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DTStudy Lewiston/Lowell Factory Girl

DigiTrad:
FACTORY GIRL
LEWISTON FACTORY GIRL
NO MORE SHALL I WORK IN THE FACTORY
THE FACTORY GIRL


Related threads:
DTStudy: Factory Girl (23)
Lyr Req: Factory Girl (from Rita Connolly) (22)
(origins) Origins: Factory Girl (27)
happy? – Feb 18 (Lewiston Factory Girl) (4)


Joe Offer 18 Feb 06 - 04:32 PM
Joe Offer 18 Feb 06 - 05:01 PM
Joe Offer 18 Feb 06 - 05:47 PM
Joe Offer 19 Feb 06 - 03:15 AM
Abby Sale 19 Feb 06 - 12:27 PM
Abby Sale 19 Feb 06 - 12:28 PM
rich-joy 19 Feb 06 - 08:46 PM
GUEST,Marian 13 Nov 09 - 12:29 PM
Bill D 13 Nov 09 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,Marian 13 Nov 09 - 01:24 PM
Bill D 13 Nov 09 - 03:22 PM
GUEST,Peter 13 Oct 10 - 11:50 AM
Martha Burns 07 Dec 10 - 10:25 PM
GUEST,julia L 08 Dec 10 - 06:25 PM
Martha Burns 10 Dec 10 - 11:35 AM
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Subject: Lewiston/Lowell Factory Girl
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Feb 06 - 04:32 PM

This is an edited DTStudy thread, and all messages posted here are subject to editing and deletion.
This thread is intended to serve as a forum for corrections and annotations for the Digital Tradition song named in the title of this thread.

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NO MORE SHALL I WORK IN THE FACTORY

No more shall I work in the factory
To greasy up my clothes,
No more shall I work in the factory
With splinters in my toes.

cho: It's pity me, my darling,
It's pity me, I say,
It's pity me, my darling,
And carry me away.

( Repeat after each verse)

No more shall I hear those Bosses say
"Boys, you'd better doff."
No more shall I hear those Aossess say
"Spinners, you had better clean off"

No more shall I hear the drummer wheels
A-rolling over my head;
When factory girls are hard at work,
I'll be in my bed.

No more shall I hear the whistle blow,
To call me up so soon:
No more shall I hear the whistle blow
To call me from my home.

No more shall I see the super come,
All dressed up so fine:
For I know I'll marry a country boy
Before the year is round.

No more shall I wear the old black dress,
Greasy all around;
No more shall I wear the old black bonnet,
With holes all in the crown.

From Hard Hitting Songs, Guthrie et al
@work @factory @mill
filename[ NOMOFACT
TUNE FILE: NOMOFACT
CLICK TO PLAY
RG

LEWISTON FACTORY GIRL

When I set out for Lewiston,
Some factory for to find,
I left my native country,
And all my friends behind.

The factory bell begins to ring
And we must all obey;
And to our old employment go,
Or else be turned away.

Come all ye weary factory girls
I'll have you understand,
I'm going to leave the factory
And return to my native land.

No more I'll lay my bobbins up,
No more I'll take them down,
No more I'll clean my duty work
For I'm going out of town.

No more I'll oil my picker rods,
And scour up my loom;
No more I'll say to my overseer,
"May I stay out till noon?"

And since they've cut my wages down,
To nine shillings per week,
If I cannot better wages make,
5Some other place I'll seek.

Now soon you'll see me married
To a handsome little man,
'Tis then I'll say to you factory girls,
Come see me when you can.

From Jim Douglas
Collected from Susie Carr Young, Annie Marsden and Mary E. Hindle
@work @mill
filename[ LEWSFACT
TUNE FILE: LEWSFACT
CLICK TO PLAY
RG

PLEASE NOTE: Because of the volunteer nature of The Digital Tradition, it is difficult to ensure proper attribution and copyright information for every song included. Please assume that any song which lists a composer is copyrighted ©. You MUST aquire proper license before using these songs for ANY commercial purpose. If you have any additional information or corrections to the credit or copyright information included, please e-mail those additions or corrections to us (along with the song title as indexed) so that we can update the database as soon as possible. Thank You.
Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

No More Shall I Work in the Factory

DESCRIPTION: "When I set out for Lowell, some factory for to find, I left my native country And all my friends behind." The worker lives a life driven by the factory bell. She plans to leave the factory and go home. She will soon be married and live a freer life
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1915 (JAF Vol. 28)
KEYWORDS: work worker hardtimes home weaving factory technology
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Cohen-AFS1, pp. 15-18 "The Factory Girl" (1 text plus a reproduction of a broadside)
Greenway-AFP, pp. 122-124, "The Lowell Factory Girl" (1 text); pp. 125-126, "No More Shall I Work in the Factory" (1 text)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 331-332, "The Factory Girl" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 128, "The Factory Girl" (1 text)
DT, NOMOFACT

