This book was years in the making; I have accrued far more debts than I can
possibly rehearse—but with pleasure I acknowledge a few of them here.
A Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Stanford University enabled me to
cultivate this project in its earliest stages. At Georgetown University, Junior
and Senior Faculty Research Fellowships provided much- needed releases from
teaching to draft early chapters and revise the entire manuscript. A National En-
dowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship during 2007–8 was crucial,
supporting archival research that changed the course of the project.
I tested the book’s ideas in many conference presentations and invited lec-
tures. I am especially indebted to audiences at the following for feedback and
suggestions: the American Studies Department of the University of California,
Santa Cruz, and the English departments at the University of California, Davis,
Miami University, Brown University, Johns Hopkins University, and Carnegie
Mellon University. A year as a Beatrice Bain Fellow at uc Berkeley provided an
invigorating feminist community for debating the book’s theoretical approach
and critical claims.
The expert assistance of staff at the Library of Congress, the American Anti-
quarian Society, the American Textile History Museum, the Center for Lowell
History at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, the New York Public Li-
brary, and the Bancroft Library helped me locate relevant materials. I am in-
debted to Judith Ranta, historian and librarian at the Center for Lowell His-
tory, whose painstaking efforts indexing and creating bibliographies of factory
women’s writings aided me in navigating archives and identifying sources for
my first two chapters.
Although I didn’t start this book while I was a graduate student, if it hadn’t
been for uc Berkeley I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have written it. The inspira-
tion and example of many teachers, especially Carolyn Porter, Michael Rogin,
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