latest invention, an air baby doll which can be bathed and looks more like a real baby than any of its kind.

National Inventors’ Hall of Fame

http://publichistorian.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/beulah-henry-i-invent-because-i-cannot-help-it/

http://www.google.com/patents/US2503948

Inner Workings of a Doll
Inner Workings of a Doll