Savoring the Legacy of Joyce Chen

Chef. Restaurateur. Entrepreneur. by Stephen Chen, president of Joyce Chen Foods Reproduced from joycechenfoods.com with permission Born in Beijing in 1917, my mother Joyce Chen came to this country with my dad, sister and brother in 1949. We moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where friends of the family had settled, and where I was born. Surrounded by Chinese students at Harvard … Read More

Elizabeth Ann Sullivan, M.D.

Inspired by our 2020 theme, “Who are Cambridge Women?” Society member Philip M. Cronin wrote this essay about his remarkable mother, Elizabeth Sullivan.                       Elizabeth Ann Sullivan was born in Winchendon, Massachusetts, in 1892. She attended local schools.  The day after she graduated from high school, she boarded a train to Boston and enrolled at Tufts Medical School. At the … Read More

History @ Home

There are so many great digital resources for adults, teens, and children to use at home! We have gathered a number of excellent online sites to help you and your family learn about a wide variety of historical topics, with special emphasis on resources about women’s history in conjunction with our 2020 theme, “Who Are Cambridge Women?” Digital History Resources: … Read More

Minimum Wages for Women in Early 20th Century Cambridge

By Sarah Huggins, Intern, Lesley UniversityMarch 2020 What image enters your mind when thinking about Cambridge? For many, it’s the Corinthian columns of our prestigious institutions of higher education. But less than a hundred years ago the city was a major industrial center:- a manufacturing mecca of brick buildings and smokestacks. The Boston Daily Globe boasted in 1927, “Factories, not … Read More

YWCA of Cambridge: Labor Activism in the 1890s-1930s

By Sarah Huggins, Intern, Lesley UniversityMarch 2020  The YWCA of Cambridge established itself as self-governing in 1891 with a simple mission, “To improve the temporal, moral and religious welfare of those who come under its care, by personal influence and by industrial and educational classes.” The organization operated with liberal policies for their era in the formation of an inclusive … Read More

President’s Report to the Membership

February 2020 Thanks to everyone who participated in the Opening Conversation and Annual Meeting at the Cambridge Public Library on February 25. Our impressive speaker, YWCA Executive Director Eva Martin-Blythe, in conversation with Diana Lempel, the Society’s Doing History Curator, is a great example of what we do best—engage with our city to explore how the past influences the present … Read More

Our Year Asking “Who Are Cambridge Women?”

By Marieke Van Damme Read at the Opening Conversation and Annual Meeting on February 25, 2020 Hello everyone and welcome to the Cambridge Historical Society’s annual Opening Conversation. I’m Marieke Van Damme, executive director. Before we begin, I would like to say thank you to our friends at the Cambridge Public Library for hosting us tonight, and for CCTV for … Read More

Edith Lesley: Pioneering Educational Leader

By Jan Devereux This blog post is a result of our “How Have Women Shaped Cambridge?” call for submissions as we celebrate our 2020 theme, “Who Are Cambridge Women?” Edith Lesley (1872-1953) left a mark on Cambridge in founding, in 1909, the school that over the past 111 years has grown into Lesley University.  The daughter of a shoemaker, Edith … Read More

An Intrepid Lady of Brattle Street: Sara Chapman Bull

By Ted Hansen Beginning in 1879, until her death in 1911, Sara Chapman Bull lived in Cambridge, first at “Elmwood” (the Oliver-Gerry-Lowell House), and from 1889 until her death at 186 Brattle Street. A number of facts about her should pique our interest: At age 20, she was married in a semi-secret ceremony in Norway to a 60-year-old renowned Norwegian … Read More

How Have Women Shaped Cambridge? A Call for Submissions

How Have Women Shaped Cambridge? A “Her-story” Drive Women’s stories are still largely overlooked in the broader historical narrative, and women continue to face obstacles to their full participation in civic life, economic equality, and even their physical health and safety. In light of these ongoing challenges, the Cambridge Historical Society has chosen to focus our 2020 programs on the … Read More