New Bedford Textile School

In 1895 the Honorable Samuel Ross, member of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts General Court and a prominent New Bedford resident, helped sponsor a bill that authorized the creation of three state textile schools in Massachusetts, in the cities of New Bedford, Fall River and Lowell.  The result was the establishment, over the next nine years, of Bradford Durfee Textile School in Fall River (1904), the New Bedford Textile School (1899), and the Lowell Textile School (1895).  As chartered, the New Bedford Textile School was to provide “instruction in the theory and practical art of textile and kindred branches of industry.”  The first building, designed by Nathaniel Smith, was completed in 1899 at 1213 Purchase Street in downtown New Bedford.  The city of New Bedford matched construction funds with those provided by the state.  Classroom instruction emphasized both the theory and practice of all phases of manufacturing, finishing and distribution of textiles, and was intended to refine the skills of local mill workers by offering both day and evening classes.  At the time the school opened, textile workers were being imported from England to handle the more skilled jobs within the industry and the school was seen as a way of correcting this situation.  The first course offered was the “General Cotton Course.”



New Bedford Textile School Catalogues

New Bedford Textile School Yearbooks