source: The boot and shoe industry in Massachusetts as a vocation for
Shoe-making began in Massachusetts during the first half of the
seventeenth century. At that time, shoes were made individually in the
home. Women and men each had
Massachusetts was the leading shoe-producing state for thee next
three hundred years. By the beginning of the twentieth century,
factories in Massachusetts employed an average number of 80,000
workers—or nearly half the total employed in this industry in the
The Northshore of Massachusetts was the hub of the shoe industry
with the cities of Lynn, Salem, Beverly, Marblehead, Peabody, and
Danvers, as well as Newburyport and Haverhill leading the way.
However, other towns, including Hudson and New Bedford, also played
a major role in the shoe industry. TRUE???
Throughout the Northshore, several thousand workers were also
employed in shoe-related industries, producing cut stock and shoe
findings and tanning and finishing leather. Peabody, for example, had
only one shoe factory in the early twentieth century, but employed
4,000 people in the tanning and finishing industry.
Beverly, another major shoe producer, was also home to the United
Shoe Machinery Works, “which [drew] largely for its operatives on the
population of 18,600 at its doors. A few women and girls work for the "
United " at machine work. At its peak, the “Shoe” as it was known,
employed ______ workers. It finally closed its door in _____>
Shoemaking is an industry of no small or recent growth ; from
its humble beginnings in the first half of the seventeenth
century it has come to employ in the United States, according
to the census of 1910, 185,000 people and to show an invested
capital of nearly $200,000,000. x Massachusetts alone
employed in the year 1911 an average number of 80,000
workers, representing nearly half the total number for the
country at large. If to these figures be added those for workers
employed in the closely allied boot and shoe stock and shoe findings
trades we have a total of nearly 90,000. This first place as a shoe-
producing State has been maintained by Massachusetts for nearly
three hundred years; and throughout two of these centuries women
have been closely connected with the industry.
LYNN AND THE NORTH SHORE SHOE TOWNS.
In any view of the shoemaking industry the towns of the North Shore
of Massachusetts take the first place in history and in interest. Two of
the shoe towns Newburyport and Haverhill which together employ
12,500 shoe operatives, this study must largely neglect.
In six of the North Shore towns Lynn, Salem, Beverly, Marblehead,
Peabody, and Danvers shoemaking forms the dominant interest. In
1911 there were 165 factories making the complete product, with an
average of 19,000 operatives ; in addition, cut stock and shoe findings
factories employed over 3,000, and tanning and finishing leather about
Peabody, a growing town of nearly 16,000 people, has but one shoe
factory, but it has three for cut stock ; while in the tanning and
finishing of leather it employs more than 4,000 persons. The very
small per cent of women workers in Peabody has not been considered
in this study. Danvers, with a population of about 10,000, has six
factories, with not more than 500 operatives altogether, while
Marblehead, with its dozen or more factories of small output, employs
an average number of 750. These towns also were not included in the
special study of the Lynn group.
Of the three main-line towns, Salem, with its 13 factories, employs
about 2,600 workers twice as many as Beverly, with its 16 factories
and 1,300 workers. But Beverly, though diligent in making shoes,
has a large rival industry in the United Shoe Machinery Works,
which draws largely for its operatives on the population of
18,600 at its doors. A few women and girls work for the "
United " at machine work. The 1,260 shoe operatives are for
the most part in five or six factories of fair size, one of which
was selected for special study. <img class="alignright"
_shoe_hudson_reduced.jpg" alt="George Houghton's Shoe
Manufactory, Hudson, Mass." />
Of the North Shore towns Lynn is far the largest. Its population in
1910 was nearly 90,000 ; within 30 years it had more than doubled,
and within 10 years (1900-1910) there was an addition of nearly
21,000, an increase of 30 per cent. Lynn is a prosperous city, making
no pretense at beauty, except where it touches the sea and the long
boot-shaped promontory of Nahant. Churches are numerous, but with
the exception of the group of public buildings and some 14
BOOT AND SHOE INDUSTRY AS A VOCATION FOR WOMEN. 15
business blocks there are few structures of stone or brick. Hasty and
cheap building has been the rule since the great fire of 1889.
ew2a_50.jpg" alt="Aerial view of the Beverly Shoe Machine
In order to mass produce all of these shoes, specialized machinery was
required. The city of Beverly was well known as the center of shoe
machinery manufacturing and, "though diligent in making shoes, has a
large rival industry in the United Shoe Machinery Works, which draws
largely for its operatives on the population of 18,600 at its doors. A
few women and girls work for the 'United' at machine work."