Lowell Mill Girl Letters

April 1849

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL 
CENTER FOR LOWELL HISTORY

SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN ART ARCHIVES 
LILLY MARTIN SPENCER COLLECTION 
OHIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY

WRITTEN BY MARY EMERSON  
TO ANQELIQUE MARTIN

This letter is damaged with many missing pieces

                                     Lowell, Mass April 1849

Most respected Madam

             I have not forgotten you, although I dreamed that you, (most justly too) had considered my correspondences, amid your numerous engagements, a beneath your notice, and memory. Precisely what I wrote I know not, but this, not very flattering sensation has ever clung to me, that it was about as near nothing as anything can be.  I was not quite well, just then, either in body or mind and when one strand of  
my sensitive soul is jarred it were rain to heat for harmony. Most truly I adopt the language of my young friend to whom I read a portion of your letter, “I thank God,” said she, “that there are such women as Mrs. Martin in the world, although I may not be fearless enough to be one of them”, You Madam, have a mission upon the earth, may God give your strength to follow your head in [----] upon the consciousness of duty done. I know the position you want, to be in the main right and I frankly say so to all; but like my friend and [writer], I am too shrinking, too fearful, of the breath of censure, to dare take the position, that you so nobly fill, even if I claim the talent. Too long have I reported with the Mimosa, too long have I inhaled its fragrance, I am sick, heartsick, of oppression, monopoly and wrong, and I do so love to leave them All behind and linger around the green [----] and all the [----] flowers that bloom along the pathway [----].  
There things from which the world long turns softly away in which  
  
he [----] yearns of beauty  in which bears no throbbing [----]are the many things from which I gather [----] of a [----] life; the

May 25, 1850

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL 
CENTER FOR LOWELL HISTORY

SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN ART ARCHIVES 
LILLY MARTIN SPENCER COLLECTION 
OHIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY

WRITTEN BY MARY EMERSON  
TO ANQELIQUE MARTIN

This letter is damaged with many missing pieces

                              Lowell, Mass May 25, 1850

Dear Mrs. Martin

                              Please accept this rather tardy acknowledgement your very “ kind letter” which a press of engagements at home has prevented until now. And, also, of a paper, which was welcome, first that I had 
but been able to retain one containing the minutes of the convention and I wish myself to keep a copy by [----] that I may be able, in after life to revue to this first real outbreak of women for her God given rights, secondly for your kind remembrance of one so humble and so far away; - half stirred by the din, not have buried in the confusion of a life of Lord and struggle. 
  
It does indeed rejoice my heart that the women of the important west of opening her eyes, if we of the  
maturer east, do sleep, & inwardly are resting as cesurely in our vague and unerring dreams as though the  
dust of ages had not gathered upon our breast. What women think! Women know right of the political  
[----] of her country; she analyzes the laws by which she is governed! And what is more monstrous than all the rest, (Thrown about it the veil of Darkness) she, little fury, last formed mortal, have the presumption to deem herself competent to assist in the formation of those laws; Tell us not in Gorth? publish it not in the  
streets of New England, but another Capt Rynders should step out, who will lead as forcefully with the women as that brave man and champion of New York has done with the niggars . What woman does think, though, save a few radical anomalies, who have the “queerest minds in the world” or no minds at all?” But wonder and behold; there is little curl of smoke arriving which does not emanate from a cigar, (a very rare incident in our goodly city) it may prove a volcano yet, who knows? It may put old Vermont’s tired face to the blush but I will [----], but calmly sit me down and await the issue. Well all this is about a little debating club that has secretly been organized in this city, comprising most of the political lions, and next week they are to discern a question which stands something in this wine – Resolved the interests of the country are required by non-admission of women to the “ladies franchise.” Perhaps it is the under-curent [----] of the great ball you have set rolling in the west, and it may yet up root our great [----] of Mans Predjudice, and possibly startle some of our fine ladies out of their morning naps, but I take it will not be so rude. Miss Bagly is yet in Philadelphia. Mrs. Child I have not seen for seveal months but I hope to have that pleasure next week as I expect to be at Boston.

