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

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

2020 Opening Conversation Recap

On February 25, we hosted our 2020 Opening Conversation: “Who Are Cambridge Women?” at the Cambridge Public Library. Eva Martin-Blythe, Executive Director of the Cambridge YWCA, was joined by the Society’s Doing History Curator, Diana Lempel, for a discussion of the history, mission, and legacy of the YWCA. This event marked the beginning of a year of programs exploring the … Read More

Self-Guided Tour: Lois Lilley Howe Homes of Gray Gardens

By John Howe, volunteer, Spring 2020 Lois Lilley Howe (1864-1964), born and bred in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was one of the first women to graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s architectural program, the organizer of the only all-woman architectural firm in Boston in the early twentieth century, and the first woman elected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. … 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

Reflecting on the 2019 History Tour

Amelia Zurcher, 2019 Summer Programs Intern Approaching local history through the question “How Does Cambridge Engage?” has given me an interesting lens into the city’s years of activism and community-building. Throughout the summer of 2019, I spent many days strolling Cambridge’s streets, sifting through archives, and talking with local residents. When I first began research for the history walking tour, … Read More

Recap of 9/25/19 Claiming Our Seats: A Kitchen Table Dialogue on Women’s Voting Rights

Cambridge Women Vote Logo

Thank you to all who joined us as we discussed the upcoming 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, when women won the right to vote.  At this roundtable, we asked – which women? Dr. Jennifer Guglielmo, Rev. Irene Monroe, and Dr. Laurie Nsiah-Jefferson engaged us in a reflective dialogue about women’s rights across the 20th and 21st centuries, moderated by Andrea Asuaje. … Read More

Lois Lilley Howe by Elizabeth W. Reinhardt

Lois Lilley Howe, F.A.I.A. (1864-1964) by Elizabeth W. Reinhardt Read December 7, 1975 This article appeared in the Cambridge Historical Society Proceedings for the years 1973-1975 (Volume 43) Miss LOIS LILLEY HOWE, one of the first women to graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s architectural program, the organizer of the only all-woman architectural firm in Boston in the early twentieth … Read More

Harvard Square in the ‘Seventies and ‘Eighties

By Lois Lilley Howe Read January 25, 1944 This article originally appeared in the Cambridge Historical Society Proceedings, Volume 30, pages 11-27 Reminiscences, which should really have been called Harvard Square and its Environs in the ‘Seventies and ‘Eighties, have been in the back of my mind long enough for me to have verified details by talks with Miss Elizabeth Harris … Read More