Lowell Offering

Harriot Curtis and Harriet FarleyMay 1845

National Park Service, Museum Management Program

National Park Service, Museum Management Program
United States

The Lowell Offering, was a monthly periodical edited and published by Lowell “Factory Girls,” between 1840 and 1845. The Offering's contents were by turns serious and farcical. In the wake of labor unrest in the factories articles were published espousing the value of organizing.

As one of the designers of the Offering cover Harriet Farley writes: “Our first idea was to have the design allegorical. To have an Altar of Literature, . . . with a bevy of girls bringing forward their Offering . . . We portray the New England girl - the school girl- for almost all our factory operatives are New England girls; the law requires that they must have been school girls, and the great majority are country girls.” The engraving depicts “the school girl, near her cottage home, with a bee-hive, as emblematical of industry and intelligence, and, in the background, the Yankee school-house, church and factory.”

In his American Notes, Charles Dickens writes on the mill operatives endeavor: “they have got up among themselves a periodical called The Lowell Offering, ‘A repository of original articles, written exclusively by females actively employed in the mills,’ — which is duly printed, published, and sold; and whereof I brought away from Lowell four hundred good solid pages, which I have read from beginning to end.”


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