In regard to the publications you mentioned, I have no means of an acquaintance and once save by an occasional contract any numbers which, you can spare will be thankfully received as will also a letter, whence you have a moment to spare one where [----] whom you are so right. With much respect, I remain your affectionate Daughter in the cause of Right and Humanity. Mary Emerson

November 1, 1850

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL 
CENTER FOR LOWELL HISTORY

SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN ART ARCHIVES 
LILLY MARTIN SPENCER COLLECTION 
OHIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY

WRITTEN BY MARY EMERSON  
TO ANQELIQUE MARTIN

This letter is damaged with many missing pieces

My Dear Mrs. Martin

                                 Being at home again I carefully take my pen in acknowledge the receipt of your king letter, and to let you know, (though I suppose you have long since heard of it.) That the first blow of [----], for her God given rights, in old Mass is struck. Yes, the “Woman’s Rights Convention” is over. Men and women have [----], men and women have frowned, and sneared, and pshawed, and turned up their noses but, the world went on [----] and [----]. I regret both for your sake and my own, that I am not able to give you our organizations report of the convention, for I know you would rejoice to meet it even my own humble word [----] I am. But regret business of a [----] called [----] they will give you. I think the proceedings will be published in pamphlet form, and if not I shall certainly send you some. I believe it was considered the greatest collection of Female intellect ever together in New England, if not in the know world. Addresses were delievered by Mrs. Mott, Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Tindale, Lucy Stone, and others, and amid the calls of these noble women were heard the thunder of a Foster and a Douglass, the earnest and persuasive treaties of a Phillips an a Garrision, and the [----] of a Channing’s eloquence. The hall was crowded day and evening, and many turned away unable to gain admittance. (I hope you will excuse my numerous blunders  
for I am in great haste, and don’t [----] but Mr. Burr Thurrolazyed we’re lost ere to write every thing wrong, at my [----] good stock of Mr. time.) Well, Ohio and Mass have [----] follow their example for whether woman needs the right of suffrage and the privilege of the professions [----] need [----] have [----] that she [--- --] equal with his [----] and to [----] to the ten thousand [----] she is yearly subjected. I am very [----]  
to the [----] those “Thoughts” you purpose [----]so pray, do not forget me! And hope [----] to hear from you by letter, whenever you have leisure [----] to devote 
                                   From your affectionate daughter  
                                   Mary Emerson 
  
Lowell, Mass Nov. 1st /50 

October 18, 1851

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL 
CENTER FOR LOWELL HISTORY

SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN ART ARCHIVES 
LILLY MARTIN SPENCER COLLECTION 
OHIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY

WRITTEN BY MARY EMERSON  
TO ANQELIQUE MARTIN

                                   Lowell, Mass Oct 18th /51

Dear Mrs. Martin

Your letter and pamphlets came duly to hands for which please accept my earnest thanks. I –of the letter according to your request. Our Women’s Rights Convention, as if you please, as our gentlemanly Editors have it – The Hen Convention came off [eeearching] to makee, on the 15th and 16. I was present (for which 
privilege I thank God) but to attempt any description thereof, that would do any thing like justice is beyond the daring of my feeble pen, You will form some conception of the [--ing] interest when I tell you that hundreds stood upon their feet during each separate session, which lasted full two hours and a half so interested in the exercises as to preserve the most perfect order. But you say “Why, not get a hall large enough to seat them? Why my dear Madam, we had the largest in Worcester, which seats, I am told, twenty-five hundred, and then the aisles were filled besides. Speeches were made by the President – Mrs. P.W. Davis, Mrs. Nichols, Editor of No. Brattleborough Vt., True Democrat, Miss Laney Morse, Mrs. Coe, 
Mr. W. Phillips of Action, Dr. Channing, Dr. Harriet – Hunt of Boston, Mrs. Rowe, Miss Brown of N.Y. 
Elizabeth Oaks Smith, and others. Letters read from Harriet Martineau, Estelle Simon-Lewis, Ralph W. Emerson, Horace Mann, Henry Ward Beecher, and many others. 
But you will see all this and much more by my – prints. The proceeding will soon be around. Pamphlet form, and you will have the pleasure of reading the addresses, for I know it will be a great please to you. I did not send you the proceedings last year, as none were sent to our city and I did not get any myself, we -- that it is not on this year. You spoke of sending me one (your Ohio convention, I mean) of yours pray do if convenient, for I know of no other way I shall be able to obtain one the possession of one would afford me great pleasure. You spoke of Miss Bagley. She is now Mrs. Durno of Albany, N.Y. She has a friend in the city who is going to Albany next week. I have intrusted your pamphlet in her hands, together with your request and compliments, for conveyance to her. Surely, this course of ours has enlisted some, ay the very brightest stars that are now shinning in the intellectual heavens. Is so remarked at the Convention that Woman, as a public character, was yet in her  
infancy, that she could, as yet boast of no Phillips, and no Channing. But, thank God, she can boast of the good right hand of a Phillips and a Channing, that is willingly; and lovingly extended, to lead her up, where she may stand side by side with them.

Shall I not hear from you savior 
            I remain  
                                  Your for All Good 
                                  Mary Emerson