‘Quiet Courage’: Maria Baldwin and the Racial Politics of Education in Cambridge

By Beth Folsom, Program Manager, Cambridge Historical Society In her 1905 report to the parents of ten-year-old Edward Cummings, his principal Maria Baldwin described him as “a most loveable little boy, and we are glad that he is part of our little community.”[1] Nearly six decades later, when that little boy had become the celebrated American poet e.e. cummings, he … Read More

Mercy Scollay and the Lifelong Work of Mending

By Katie Turner Getty, Independent Researcher and Writer When Mercy Scollay’s presumptive fiancé, Dr. Joseph Warren, was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill in June of 1775, she was thrust into emotional and financial turmoil that would both parallel and outlast the political upheaval of the American Revolution. As the caretaker and surrogate mother to Warren’s four children – … Read More

Phyllis Ann Wallace, A Leader for Equal Opportunity

Phyllis Wallace et all

By Annette LaMond* | S.M., MIT Sloan School of Management | Ph.D., Yale University  In 1975, Phyllis Wallace,1 then age 54, became the first Black  woman – and first woman – to receive tenure at MIT’s Sloan  School of Management. When Phyllis arrived at MIT in 1972, she rented an apartment in a tall-for-Cambridge building between Central and Harvard Squares. … Read More

Eva Neer : My Neighbor, Groundbreaking Biochemist

By Annette LaMond* | S.M., MIT Sloan School of Management | Ph.D., Yale University In 1978, my husband and I moved to Brewster Village – an 1880s “development” of Queen Anne Victorians off Brattle Street. We soon began to meet our new neighbors. In our first six months, we were invited to not one, but two, celebrations to mark a … Read More

Who Is Essential Cambridge? Part 4: COVID-19

In our last installment, we examined the role of nurses as essential workers in Cambridge and beyond, exploring the ways in which gendered notions of caregiving and self-sacrifice both elevated nurses in the public opinion and limited their ability to advocate for better pay and working conditions. In this, our final installment, we look at the current COVID-19 pandemic and … Read More

Who Is Essential Cambridge? Part 3: Nurses

In our last installment, we examined the role of Cambridge teachers as essential workers during the twentieth century. As it involved nurturing young children, teaching was viewed by many as a natural outgrowth of women’s caregiving responsibilities within the family, and education, especially at the elementary level, was considered a profession to which women devoted themselves for noble and selfless … Read More

Who Is Essential Cambridge? Part 2: Teachers

In the first part of our series, “Who Is Essential Cambridge?,” we examined the role of Cambridge women in the industrial sector during and between the World Wars. Women played an important role in industrial production in the years before the outbreak of World War I—a role that continued and intensified over the coming decades. As such, these industrial workers … Read More

Revisiting the Cambridge Women’s Suffrage Movement

As we approach the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment next month, many of us have been mesmerized recently watching the American Experience production of “The Vote” on PBS. The movie tells the dramatic story the decades-long campaign waged by American women to win the right to vote. Historian and Cantabrigian Susan Ware, who served as an advisor to the movie, has been … Read More

A people’s mayor — remembering Barbara Ackermann

By Veer Mudambi July 10, 2020 Reproduced from Cambridge Chronicle & TAB with permission Barbara Ackermann, the first woman to serve as mayor of Cambridge, embodied the term “social justice warrior” in its truest form. Her decades-long fight for social equality defined her life in public service and her reputation for never backing down truly qualified her for the title. “She … Read More