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The Boston Globe


Was Dickens’s Christmas Carol borrowed from Lowell’s mill girls?

A new discovery by literary scholars highlights an unexpected inspiration

The industrial city of Lowell might seem a world apart from the fireside British scenes we associate with Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol.” In the 19th century, in vast new brick buildings along the Merrimack River, young women factory laborers toiled 12 hours a day spinning cotton into fabric, and went home to boarding houses in America’s first company town.

But what those women did in their spare time may very well have shaped one of the great works of holiday literature.

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