Child Labor, 1882

by Laurel | January 20th, 2007

[Some of my family (Clarks) were in Holyoke during this period of rapid gowth and probably had children working in some of these places. Often families had few choices, as in the case of the Clark family, where the male head of household died very young. From the Holyoke Transcript, December 1882.]

Four Hundred and Nine More Children
at Work than in 1881.

Truant-officer Doyle has completed the mill census for 1882, which discloses some very interesting figures and to all who are at all interested in noting the rapid growth of the city, will prove an entertaining document. The report gives the total number of children, between the ages of 10 and 16 years, employed in 43 of the local manufactories as follows: Albion 8; Alpaca 288; Blanket 35; Beebe & Webber, 23; Beebe & Holbrook, 1; Blank Book, 5; Butterick & Flanders, 1; Buchanan & Bolt, 3; Crocker, 1; Chemical, 15; Connor Bros., 43; Excelsior, 2; Germania, 36; Holyoke Glazed Paper Co., 4; Hampden Glazed Paper Co., 1; Holyoke Envelope Co., 12; Holyoke Machine Co., 1; Holyoke Paper Co., 2; Hadley Thread Co., 177; Hampden Cotton Co., 93; Lyman Mills, 364; Merrick Thread Co., 196; Massasoit, 3; Massachusetts Screw Co., 14; Mackintosh Dye Works, 3; Newton Paper Co., 9; Nonotuck Paper Co., 5; Nichols Roll Works, 2; Parsons Paper Co., 1; Prentiss Wire Works, 1; Riverside Paper Co., 1; Tuttle Rubber Works, 3; Skinner Silk Mill, 37; Seymour Cutlery Works, 17; Syms & Dudley Paper Co., 6; Union Paper Co., 1; Valley Paper Co., 1; Winona Paper Co., 12; Wauregan Paper Co., 2; Whiting Paper Co., 6; Whitmore Manufacturing Co., 6; Warp Mill, 45; J.D. Whitmore Manufacturing, 15.

All told there are 1501 children employed in the mills this year to 1192 during 1881 or a gain of 408. The abnormal growth of the city is still further shown by comparing the mill records of 1880 and the census of the present year. The report of the former year shows that there were only 700 minors between the ages of 10 and 16 years employed in the mills, and in two years the census shows a gain of over 200 percent.

The census by years shows only 15 children of 10 years of age that are at work against 26 for last year, 84 eleven years old against 57, 113 twelve against 118, 235 thirteen against 184, 406 fourteen against 261, 432 fifteen against 345, and 194 sixteen against 201 for 1881.

Related Links
Timeline of Child Labor Law
Holyoke Industry, 1879 (Companies)
Holyoke Industry, 1892 (Companies)

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Suggested Holyoke Books

Mountain Park -- The Holyoke destination we all loved.

Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College, Postcard History by Donna Albino. Many Holyoke women have attended Mount Holyoke. Author also maintains an amazing MHC website based upon her personal collection.

Holyoke - Chicopee, A Perspective

Holyoke-Chicopee: A Perspective, by Ella Merkel DiCarlo. DiCarlo, a former Transcript columnist offers a fascinating compilation of her essays. Published in 1982, this out-of-print book is worth looking for in the aftermarket.


Holyoke, by Craig Della Penna. The first Holyoke book in the Arcadia series, published in 1997.

Belle Skinner Collection

Belle Skinner Collection, by Ruth Isabel Skinner. Published in 1933, this book is long out of print but copies are still available in the aftermarket.

Mitch Epstein: Family Business

Mitch Epstein: Family Business Published in 2003, available in the aftermarket. Epstein's furniture.