|Hamilton Woolen Company Collection
|Mss 446 1822-1936
Series AE: Stock ledgers; Series K: Labor records
Series L: Production records; Box PC-3: Memos and clippings
The Hamilton Woolen Company Collection contains the records of a woolen manufacturer in Southbridge, Massachusetts, which succeeded the Wolcott Woolen Company in 1831. Workers went on strike in 1934 and the company was liquidated shortly thereafter. The collection contains sporadic labor records (payroll and time books) from 1824 to 1870, showing steadily increasing numbers of women working in the factory.
The collection provides a picture of the cross section of women's economic roles in the waning days of the New England textile industry. By the early twentieth century, women are present in all layers of the company records. Women comprise more than a third of the stockholders and have entered the factory's administrative offices in clerical jobs. By far the greatest number of women associated with Hamilton, however, are the factory workers who comprised the majority of its 1100 employees.
In 1934, the company was hit with a general strike with demands of higher wages, a smaller machine load, equal distribution of work, and a union shop. Company records and newspaper clippings in the collection make it clear that women were active in all aspects of the strike. The strike was led by Miss Janviers (Jean) Gauthier, President of United Textile Workers of America, Local # 2324, who had formulated the demands. Several non-union women workers complained of violence and intimidation, which resulted in arrests of women union members. Miss Anna Weinstock, a representative of the National Textile Relations Board, unsuccessfully attempted to mediate between the parties. When the company closed rather than accept a union shop, it gave as its reason the alleged violence of union workers.
Wage and time accounting
Payrolls, time book and production records: Volumes KA 1(1825-1830); KB 1 (1928); KC1-2 (1861-1879); KD 1, (1924-1929); KE1 (1927); LA-1 (1823-1838)
Employee relations materials including labor organization
Memoranda and clippings on strike: Box PC 3 (1934)
Family and financial records
Stock Ledgers: volumes AE 1-3 (1845-1911)
Stockholder Lists: Volume AF1