An online project under the direction of the CAPE ANN MUSEUM
Lane's prints of Lowell show the city at a period of rapid growth. The textile manufacting industry had been established in Lowell with the first mill (which later became the Middlesex Mill) in 1813. In 1826 the city had 2,500 inhabitants, by 1836 there were 17,633, and by 1845 nearly 30,000. In response to this population growth, the first regular stagecoach route was established in 1822, and the Boston-Lowell Railroad line was completed in 1835. In 1842 Charles Dickens stopped in Lowell on his American tour and wrote about it in his "American Notes." By 1843 there were 33 mills in Lowell, employing 6295 women, 2345 men, and producing 1,425,800 yards of cotton cloth per week.
The American Antiquarian Society has an excellent online exhibition about the mill girls and their representation in nineteenth-century print.
Arthur L. Eno, Cotton Was King: A History of Lowell, Massachusetts (Somersworth, NH: New Hampshire Publishing Co., 1976), see Appendix B.
Rev. Henry A. Miles, Lowell: As it Was, and As It Is (Lowell, MA: Powers and Bagley, 1845).
Oxford University Press, 1989, pp. 66–70.
Dickens describes a visit to the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1842.