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Movement to outlaw the institution of slavery.


Private school for boys or girls, similar to today's high school..

Anti-Slavery Society

Organization formed to bring about an end to slavery by holding meetings, raising money, sponsoring lectures, publishing newspapers and pamphlets, and testifying before lawmakers.


Boy bound by legal agreement to work without pay for a craftsman for a specific amount of time, usually seven years, in return for instruction in the craftsman's trade.


Men hired by mill owners men to run the mills.

Benevolent Organizations

Groups formed beginning in the 1830s and 1840s to provide assistance to each other and to help widows, orphans, the disabled and other people in need.


List circulated among mills to warn against hiring workers who had been dismissed for not obeying the rules or for participating in protest activities.


Four-story brick building with a kitchen, dining room, and bedrooms built by the textile companies to house their workers; run by a boardinghouse keeper, who was employed by the company.


Ditches, lined on the sides and bottoms with stone, created to bring water from the Merrimack River to the waterwheels that powered the mills.

Catherine Beecher

Influential writer and educator who believed that women should exercise influence indirectly, not by speaking in public to mixed audiences.


Disease of the lungs now called tuberculosis, which was often fatal before the discovery of antibiotics.

Corporation Hospital

Hospital operated by the mill owners to care for sick and injured mill workers.

Dressmaking shop

Shop where women came to have new dresses made; usually owned and operated by a woman.

Factory Girl Association

Organization founded by women who worked in the mills; the members wrote a constitution, elected officers, and worked to improve working conditions and wages in the mills.

Homeopathic physician

Doctor who used herbs and medicines to treat patients rather than the remedies and treatments used by traditional medical doctors.

Lighting-Up Ball

Social occasion that took place in the fall, as days got shorter and oil lamps were lit so mill workers could see.


Machine powered by belts from moving overhead shafts which wove cloth. A weaver would first tend one loom and as she grew in skill, a second or perhaps a third loom.

Lowell Offering

Magazine founded in the 1840s to publish the writing of the women who worked in the mills.

Machine Shop

Company that produces and repairs the machines used in textile mills and other factories.


Man who works with metal to make and/or assemble machines.


Woman who cares for women before, during and after childbirth. Few doctors were involved in childbirth before the l8th century.

Millinery shop

Shop, usually owned and operated by a woman, where ladies' hats were made and decorated.


Individual, usually a clergyman, who traveled -often with his wife and family--to the West or other distant lands to work with native people, hoping to convert them to Christianity.

Missionary Aid Society

Organization formed to raise money to support the work of missionaries on the frontier and in foreign lands.


Money borrowed to purchase land, a house, or a business.


Person who runs a machine in a factory or mill.


Man who supervises all the workers on a single floor of a mill.


Document signed by many people urging a government official to take action to solve a problem.

Potato Famine

Drastic failure of the potatoes crop, which most poor people depended on in Ireland in the l840s. The result was widespread disease, starvation, and immigration to the US.


A specific target to be reached, such as a quota of workers to hire, or yards to be woven per day.


A large meeting called to publicly protest something.


People who organize themselves into voluntary societies dedicated to bring about change.


Private school which prepares men for college and women for teaching, missionary work, or educated them to be the wives of professional men.

Strike or turnout

Workers leave their jobs to protest low wages or bad working conditions.


Patterns of dots and dashes sent over a wire to an office where a person de-codes the message, prints it out, and has it delivered.

Ten-Hour Day

Goal of workers seeking laws that would limit the maximum work to 10, rather than 12 or 13, hours per day.

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