Audio & Video Sources

From Josephine L. Baker, "A Second Peep at Factory Life," Lowell Offering (1845)

Download Audio (MP3)

Right-click (Ctrl-click for Mac users) the above link and select "Save Link As..."

»Sample Media Worksheet

Click here to show/hide Media Worksheet.

Transcript

You ask...why we work in the mill. Well, simply for this reason, every situation in life, has its trials which must be borne, and factory life has no more than any other. There are many things we do not like...and many harsh words and acts that are not called for. There are objections also to the number of hours we work, to the length of time allotted to our meals, and to the low wages allowed for labor; objections that must and will be answered; for the time has come when something, besides the clothing and feeding of the body is to be thought of; when the mind is to be clothed and fed; and this cannot be as it should be, with the present system of labor.... And the feeling too, that comes over us...when we hear the bell calling us away from repose the feeling, that we are obliged to go. And these few hours [after work], of which we have spoken, are far too short, three at the most at the close of the day. There is a brighter side to this picture...and an answer to the question, why we work here? The time we do have is our own. The money we earn comes promptly...and when finished we feel perfectly free, till it is time to commence it again. Besides this, there are many pleasant associations connected with factory life, that are not to be found elsewhere. There are lectures, evening schools, and libraries, to which all may have access. The one thing needful here, is the time to improve them as we ought.