Eliza Jane Cate

Eliza Jane Cate (1812–1884) was an American writer. She worked in several cotton mills in New England and wrote fiction that appeared in The Lowell Offering, the New England Offering, and other publications. She also wrote eight books.[1][2] She is best known for her collection of fiction based on the lives of female mill operatives, titled Lights and Shadows of Factory Life in New England.

LifeEdit

Eliza Jane Cate was born in 1812 in Sanbornton, New Hampshire.[3] Her father was a carpenter, mason, and fought in the War of 1812.[4] She went to work in cotton mills in Manchester, New Hampshire and Lowell, Massachusetts.[5] She is considered a Lowell mill girl and published a considerable amount of writing about factory life. Cate died in 1884.[6]

CareerEdit

While in Lowell, Cate wrote for the Lowell Offering, in which she published under several pen names including "D," "Jennie," "Jane," "E. J. D," and "Frankin, NH."[7] Pieces such as “Leisure Hours of the Mill Girls” in the Lowell Offering of 1842 have been attributed to her.

She also wrote pieces for the Lowell Offering's successor, the New England Offering, including “Rights and Duties of Mill Girls.”[8] Her most well-known work is Lights and Shadows of Factory Life in New England, a series that appeared in The New World in 1843. The stories in it trace the lives of three different fictional women – Emma Hale, Helen Gould, and Kate Kimball—who come to work in the mills for different reasons. According to an advertisement for another of Cate's books, Lights and Shadows sold 20,000 copies.[9]

In addition to pieces in the Offering, she published in the Olive Branch, Godey's Lady's Book, and Peterson's Magazine. In 1859, a New Hampshire newspaper referred to her being "favorably and widely known in the world of letters under the nom de plum of 'The Author of Susy L.'s Diary."[10]

Harriet Hanson Robison claimed that Cate's "admirers called her 'the Edgeworth of New England,'" referring presumably to Maria Edgeworth, a popular Irish writer of the time.[11] In 1889, she was included on a list of "prominent American literary women;[12] however, her works are not widely read or well-known today.

WorksEdit

  • A Year with the Franklins: Or, To Suffer and be Strong (1846)
  • Lights and Shadows of Factory Life (1848)
  • Rural Scenes in New England (1848)
  • Jenny Ambrose; or, Life in the Eastern States (1866)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Wright, Carroll Davidson (1889). Reprints from the Annual Reports of the Massachusetts Bureau of Statistics of Labor: The working girls of Boston; The Canadian French in New England; Uniform hours of labor; Sunday labor; Fall River, Lowell & Lawrence; Art in industry. Wright & Potter Printing Company. p. 22.
  2. ^ Moran, William (2002-09-03). The Belles of New England: The Women of the Textile Mills and the Families Whose Wealth They Wove. Macmillan. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-312-30183-5.
  3. ^ Ranta, Judith A. (1999). Women and Children of the Mills: An Annotated Guide to Nineteenth-century American Textile Factory Literature. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-313-30860-4.
  4. ^ Ranta, Judith A. (1999). Women and Children of the Mills: An Annotated Guide to Nineteenth-century American Textile Factory Literature. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-313-30860-4.
  5. ^ Ranta, Judith A. (1999). Women and Children of the Mills: An Annotated Guide to Nineteenth-century American Textile Factory Literature. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-313-30860-4.
  6. ^ Ranta, Judith A. (1999). Women and Children of the Mills: An Annotated Guide to Nineteenth-century American Textile Factory Literature. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-313-30860-4.
  7. ^ Names and noms de plume of the writers in the Lowell offering. [Lowell, Mass.?]. 1902. pp. I. hdl:2027/uc1.c085346369.
  8. ^ Ranta, Judith A. (1999). Women and Children of the Mills: An Annotated Guide to Nineteenth-century American Textile Factory Literature. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-313-30860-4.
  9. ^ Benjamin, Park; Aldrich, James; Deming, Henry Champion; Mackay, James (1844). New World. J. Winchester.
  10. ^ "Correspondence of the Statesman". New Hampshire Statesman (Concord, New Hampshire). March 26, 1859.
  11. ^ Robinson, Harriet Jane Hanson (1898). Loom and Spindle: Or, Life Among the Early Mill Girls. With a Sketch of "The Lowell Offering" and Some of Its Contributors. T. Y Crowell. pp. 144. edgeworth .
  12. ^ "Some American Literary Women". The Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois). September 28, 1889.

External linksEdit