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Chace, Luther and Company Collection
Catalog Record
Mss 442 1827-1862
Volume 7

Chace, Luther and Company was a cotton textile mill in Grafton, Massachusetts, in the early nineteenth century. The 1834-1839 "Laborer's Ledger" in this collection lists heads of household renting tenements, including a number of women. The ledger contains information on the economic and family interconnections of mill housing, the company store, and wages paid to women workers.

Dorothy Vickers ran a boarding house in her tenement. Her rent was paid with credits from the mill for as many as thirteen boarders at a time, most of them women. Gardner Goddard's family took in boarders to offset his rent and charges at the company store, but he was also credited with day labor performed by Abigail, Sally, and Lucinda, presumably family members. Mill girls whose boarding house rent was deducted from their wages were left with little cash to show for their efforts.

The ledger also contains cash wages of weavers such as Betsy Lamb, who wove sheeting and shirting and who evidently did not live in company housing. She took home $100 after a year's work.

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