The Pioneer Literary Magazine

Lasting only three issues, the literary magazine The Pioneer was published by Fireside Poet James Russell Lowell, with his friend Robert Carter, in 1843. The journal was produced to counter the “fluffy” literary publications of the time, and to bring substance to the reading world (sounds like the mission statement of a modern literary journal!). Despite its literary contributors – Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe being two of them, along with Lowell’s poetry – and despite its focus on fiction, poetry, literary review, music, and art, the journal was poorly managed and shut down after only three issues, leaving the publishers in debt. Copies of the journal can readily be found online, and function as an artifact of the glorious mid-19th century New England literary community. Check it out!

For only three issues, The Pioneer does have a claim to fame: it was the first place to publish Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “Lenore,” and it was the first place to published Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark” and “The Hall of Fantasy.” Check out the introduction from The Pioneer’s first issue (note: “manly”) (also note: 71 Washington Street no longer exists! It was probably where Government Center is now.):





Literary and Critical Magazine

Edited by

J. R. Lowell and R. Carter

On the first of January, 1843, the subscribers commenced the publication of a Monthly Magazine with the above title.

The contents of each number will be entirely original, and will consist of articles chiefly from American Authors of the highest reputation.

The object of the subscribers, in establishing the PIONEER, is to furnish the intelligent and reflecting portion of the Reading Public with a rational substitute for the enormous quantity of thrice-diluted trash, in the shape of namby-pamby love tales and sketches, which is monthly poured out to them by many of our popular Magazines, – and to offer, instead thereof, a healthy and manly Periodical Literature, whose perusal will not necessarily involve a loss of time and a deterioration of every moral and intellectual faculty.

The Critical Department of the PIONEER will be conducted with great care and impartiality, and, while satire and personality will be sedulously avoided, opinions of merit or demerit will be candidly and fearlessly expressed.

The PIONEER will be issued punctually on the day of publication, in the principal cities of the Union. Each number will contain forty-eight pages, royal octavo, double columns, handsomely printed on fine paper, and will be illustrated with Engravings of the highest character, both on wood and steel.

TERMS: – Three dollars a year, payable, in all cases, in advance. The usual discount made to Agents. Communications for the Editors, letter, orders, &c., must be addressed, post paid, to the Publishers, 71 Washington St., (opposite the Post Office,) Boston.


Boston, 1843.