No More Shall I Work in the Factory
DESCRIPTION: "When I set out for Lowell, some factory for to find, I left my native country And all my friends behind." The worker lives a life driven by the factory bell. She plans to leave the factory and go home. She will soon be married and live a freer life
EARLIEST DATE: 1915 (JournalOfAmericanFolklore Vol. 28)
KEYWORDS: work worker hardtimes home weaving factory technology
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Cohen-AmericanFolkSongsARegionalEncyclopedia1, pp. 15-18 "The Factory Girl" (1 text plus a reproduction of a broadside)
Greenway-AmericanFolksongsOfProtest, pp. 122-124, "The Lowell Factory Girl" (1 text); pp. 125-126, "No More Shall I Work in the Factory" (1 text)
Lomax/Lomax-AmericanBalladsAndFolkSongs, pp. 331-332, "The Factory Girl" (1 text, 1 tune)
Foner-AmericanLaborSongsOfTheNineteenthCentury, p. 43, "The Lowell Factory GIrl" (1 text)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 128, "The Factory Girl" (1 text)
Dorsey Dixon, "The Factory Girl" (Testament t-3301, a version adapted by Dixon from a version sung by his sister Nancy)
Mike Seeger, "A Factory Girl" (on MSeeger02)
cf. "A Laundry Song" (lyrics)
cf. "The Laddie Wi' the Tarry Trews" (theme)
NOTES [138 words]: The oldest version of this song seems to be the "Lowell Factory Girl" text quoted in the description; this broadside is very full. Greenway believes this version originated before 1840; the wages mentioned fit 1830, and the Panic of 1837 killed off many of the small New England farms, meaning that the factory girl would have no home to which to return. Cohen dates his broadside print to the 1840s.
The localized "Lowell Factory Girl" gradually spread and generalized, producing the more universal text "No More Shall I Work in the Factory." As the latter consists almost entirely of verses found in the former, however, they can surely be considered one song.
This should not be confused with the J. A. Phillips song "The Factory Girl" (c. 1895), which begins, "She wasn't the least bit pretty, And only the least bit gay." - RBW
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