Women at Work: An Oral History of Working-Class Women in Fall River, Massachusetts – 1920 to 1970
Edited by: Dennis A. Binette, Michael Martins, and Joyce B. Rodrigues
Women at Work: An Oral History of Working-Class Women in Fall River, Massachusetts – 1920 to 1970 documents the lives of a group of working-class women in the city of Fall River during the middle decades of the twentieth century. Their stories provide a first-hand account of labor issues and everyday life during a tumultuous era in the city’s history.
It was a time of change, hardship, and recovery, when the city and its residents faced the decline, and ultimate collapse, of the textile industry: the early depression years of the late 1920s; the Great Depression years of the 1930s; and the rise of the female-dominated needle trade industries.
The ten women profiled in this volume are of Azorean Portuguese, English, French-Canadian, Lebanese, and Polish descent. The progeny of immigrant ancestors who were drawn to the “Spindle City” by the promise of work and betterment, they are interwoven through marriage to form the warp and weft of the fabric that is the city of Fall River.
The oral histories of Women at Work tell a Fall River story unique to the time, events, and culture of a city determined to reestablish itself.
Women at Work is a much-needed compilation of stories told by women who worked in the Fall River garment trade when sewing machines whirred in every mill. It’s long overdue, it’s good history, and it’s an excellent read if you care about Fall River and the unsung heroines of its working class.
—Our View, Fall River Herald News
To view the corresponding online exhibit, funded by Mass Humanities, please visit fallriverhistorical.org/WomenatWork/.
Paperback, 412 pages, index, 271 black-and-white illustrations; $21.95.