RECORDINGS:
Dorsey Dixon, "The Factory Girl" (Testament t-3301, a version adapted by Dixon from a version sung by his sister Nancy)
Mike Seeger, "A Factory Girl" (on MSeeger02)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "A Laundry Song" (lyrics)
cf. "The Laddie Wi' the Tarry Trews" (theme)
NOTES: The oldest version of this song seems to be the "Lowell Factory Girl" text quoted in the description; this broadside is very full. Greenway believes this version originated before 1840; the wages mentioned fit 1830, and the Panic of 1837 killed off many of the small New England farms, meaning that the factory girl would have no home to which to return. Cohen dates his broadside print to the 1840s.
The localized "Lowell Factory Girl" gradually spread and generalized, producing the more universal text "No More Shall I Work in the Factory." As the latter consists almost entirely of verses found in the former, however, they can surely be considered one song.
This should not be confused with the J. A. Phillips song "The Factory Girl" (c. 1895), which begins, "She wasn't the least bit pretty, And only the least bit gay." - RBW
Last updated in version 3.5
File: Grnw122

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: DT Correction: Factory Girl (Lomax)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Feb 06 - 05:01 PM

The version in Lomax & Lomax, ABFS, is almost the same as what's in the Digital Tradition, which got it from Hard-Hitting Songs for Hard-Hit People (which got it from Lomax & Lomax and re-titled it).
Here is my corrected transcription of the lyrics (very minor corrections in punctuation and spelling).

The Factory Girl
(NO MORE SHALL I WORK IN THE FACTORY)

No more shall I work in the factory
To greasy up my clothes,
No more shall I work in the factory
With splinters in my toes.
    cho: It's pity me, my darling,
    It's pity me, I say,
    It's pity me, my darling,
    And carry me away.

No more shall I hear those bosses say,
"Boys, you'd better daulf."*
No more shall I hear those bosses say,
"Spinners, you had better clean off."

No more shall I hear the drummer wheels
A-rolling over my head;
When factory girls are hard at work,
I'll be in my bed.

No more shall I hear the whistle blow
To call me up so soon;
No more shall I hear the whistle blow
To call me from my home.

**No more shall I see the super come,
All dressed up so fine;
For I know I'll marry a country boy
Before the year is round.

No more shall I wear the old black dress,
Greasy all around;
No more shall I wear the old black bonnet,
With holes all in the crown.

From American Ballads and Folk Songs (1934, John A. Lomax & Alan Lomax) - source not identified.
TUNE FILE: NOMOFACT
CLICK TO PLAY
RG


*Daulf = doff????
As usual, the tune in the DT is correct. It's a rare day when Dick Greenhaus makes a mistake in transcribing a tune. His accuracy on tunes is phenomenal.
The tune in the Digital Tradition is exactly what's in Hard-Hitting Songs for Hard-Hit People, in the Key of E.
Lomax & Lomax has the same tune, but in the Key of F.
**In the second version in Greenway's American Folksongs of Protest, this verse is:
    No more shall I see the super come,
    All dressed up so proud;
    For I know I'll marry a country boy
    Before the year is out.
The version in Greenway is noted that it's from "People's Songs Library." The text is otherwise almost the same as in Lomax & Lomax.


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Subject: ADD: The Lowell Factory Girl
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Feb 06 - 05:47 PM

Look how close this one is to the Lewiston song. Lewiston, by the way, is in Maine. Lowell is in northern Massachusetts. The National Park Service did a wonderful job of preserving several old textile mills at Lowell National Historical Park.


THE LOWELL FACTORY GIRL

When I set out for Lowell,
Some factory for to find,
I left my native country,
And all my friends behind.

REFRAIN:
Then sing hit-re-i-re-a-re-o
Then sing hit-re-i-re-a.


But now I am in Lowell,
And summon'd by the bell,
I think less of the factory
Than of my native dell.

The factory bell begins to ring,
And we must all obey,
And to our old employment go,
Or else be turned away.

Come all ye weary factory girls,
I'll have you understand,
I'm going to leave the factory
And return to my native land.

No more I'll put my bonnet on
And hasten to the mill,
While all the girls are working hard,
Here I'll be lying still.

No more I'll lay my bobbins up,
No more I'll take them down;
No more I'll clean my dirty work,
For I'm going out of town.

No more I'll take my piece of soap,
No more I'll go to wash,
No more my overseer shall say,
"Your frames are stopped to doff."

Come all you little doffers
That work in the Spinning room;
Go wash your face and comb your hair,
Prepare to leave the room.

No more I'll oil my picker rods,
No more I'll brush my loom,
No more I'll scour my dirty floor
All in the Weaving room.

No more I'll draw these threads
All through the harness eye;
No more I'll say to my overseer,
Oh! dear me, I shall die.

