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The Life and Writings of Betsey Chamberlain: Native American Mill Worker (review)

The Life and Writings of Betsey Chamberlain: Native American Mill Worker (review) The Life and Writings of Betsey Chamberlain: Native American Mill Worker. By Judith A. Ranta. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2003. 284 pp. $47.50/$18.95 paper. Reviewed by Lori Jacobson, State University of New York at Buffalo Labor history and theory owes a great debt to the factory women of the Lowell, Massachusetts, textile mills whose literary accomplishments hold a well-recognized place in the tradition of writing by ordinary, working women. Judith Ranta enhances Lowell scholarship with her meticulously researched book The Life and Writings of Betsey Chamberlain: Native American Mill Worker. Ranta is a tenacious archivist, and her book rescues Betsey Guppy Chamberlain (1797­ 1886) from obscurity by collecting the majority of her contributions to the Lowell Offering and New England Offering (some thirty-four pieces making up just over a third of the book) and by setting Chamberlain's writing in historical, biographical, and critical contexts. Some of the book's value, however, is undermined by Ranta's rather strained attempts to place Chamberlain in a Native American literary tradition. Ranta appears to have approached her scholarship with two predrawn conclusions: that the hardships of Chamberlain's life were due largely to her native ancestry and that these hardships flavored her writings in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Legacy University of Nebraska Press

The Life and Writings of Betsey Chamberlain: Native American Mill Worker (review)

Legacy , Volume 21 (1) – Jun 25, 2004

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 The University of Nebraska.
ISSN
1534-0643
Publisher site
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Abstract

The Life and Writings of Betsey Chamberlain: Native American Mill Worker. By Judith A. Ranta. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2003. 284 pp. $47.50/$18.95 paper. Reviewed by Lori Jacobson, State University of New York at Buffalo Labor history and theory owes a great debt to the factory women of the Lowell, Massachusetts, textile mills whose literary accomplishments hold a well-recognized place in the tradition of writing by ordinary, working women. Judith Ranta enhances Lowell scholarship with her meticulously researched book The Life and Writings of Betsey Chamberlain: Native American Mill Worker. Ranta is a tenacious archivist, and her book rescues Betsey Guppy Chamberlain (1797­ 1886) from obscurity by collecting the majority of her contributions to the Lowell Offering and New England Offering (some thirty-four pieces making up just over a third of the book) and by setting Chamberlain's writing in historical, biographical, and critical contexts. Some of the book's value, however, is undermined by Ranta's rather strained attempts to place Chamberlain in a Native American literary tradition. Ranta appears to have approached her scholarship with two predrawn conclusions: that the hardships of Chamberlain's life were due largely to her native ancestry and that these hardships flavored her writings in

Journal

LegacyUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Jun 25, 2004

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