George Kenngott, in his 1912 sociological study of immigration in Lowell, called the Portuguese a "quiet and well behaved people." They were also considered a reliable workforce and, as a result, experienced steady employment throughout the textile industry in Lowell. When faced with labor/management confrontation however, they did not hesitate to respond with confidence and solidarity.
During the strike of 1903, for example, the Portuguese organized themselves separately from the other ethnic groups. They survived because they had family members working in non textile jobs and had saved a portion of their weekly paychecks. As a result, few Portuguese applied for strike aid, preferring to take care of themselves and their community. In the 1912 strike, they once again relied on their own resources to develop a co-op program for food distribution to affected Portuguese workers.
To provide broader and more integrated services to the University community including students, faculty, and the general public, the Directors of the University of Massachusetts five-campus libraries established a series of “Initiatives” including Digitization. In response the University of Massachusetts Lowell – Center for Lowell History designed the “Lowell History Digital Project”. If you are interested in Photographic Reproduction Services, Janine Whitcomb.
This Collection possibly represents the work of one man, but his identity is unknown. We do know that during this time, a photographer named Silva worked in the Lowell area, but the city directories do not list him by name. These images document aspects of life in the Portuguese community from 1905 to 1930. The exact identities of the people in the photos remain a mystery: it is believed that the photos depict members of the Portuguese community who came to Lowell from the Azores, Madeira, Cape Verde, and continental Portugal. Like many immigrants to Lowell, the Portuguese came looking for jobs. They found employment in the textile mills, foundries and tanneries.
The Leite Collection of Lowell Portuguese Photographs were provided to the Center for Lowell History by John Leite.
John Leite of Local 300 (Lowell, MA) has been an active member of the AFM since 1955. He’s enjoyed an impressively long career of touring, performing, and backing up artists including Paul Anka, Louis Armstrong, Frankie Avalon, Tony Bennett, Della Reese, Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Frankie Valli, The Supremes, The Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas, The Everly Brothers, Barry Manilow, Anthony Newley, and many others.
Parents wedding Fernando and Adalice Violante Sousa Leite Fernando and Adalice Loureiro
Loureiro 8/27/1944, Lowell Belarmino de Cunha Leite (Adalice's Uncle was Best Man
and His Wife Violante was Maid of Honor
1st Anniversary of Adalice and Fernando
with his parents Antonio Augusto de Silva, Rosa
de Freitas de Melo and Rachel
and Antonio Leite Loureiro at Lynch Beach with with Adalice
with a neighborhood from Chapel St, Lowell MA and Antonio Leite Loureiro
Antonio LeiteLoureiro in a Portuguese Antonio and his mother Adalice LeiteLoureiro
Procession on Gorham St in Lowell Ma and two unknown friends
Adalice's Brother Aldemar de Cunha Aldemar de Cunha Leite with his daughter-in-law
Leite with his wife Maria Lourdes Leite and wife Maria Lourdes Leite, sister Adalice Lourdes Leite
holding her granddaughter Elsa Leite and her husband Fernando de Freitas Loureiro
with his son Elpido J Leite and his wife
Aldemar de Cunha Leite with his daughter- Aldemar de Cunha Leite with his wife Maria Lourdes Leite
in-law and wife Maria Lourdes Leite on daughter-in-law and son Elpido J Leite holding his daughter
Center St. Lowell Ma in 1960 Elsa Leite