The Voice of Industry was a worker-run newspaper published by young American women, who came to work in the factories at the height of the Industrial Revolution. It was printed in Lowell, Mass., the site of some of the largest protests against the new, profit-driven economic system which we today call “capitalism.” In the 1840s, these protests were concerned mainly with the dramatic loss of independence felt by workers, as they were made to sell their labor for a wage. While the Voice was primarily concerned with this dramatic social change, the paper also addressed itself to a range of social issues, including slavery, capital punishment, and war.
Shortly after it was established, the Voice became the herald of the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association, the first union of working women in America. Under the influence of the young labor leader Sarah Bagley, the Association’s first president, the paper was an uncompromising advocate for women’s rights, publishing pieces about marriage, suffrage, and equality.
This website features articles and poetry from the Voice of Industry, and digital copies of the original issues. It was assembled and produced by Rajeev Ruparell who found the Voice while he was a student in Boston. Impressed with the paper, he spent several months digitizing and re-typing much of the content, which was necessary due to the poor condition of the original. Ruparell has worked as a lawyer and is currently working on a number of non-profit projects in Toronto.
Pullquotes from Newspaper