Blast from the Past!

Rag Room Lee Paper mill
The Lee Paper Mill was built in 1905 to fill a need for a rag-content paper mill in the Kalamazoo Valley paper-producing region. Scores of workers of Polish ancestry, some of whom had papermaking experience, were brought to the mill from Chicago and other areas. There were 205 employees whose wages ran from 20 cents per hour to 32-1/2 cents an hour. Girls earned 10 cents an hour, sometimes working 50 to 60 hours a week. Textiles in the form of worn-out clothing and other rags formed the raw material for rag-content paper. Women sorted the rags, removed buttons and foreign objects in the Rag Room. The cloth was shredded, cooked and processed into fine-quality writing papers. Photo and content courtesy of the Vicksburg Historical Society. If you have an old photo you would like to share, please email it to Steve at

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