The Maine Public Broadcasting Network
Maine Public Radio
Maine Public Classical
Hard Work
May 19, 2012  
Image of 19th century shoe factory workers in Lewi

This Maine Community Films piece features the 19th century writings of working women, exploring the working and living conditions for women in Maine’s shops and factories during the 1800s.

In 1888 the Bureau of Industrial and Labor Statistics commissioned Flora Haines of Bangor to travel throughout Maine to interview women about their work. She handed out questionnaires that queried the women about workplace health and safety issues, work hours and wages, and living conditions in the boarding houses. The women’s written responses provide a rare glimpse into the lives of these working women. The women not only describe their hard work, long hours, and low pay, but they also offer their own explanations for these difficult conditions. Hard Work is an hour-long documentary that uses “voices” gathered and compiled in the Labor Bureau’s 1888 report to offer a glimpse into the lives of 19th century Maine women factory workers.

Hard Work was produced by Jim Sharkey of Folk Films.

To purchase a video visit the Folk Films website


Go to the MPBN Community Films Web page


[Hard Work originally aired on MPBN Community Films June 5, 2010.]


Become a Fan of the NEW MPBNNews Facebook page. Get news, updates and unique content to share and discuss:

Recommended by our audience on Facebook:
Copyright © 2016 Maine Public Broadcasting Network. All rights reserved.