A Howl in Lowell About the City of Lowell Seal

This is a cross-post from the Lowell Historical Society blog. Our colleague Dick Howe gave the “Howl in Lowell” – inaugural edition – on-line arts and entertainment magazine and its readers a history lesson on the City of Lowell seal.


Lowell Howls About Lowell’s Historic Seal

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The launching today of Lowell new on-line “guide to living in mill city” has been awaited with much interest. Former Lowell Historical Society President, Middlesex North Register of Deeds and prolific local blogger Dick Howe, has written an entry in the inaugural “edition” of HOWL in Lowell. Dick writes about the seal of the city of Lowell, its various forms and its inscription – well known to locals – “Art is the handmaid of human good.”Here’s an exerpt from his article:

In the early 1990s when computer-maker Wang collapsed and defense contractor Raytheon downsized, many Lowell residents lost their jobs and city leaders scrambled to find a new economic development strategy. They turned to the arts.
Taking advantage of a high vacancy rate in downtown office buildings, Lowell marketed the renovated and rezoned spaces to artists squeezed out of Greater Boston by rising real estate costs. The artists, both those in fact and those at heart, came in great numbers, embracing Lowell and its heritage with the zeal of the recent convert. But it wasn’t just affordable real estate that drew these newcomers to Lowell. It was also the city’s official seal.


Inscribed around its circumference with the motto “Art is the Handmaid of Human Good,” the city of Lowell’s seal emits a magnetic tug on creative individuals. How could an artist resist living in a place that exalted art in such a tangible way? Well, as is usually the case when it comes to Lowell, it’s not quite that simple.

You can read the full article here: http://howlinlowell.com/local-history and enjoy the full edition at: http://howlinlowell.com/front. Enjoy! Good luck to all involved in this exciting new venture – it’s all about the Lowell arts and entertainment scene!


2 Responses to A Howl in Lowell About the City of Lowell Seal

  1. Brian Flaherty says:

    I had no idea “art” referred to the workers, I always wondered why they choose that motto. Nice piece Richard, thanks

  2. June Martin says:

    i have found among my grandparent belongings a small key chain or necklace size badge looking type with this Motto on it at the top it says Lowell in an arch at the top then Mass.under that Playgrounds , then BASEBALL and at the bottom what looks like the 1886 Motto, “Art is the handmaid of human good.
    can you tell me anything about this?