Author: David Richard Kasserman
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Release Date: 2010-08-03
Fall River Outrage recounts one of the most sensational and widely reported murder cases in early nineteenth-century America. When, in 1832, a pregnant mill worker was found hanged, the investigation implicated a prominent Methodist minister. Fearing adverse publicity, both the industrialists of Fall River and the New England Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church engaged in energetic campaigns to obtain a favorable verdict. It was also one of the earliest attempts by American lawyers to prove their client innocent by assassinating the moral character of the female victim. Fall River Outrage provides insight in American social, legal, and labor history as well as women's studies.
Author: Catharine Williams
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 1993-09-02
Genre: Literary Collections
Catharine Williams (1787-1872) lived most of her life in Rhode Island, where she supported herself and her daughter by a productive literary career. Her most compelling work, Fall River, last published in 1833, recreates a notorious incident in the ill-fated town of Fall River, Massachusetts: the trial of a Methodist minister for the murder of a pregnant mill worker whom it was suspected he had seduced. Williams's investigative report offers a vivid contemporary view of the lives of poor "factory girls" and of clerical corruption in the industrial towns of early New England. While based in fact, the book raises themes of sexual and religious hypocrisy and exploitation that may be compared with those of novels like The Coquette, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and The Scarlet Letter. At the same time, the author's mixture of journalism, biography, fiction, and exhortation makes this "authentic narrative" an unusual challenge to traditional notions of literary form and yields fresh insights into the nature of early American women's writing.
Author: Mary H. Blewett
Publisher: Univ of Massachusetts Press
Release Date: 2000-01-01
Genre: Business & Economics
PART NARRATIVE, part analysis, this book reconstructs the complex history of the southeastern New England textile industry during the nineteenth century. Mary H. Blewett takes a fresh look at the process of industrialization from the point of view of management as well as labor and reinterprets the struggle between the two in terms of class, culture, and power. Highlighting the role of contingency and human agency in the shaping of historical events, she traces the efforts of the legendary Borden family and their allies not only to build their own private empire but to dominate the national market in print cloth. At the same time, she examines the shifting fortunes of a labor force striving to accommodate newly arrived immigrants, adapt to new technologies, and contest the control of the mill owners. Blewett has been a pioneer in analyzing the role of gender in industrialization, and this book carries that work forward. She shows how changing meanings of manhood and womanhood, nationality and race altered the course of American labor politics, as immigrant workers from Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Quebec brought their own political and cultural traditions into the New England mills. What emerges is a richly textured tale involving business scoundrels, high-minded reformers, radical agitators, sober-minded accommodationists, and assertive women activists -- all engaged in a dynamic political struggle to control the destiny of an industry that would not survive the next century.
Author: Karin E. Gedge
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2003-11-06
The common view of the nineteenth-century pastoral relationship--found in both contemporary popular accounts and 20th-century scholarship--was that women and clergymen formed a natural alliance and enjoyed a particular influence over each other. In Without Benefit of Clergy, Karin Gedge tests this thesis by examining the pastoral relationship from the perspective of the minister, the female parishioner, and the larger culture. The question that troubled religious women seeking counsel, says Gedge, was: would their minister respect them, help them, honor them? Surprisingly, she finds, the answer was frequently negative. Gedge supports her conclusion with evidence from a wide range of previously untapped primary sources including pastoral manuals, seminary students' and pastors' journals, women's diaries and letters, pamphlets, sentimental and sensational novels, and The Scarlet Letter.
Although sometimes religion and sexuality are treated as an aberrant theme in American literary and religious history, American writers from Nathaniel Hawthorne to John Updike have been fascinated with the connection between religious and sexual experience. Through the voice of American fiction, Religion and Sexuality in American Literature examines the relations of body and spirit (religion and sexuality). Using both canonical and non-canonical fiction, Ann-Janine Morey examines novels dealing with the ministry as the medium wherein so many of the tensions of religion and sexuality are dramatised and then moves to contemporary novels that deal with moral and religious issues through metaphor. Based upon a sophisticated and selective application of metaphor theory, deconstruction and feminist postmodernism, Morey argues that while American fiction has replicated many traditional animosities, there are also some rather surprising resources here for commonality between men and women if we acknowledge and understand the intimate relationship between language and physical life.
Author: Michael D. Pierson
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
Release Date: 2003-11-20
By exploring the intersection of gender and politics in the antebellum North, Michael Pierson examines how antislavery political parties capitalized on the emerging family practices and ideologies that accompanied the market revolution. From the birth of the Liberty party in 1840 through the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln in 1860, antislavery parties celebrated the social practices of modernizing northern families. In an era of social transformations, they attacked their Democratic foes as defenders of an older, less egalitarian patriarchal world. In ways rarely before seen in American politics, Pierson says, antebellum voters could choose between parties that articulated different visions of proper family life and gender roles. By exploring the ways John and Jessie Benton Fremont and Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln were presented to voters as prospective First Families, and by examining the writings of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lydia Maria Child, and other antislavery women, Free Hearts and Free Homes rediscovers how crucial gender ideologies were to American politics on the eve of the Civil War.
Author: Elizabeth A. De Wolfe
Release Date: 2007
When the winter ice melted in April 1850, residents of Saco, Maine, made a gruesome discovery: the body of a young girl submerged in a stream. Thanks to evidence left at the scene, a local physician was arrested and tried for the death of Mary Bean, the name given to the unidentified young girl; the cause of death was failed abortion. Garnering extensive newspaper coverage, the trial revealed many secrets: a poorly trained doctor, connections to an unsolved murder in New Hampshire, and the true identity of "Mary Bean"--a young Canadian mill worker named Berengera Caswell, missing since the previous winter. The Murder of Mary Bean and Other Stories examines the series of events that led Caswell to become Mary Bean and the intense curiosity and anxiety stimulated by this heavily watched trial. In addition to the sensationalist murder accounts, De Wolfe looks back at these events through a wide-angle lens exploring such themes as the rapid social changes brought about by urbanization and industrialization in antebellum nineteenth-century society, factory work and the changing roles for women, unregulated sexuality and the specter of abortion, and the sentimental novel as a guidebook. She posits that the real threat to women in the nineteenth century was not murder but a society that had ambiguous feelings about the role of women in the economic system, in education, and as independent citizens. Sure to place this case among the classics of crime literature, The Murder of Mary Bean and Other Stories features two reprinted accounts of Caswell's death, both fictional and originally printed in the 1850s, as well as an introduction that places these salacious accounts in a historical context.This book serves not simply as true crime but, rather, presents a seamy side of rapid industrial growth and the public anxiety over the emerging economic roles of women.