Stories of sex and sin in Saco and Biddeford

Elizabeth De Wolfe writes of the murder mysteries and romances centered around the textile mills in Saco in the June edition of Downeast Magazine


(NEWS CENTER) - In the 19th century, some readers indulged themselves in a forbidden world of sex and sin, centered around the booming textile mills in Saco and Biddeford. These "novellas" were not written to titillate, but to teach!

The stories were murder-mysteries, some were romances, most were centered around naïve young women and the men who tried to destroy their lives and take away their independence.

Professor of history at the University of New England, Dr. Elizabeth De Wolfe wrote an article for Downeast Magazine on this very topic. She sat down with Rob Caldwell to give us a preview of the tawdry tales -- and the lessons they taught.

The novellas, short stories and poems were published between 1849 and 1854. They were basically cheap pamphlets, meant to grab attention with bright colors and long titles! Dr. Elizabeth De Wolfe's article is called "50 Shades of Chambray".

It appears in the June edition of "Down East Magazine".

More information: Elizabeth De Wolfe


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