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Lowell Massachusetts was founded in the 1820s as a planned manufacturing center for textiles and is located along the rapids of the Merrimack River, 25 miles northwest of Boston. By the 1850s Lowell had the largest industrial complex in the United States. The textile industry wove cotton produced in the South. In 1860, there were more cotton spindles in Lowell than in all eleven states combined that would form the Confederacy. Mind Amongst the Spindles is a selection of works from the Lowell Offering, a monthly periodical collecting contributed works of poetry and fiction by the female workers of the textile mills. The Lowell Mill Girls, as the workers were known, were young women aged 15-35. The Offering began in 1840 and lasted until 1845. As its popularity grew, workers contributed poems, ballads, essays and fiction. The authors often used their characters to report on conditions and situations in their lives and their works alternated between serious and farcical. (Introduction adapted from Wikipedia by MaryAnn)