Rushlight Literary Magazine

Rushlight, the Wheaton College (Norton, Massachusetts) literary and visual arts journal, was founded in 1855 by Lucy Larcom (1824-1893), an important 19th-century writer and educator. After working in the cotton textile mills in Lowell, Massachusetts, she taught from 1854-1862 at what was then known as Wheaton Female Seminary. Larcom’s poems were widely published and anthologized during her lifetime. Harriet Beecher Stowe once referred to Larcom as “America’s Elizabeth Barrett Browning.” Larcom’s memoir of her early life and work as a “mill girl,” A New England Girlhood, is considered to be a classic study of early American childhood. When Larcom named The Rushlight, she proposed as a brief motto this couplet: “A Rushlight flickering and small, / Is better than no light at all.” For the first few years of its existence, Rushlight served as both a newspaper and literary magazine.