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The Murder of Mary Bean

Berengera Caswell [?], ca. 1849

Berengera Caswell [?], ca. 1849

Item 29132 info
Maine Historical Society

With two of her sisters, Berengera Caswell (1828-1849), like thousands of young New England women, traveled to the textile factories seeking an independence and cash-paying work previous generations of women rarely experienced.

Girls in past generations spent their days spinning thread, weaving cloth, and making candles and other household products.

By the early 19th century in more settled areas, these goods were affordable and readily available for purchase. With less household tasks to do, factory work permitted young women to be an economic asset rather than an economic drain.

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