No more I'll get my overseer
To come and fix my loom,
No more I'll say to my overseer
Can't I stay out 'till noon?

Then since they've cut my wages down
To nine shillings per week,
If I cannot better wages make,
Some other place I'll seek.

No more he'll find me reading,
No more he'll see me sew,
No more he'll come to me and say
"Such works I can't allow."

I do not like my overseer,
I do not mean to stay,
I mean to hire a Depot-boy
To carry me away.

The Dress-room girls, they needn't think
Because they higher go,
That they are better than the girls
That work in the rooms below.

The overseers they need not think,
Because they higher stand;
That they are better than the girls
That work at their command.

'Tis wonder how the men
Can such machinery make,
A thousand wheels together roll
Without the least mistake.

Now soon you'll see me married
To a handsome little man,
'Tis then I'll say to you factory girls,
Come and see me when you can.


—Broadside in Harris Collection, Brown University.


from American Folksongs of Protest, John Greenway, 1953
(no tune available)


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Subject: add: Factory Girl
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 03:15 AM

I transcribed this from what I hear on the Babes in the Mill CD, as sung by Nancy Dixon and Dorsey Dixon.

Factory Girl

Yonder stands that spinning room boss,
He looks so fair and stout;
I hope he'll marry a factory girl
Before this year goes out.

CHORUS
Pity me all day,
Pity me, I pray;
Pity me, my darlin',
Take me far away.

I bid you factory girls farewell,
Come see me if you can;
For I'm a-gonna quit this factory work
And marry a nice young man.
CHORUS

No more I hear that whistle blow,
The sound of it I hate;
No more I hear that boss man say,
"Young girl, you are too late."
CHORUS

CHORUS
Pity me all day,
Pity me, I pray;
Pity me, my darlin',
Take me far away.

I bid you factory girls farewell,
Come see me if you can;
For I'm a-gonna quit this factory work
And marry a nice young man.
CHORUS

No more I hear this roaring,
This roaring o'er my head;
While you poor girls are hard at work,
I'll be home in bed.
CHORUS


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Subject: RE: DTStudy Lewiston/Lowell Factory Girl
From: Abby Sale
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 12:27 PM

The Hedy West, from Hedy West vol 2, Vanguard, c1965. She learned it while preparing a Lomax MS at the L of C. Collected by Susie Carr Young from Mrs. Mary E. Hindle of Bangor, ME (The source for the above Lomaz cite). I usually sing her tune/chorus ("Sing dum dee wicker-dee dum dee way") with Jim Douglas' text. It's the only song I do not purely a cappella - I clap my thigh throughout (plus a few extra beats at the end) to try to give some sense of the mind-dullingness of the mill work. Seems to go over.

I did some reading on the Mill town & conditions but didn't take extensive notes. Here's what I have:

Lewiston, Maine was first settled in 1770 as a plantation. It became the 94th Maine town on 2/18/1795. In 1819 Michael Little established a small carding and fulling woolen mill. By the Civil War it was a major US textile center, a total "company town" & effectively controlled by one consortium. The Lewiston Bagging Mill announced its 13-hour day (45 minutes off at noon.) It may have been considered liberal…they had Sundays off.

It took in regional farm girls, often non-English speaking immigrants and worked them under near-slave conditions. Often, this was better than the conditions at home where no cash was available at all and they would return to the farm with needed cash (you know for luxury items like nails, pans, shoes, etc.)


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Subject: RE: DTStudy Lewiston/Lowell Factory Girl
From: Abby Sale
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 12:28 PM

Hedy's version:

Lewiston Factory Mill Girls 2

Come all ye Lewiston factory girls
I want you to understand,
I'm gonna leave this factory and
Return to my native land.

    Sing dum dee wicker-dee dum dee way,
    Sing dum dee wicker-dee dum dee way.

No more I'll take my shaker and shawl
And hurry to the mill;
No more I'll work so pesky hard
To earn a dollar bill.

No more I'll take my comb and go
To the glass to comb my hair;
No more the overseer'll say,
"What're ye doin' there."

No more I'll take my towel and soap
And go to the sink to wash;
No more the overseer'll say,
"You're makin' a terrible splosh."

No more I'll take my bobbins out
No more I'll put them in;
No more the overseer'll say,
"You're weavin' your cloth too thin."

No more I'll eat cold pudding,
No more I'll eat hard bread;
No more I'll eat those half-baked beans,
I vow they're killing me dead.

