Home Collections Women at Work: Manual Labor Pre- and Non-industrial labor
Pre- and Non-industrial labor

Samuel Abbot Collection
Mss 761 1754-1819 A129
The papers of an eighteenth-century merchant and Overseer of the Poor in Boston, Massachusetts, include letters from women requesting aid, accounts of payments to teachers, and records of female domestic laborers in his employ.

Afro-American Agricultural Laborers Collection
Mss 1 1797-1799 N892
Includes payments to women for spinning yarn.

Anthony Family Collection
Mss 899 1815-1859 A628
Accounts of a general store in Providence, Rhode Island, from 1815 to 1859, in which women are credited for domestic labor and production. The collection also includes the financial papers of Sarah P. Anthony, who was the executrix of her husband's estate, as well as the accounts of her own estate in 1845.

Thomas Bennett Collection
Mss:11 1792-1831 B472
Account book of a Connecticut farmer and toll bridge owner, 1792-1831. Bennett had accounts with several women who wove cloth for him.

Dexter Brewer Collection
Mss 873 1823-1848 B847
Includes payments to women who worked for a Maine tavern keeper.

Samuel Bunker Collection
Mss 871 1802-1828 B942
An account book that includes credits to a woman for cheese, honey, vinegar, hops, a pig, calfskin, and tea.

Nathaniel Chamberlin Collection
Mss 871 1743-1775 C443
Records the textile production of an eighteenth-century blacksmith's wives and daughters.

Chapin Family Collection
Mss 1 1782-1866 C463
Documents payments for textiles, butter, and clothing production.

E. B. Chase Collection
Mss 77 1833-1860 C487
Includes credits to various women for making shirts, renting land, and for domestic labor, as well as accounts for Lyndon Academy, a school run by Henry and Ada Chase between 1861 and 1862.

Devonshire Farm Collection
Mss 1 1896-1919
The records of a Sutton, Massachusetts, dairy farm present a detailed account of the domestic economy of a prosperous farming family, as well as the peddlers' accounts with other farm women in the area.

Daniel Douglas Collection
Mss 77 1795-1813 D733
Includes payments to women for washing and cleaning, as well as for teaching the art of making clothing.

Duren Family Collection
Mss 641 1814-1896 D955
The Duren family papers include an account book that records payments for domestic help between 1841 and 1856, as well as deeds for lands owned by women in Woburn, Massachusetts.

Nahum Fay Collection
Mss 1 1788-1832 F282
Records payments to women for labor, spinning, and weaving performed between 1802 and 1804.

Frost Family Collection
Mss 77 1727-1884 F939
Includes accounts for domestic labor and textile production, as well as the account of Peggy Frost Chesley, who owned a sawmill at the end of the eighteenth century.

Ebenezer and Samuel Joy Collection
Mss 100 1806-1827 J88
Records payments to women who worked in the Joy household.

William Kilby Collection
Mss 871 1795-1812 K48
Includes payments to women for domestic service and for butter and cheese production.

William Lamb Collection
Mss:9353 1836-1841 L218
Diaries of an inmate at the House of Industry in South Boston, Massachusetts, 1836-1841.

Joseph Lee Collection
Mss 733 1780-1831 L478
Records payments to domestic servants who worked in the Lee household between 1810 and 1813.

Joshua Mellen Collection
Mss 871 1798-1802 M525
Records payments to domestic laborers.

Dennis Northrup Collection
Mss 1 1825-1830 N877
Credits women for ashes, corn, rolls, weaving linen, spinning yarn, making shoes, and washing.

Charles Phelps Collection
Mss 1 1805-1858 P538
Records payments for domestic labor.

Stephen Williams Collection
Mss 1 1804-1828 W719
Williams credits his mother for spinning, weaving, lambs' wool, picking cotton, and lining and binding shoes.



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Page from the account book of Nathaniel Chamberlin, 1743-1775, including entries for work by his wife and daughters.

Nathaniel Chamberlin, a blacksmith in Pembroke, Massachusetts, began his account book in 1743, the same year that he married his first wife, Sarah. Between 1743 and her death in 1765, the couple had eight children, four boys and four girls. Two years later Nathaniel married his second wife, Deliverance Snell. Most of Nathaniel Chamberlinís accounts list debts due to him for work he did as a blacksmith. However, he also documented work done by his wives and children. Both Sarah and Deliverance sewed jackets, spun yarn, wove cloth, warped handkerchiefs quilted, and performed other tasks related to textile and clothing production. In the 1760s his daughters, Sarah, Ruth, Mary, and Lydia, begin to appear in the account book working at such tasks as spinning and washing. By recording the names of individuals specifically responsible for work done in the household, Nathanielís accounts offer a glimpse of the role of wives and daughters in the economy of a pre-industrial family.

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"The stocking-frame and other apparatus used in the manufactory," ca. 1790.

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