This journal’s name pays tribute to The Lowell Offering, a pamphlet published monthly between 1840 and 1845 whose content—including essays, stories, poems and ballads, letters, editorials and humorous pieces—was written exclusively by female workers in Lowell’s textile mills.

Founded by Abel Charles Thomas during his three-year pastorate at the Second Universalist Church in Lowell, the magazine was subtitled “A Repository of Original Articles on Various Subjects, Written by Factory Operatives.” In an editorial printed in the first issue, Thomas explains the aims of the publication: “to encourage the cultivation of talent; to preserve such articles as are deemed most worthy of publication; and to correct an erroneous idea which generally prevails in relation to the intelligence of persons employed in the Mills.”

In 1842, Harriet Farley and Harriot Curtis, both mill workers, became co-editors, and produced the magazine until its final publication in 1845. Charles Dickens, who during an1842 visit to America famously visited and extolled the city of Lowell, also admired the enterprise of the women who wrote and “duly printed, published, and sold” The Lowell Offering. He writes, in American Notes: “Of the merits of the Lowell Offering as a literary production I will only observe, putting entirely out of sight the fact of the articles having been written by these girls after the arduous labours of the day, that it will compare advantageously with a great many English Annuals.”

The Editors find it fitting that the name of the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s literary magazine reflects the city’s rich cultural and literary heritage, and hope that work among these pages honors and contributes to that legacy.