My thesis is a novella set in early-nineteenth-century New England, told from the perspective of the fictional Eliza Jameston, a young woman who leaves home to work at the Waltham, Massachusetts textile mill, the first in the Lowell Factory System. The narrative examines themes such as independence, family, duty, industry, education, and change. It is comprised of three parts. The first depicts the character’s decision to leave home and her first days at the mill. The second is set a year later and narrates Eliza’s new life in the mill town. The final addresses her departure from the mill and the new direction her life takes. One of the most important elements in this narrative is historical accuracy. Texts describing everyday life, houses, clothing, communities, and textile mills of the period, along with maps, letters, and autobiographical works, are sources of background information and details that help create realism. Works specifically pertaining to the Waltham mills provide crucial details about people, places, and events that inform this narrative. Other research materials include recent works of historical fiction, used to better understand the ways authors construct historical characters and combine history and fiction, as well as novels of the period that provide examples of language, setting, and characterization. I use this varied research material to weave together fact and fiction, illuminate an obscure chapter of history, and represent the period realistically.