The Lowell Offering
Beginning in the 1820s, a group of Boston businessmen built textile mills in Lowell, Massachusetts. The first factories recruited women from rural New England as their labor force. These young women, far from home, lived in rows of boardinghouses adjacent to the growing number of mills. The Lowell Offering was a monthly magazine written by these women workers and published from 1840 to 1845. Its contents included songs, poems, essays, and stories--both serious and humorous--about what it was like to work in the mills. It was first organized and edited by a local minister and supported by the city's textile companies. As this cover illustration suggests, it promoted morality and hard work among the young female workers.