I'm goin' back to Boston, girls,
I'll live on Tremont Street;
And I want all ye factory girls
To come to my house and eat.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy Lewiston/Lowell Factory Girl
From: rich-joy
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 08:46 PM

Peggy Seeger sings a version of the "Lowell Factory Girl" on LP "The Female Frolic" (Argo, 1968) - using a text printed in John Greenway's "American Folksong of Protest" - her cover notes say :

" With the exception of mining, no industry has produced as many songs as the textile industry.
Much of the labour in these mills in both America and Britian was made up of women and small children. The beginning of the textile industry in America can be pinpointed at 1798, when a yarn-making mill was erected in Pawtucket by Samuel Slater, an English emigrant. Local labour soon began to drift in from neighbouring farms. The whole economic process of women entering the mills was soon forced, and return to the farms was impossible after 1837, a year which wiped out many New England small farmers. The rural haven disappearing, the urban labour communities began to solidify and become dependant on the mills. As the average weekly earnings of New England cotton operatives in 1830 was roughly the equivalent of nine shillings, we could say that this song dates approximately from 1820-1840.
The song is not as widespread as the idea - there are many pieces expressing the heartfelt wish to get away from the mill. It is not clear if "Lowell" refers to the Massachusetts textile town, or to the mill named after Francis Lowell, a man who was instrumental in mechanising the industry in 1815.   .. "


Cheers!
Rich-Joy


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Subject: RE: DTStudy Lewiston/Lowell Factory Girl
From: GUEST,Marian
Date: 13 Nov 09 - 12:29 PM

Has anyone else noticed something odd about the lyrics to this song?

The overall story seems to be happy: she is leaving the factory to marry (as indicated in one of the lines).

However, the chorus seems to refer to her dying: Pity me etc and carry me away.

Why would they be pitying her and carrying her away if she's off to a happy marriage?

So, I start to think, if she's dying, there are only two lines that don't make sense:
"When the factory girls are hard at work, I'll be home in bed" and "I'll marry a country boy before the year is out."


And, if you look at those lines, you can see that they may have been changed, thus:

"When the factory girls are hard at work, I'll be home in bed"    Note that the word "dead" would be a perfect rhyme here. e.g., "When the factory girls are hard at work, I'll be gone and dead"

Or it could even be "I'll be in my bed" i.e., "bed" as a euphemism for "grave."



And on this line "No more shall I see the super come, all dressed up so proud; For I know I'll marry a country boy before the year is out."   Note that "out" is an imperfect rhyme for "proud," which would actually rhyme perfectly with "shroud."



I'm wondering if someone took an older, sad song and changed it to be a happy song, while leaving the chorus intact, which now doesn't make sense.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy Lewiston/Lowell Factory Girl
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Nov 09 - 01:08 PM

hmmm, Marian... I wouldn't necessary interpret "carry me away" to suggest death or dying... it may simply be a literary device to say "get me out of here NOW".

She's obviously unhappy IN the factory...and whether the song suggests a real plan to leave & get married, or just wishful thinking, I couldn't say.

Hedy West's version is less ambiguous.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy Lewiston/Lowell Factory Girl
From: GUEST,Marian
Date: 13 Nov 09 - 01:24 PM

Yes, Bill D, I see what you mean.

I suppose the chorus could be addressed to her potential suitor, asking him to take pity on her and carry her away from the factory life.

I must just be morbid...!


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Subject: RE: DTStudy Lewiston/Lowell Factory Girl
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Nov 09 - 03:22 PM

*grin*... since 'morbid' is a common theme in folk, you may be forgiven.

Good song, anyway... I know several about the 'factory life'.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy Lewiston/Lowell Factory Girl
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 11:50 AM

The song that brought me to this thread is a rendition done by modern Maine folk-musician, Ethan Miller. He makes an obvious change in the last stanza by replacing "Boston" with "Canada." I believe he is from Allagash. His music is freely available here: archive.org


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Subject: RE: DTStudy Lewiston/Lowell Factory Girl
From: Martha Burns
Date: 07 Dec 10 - 10:25 PM

I like Hedy West's version, too. And thanks to Wolfgang's Vault, you can hear her performing it in concert at the Ash Grove, in LA, in 1967. The link to that particular concert is here..
Wolfgang's Vault is such an amazing resource. I posted to mudcat once about the 1963 Maybelle Carter concerts there. But there are so many other great concerts on Wolfgang's Vault. Check it out. Here's the list of concerts by performer.
Tip: You can keep your own playlist of songs, too, without having to buy the various downloads.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy Lewiston/Lowell Factory Girl
From: GUEST,julia L
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 06:25 PM

Peter- I have never heard that version. what can you tell us about Ethan Miller? dates? Could he have written that melody?
Thanks
Julia

I love Hedy's version too, esp the bit about the beans!

BTW the melody links don't seem to be working


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Subject: RE: DTStudy Lewiston/Lowell Factory Girl
From: Martha Burns
Date: 10 Dec 10 - 11:35 AM

About beans, if they're half-cooked, they'll continue to swell in your tummy and give you an awful stomach ache. Don't know if the verse is meant that literally, but it might as well be.


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