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Lowell History Reading and Discussion Series: The Books

Information about the Spring 2014 Reading and Discussion Series on Lowell History.

The Books

Legendary Locals of Lowell

Legendary Locals of Lowell

Images of America: Lowell vol. 1

Images of America: Lowell vol. 1

Images of America: Lowell vol. 2

Images of America: Lowell vol. 2

University of Massachusetts Lowell

University of Massachusetts Lowell

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Legendary Locals Of Lowell by Richard P. Howe Jr., Chaim M. Rosenberg

When Nathan Appleton and his colleagues built their first textile mill on the banks of the Merrimack River in 1822, they were pursuing the vision of their departed mentor, Francis Cabot Lowell. The complex system of machinery, labor, management, and capital that resulted made the city that they named Lowell the centerpiece of America's Industrial Revolution. Changes in technology and commerce made the golden age of Lowell's mills short lived. Despite the success of businesses such as the patent medicine company of James C. Ayer, jobs remained scarce for decades. Hard times created strong leaders--people like Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers, who sponsored the G.I. Bill, and writer Jack Kerouac, who added a new voice to the country's literary mix. More recently, Paul Tsongas inspired a new generation to transform Lowell into one of the most exciting mid-sized cities in post-industrial America and a world model of urban revitalization. Legendary Locals of Lowell tells the city's story through pictures of its people.

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Lowell Vol. 1 by John Pendergast

In 1604, Sieur De Monts wrote, “The Indians speak of a beautiful river far to the South, which they call Merrimac.” The common thread that runs through the history of Lowell is the Merrimac River. The river attracted European explorers and colonists in the seventeenth century, as it had attracted various Native American tribes before them. The fertile land around the river made agriculture profitable for many years, but it was the Merrimac’s potential for water power and transportation that opened the area up to industry in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Reminders of the Industrial Revolution can still be seen and felt in Lowell today, but few reminders are more powerful than the photographs contained in this dynamic visual history. Photographers captured Lowell on film firsthand as it developed into one of the most powerful centers of industry in the world. They also photographed the people that made Lowell what it was and is; the images of their faces, homes, workplaces, and daily lives say more about the city’s history than words ever can.

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University of Massachusetts Lowell by Marie Franks

The University of Massachusetts Lowell owes its origins to two institutions founded in the 1890s. In 1894, the state authorized the founding of the Lowell Normal School, an institution that trained teachers for the state’s public school system. In 1895, the state also authorized the founding of Lowell Textile School to encourage research in new technologies related to textile manufacture. Over the decades, the two schools on opposite sides of the Merrimack River grew. Lowell Normal became Lowell Teacher’s College in 1922 and then Lowell State College in 1965, and Lowell Textile became Lowell Technological Institute in 1950. In 1975, the state merged the two institutions to form the University of Lowell, which, in 1991, became part of the UMass system. University of Massachusetts Lowell draws from a rich array of historical images to honor the school’s past and present and preserve the memory of students, faculty, staff, buildings, and events.

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Lowell Vol. 2 by John Pendergast

When we think of Lowell, Massachusetts, and the historic part the city played in the American Industrial Revolution we often conjure up powerful images of mills and machinery. But what about the daily lives of the citizens and workers, their festivals, and their simpler recreations like park ball games and family events? The waters of the Merrimac run deep and have always been a source of vitality and strength for the people of Lowell. This sequel to the highly acclaimed Lowell continues our journey—this time into the more recent past of this amazing city. Older members of the community will appreciate this new pictorial history as a nostalgic window to a time when drugstore soda shops and drive-in movies were in their heyday. Younger generations will find the over 200 images presented here a unique and intriguing resource for connecting with their roots.

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Free copies

Copies at UML:

UMass Lowell has a number of free copies available of all four books for participants.  To get a copy of the books you must register for the program.  You will only be able to pick up the next book we are reading.  When you come to the next program you will be given a copy of the next book.   We are putting aside copies specifically for UMass Lowell students who wish to participate in the program as extra credit for classes.

 

Public Libraries:

Many of the public libraries in the towns surrounding UMass Lowell have been given copies of the books for participants to check out.  Please check your local library catalog to see if there is a copy available to you.  If not, ask the librarian about getting a copy.