CENTER FOR LOWELL HISTORY UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL LIBRARIES

Home     Digital Photographs     Genealogy Resources     Special Collections     Search
 
LAWRENCE TEXTILE WORKERS THROUGH THE GENERATIONS
 
     In addition to tending their gardens, many workers kept livestock such as chickens, pigs, rabbits, and sometimes even cows and horses.  Because families were generally large, these animals made important contributions to the family's food supply, especially during the lean years of the Depression.  The gardens and livestock both served to connect the immigrants to their agricultural past, thereby becoming a kind of nostalgic activity.

     Over the generations occupational changes took place as a movement was made away from textiles towards high technology and service industries.  After the departure of the textile mills in the early 1950s, Western Electric was one of the first electronic companies to employ thousands of former textile workers.  While members of many families worked at Western Electric, there is no visual documention of this due to the company's prohibition on taking pictures inside the plant.

     Despite this company's prohibition, the exhibit contains many photographs which give testimony to the growth of the service industry.  Photographs of the third generation in many families support data which shows that growing numbers were employed in manufacturing and service-related industries in the Lawrence/Haverhill area.  At the same time, the number of workers employed in manufacturing dwindled.  This data, provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is listed below.

Manufacturing (March) 
1986 - 53,700 
1987 - 51,200
1988 - 50,600 
1989 - 36,000

Service (Much)
1986 - 29,700
1987 - 31,800
1988 - 34,700
1989 - 48,900
 

Top Of Page   Previous Page or Next Page