In the early 1800s, the invention of the power loom disrupted the way fabric had always been made, and who had made it. Diane explores the revolutionary changes millwork brought to the lives of women who seized new options for better pay and independence, flocking to the mills to "weave by steam."
The initial promise of "the Lowell system" soured into abuse and poverty with the arrival of economic downturns. Mill companies filled their workrooms with immigrants, some as young as ten. We hear of the "Bread and Roses" strike of 1912, which united workers who spoke dozens of languages in a common quest for respect, adequate pay, and decent working conditions.
As a descendant of immigrant millworkers on both sides of her family, Diane is honored to present songs that capture both despair and hope as newcomers sought a better life.
To book this performance, please contact us.
The songs include:
- The Hand-Weaver and the Factory Maid
- Doffin' Mistress
- The Factory Girl's Come-All-Ye
- Bread and Roses
- Raisin Pie
"Your concert was magical. I am so thrilled about all the research you did -- it worked beautifully with the songs you selected. So many people remarked on how wonderful the performance was. We feel blessed!"
-- Barbara Palmer, The Bidwell House Museum, Monterey MA (2016)