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Books that Shaped Work in America


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Title    Author    Year    Contributors


Life in the Iron Mills

Life in the Iron Mills or The Korl Woman

Author: Rebecca Harding Davis

Year Published: 1861

Description: Originally published anonymously in Atlantic Monthly, Rebecca Harding Davis’s Life in the Iron Mills; or, the Korl Woman, portrayed in vivid detail the desolate lives of workers in America’s factories and mills in the mid-19th century. It was inspired by Davis’s time living in industrial Wheeling, West Virginia and is one of several works written by her that called attention to the plight of and advocated for social action to aid America’s working poor, especially women, immigrants and other marginalized populations.

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'Not many even of the inhabitants of a manufacturing town know the vast machinery of system by which the bodies of workmen are governed, that goes on unceasingly from year to year.'  

Life in the Iron Mills


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