Preliminary notes by Carolyn Hughes for the study of the history of women in Dorchester.
Preliminary List of Notable Women of Dorchester
A. Finding African American Families in Dorchester
1. African American Families in early Dorchester:
a. EDWARD CLEAVLAND (alias Bachuus) and his wife MARY HILL (mulatto), Address to be located.
Married in 1780 in Dorchester, represent the handful of emancipated African American families in town. Four African American families are listed in Dorchester in the 1790 federal census. These four families represent 17 of the total of 30 non-white residents of Dorchester in 1790. The others are mostly single servants in various households throughout the town.
b. DANIEL (age 31) AND HIS WIFE HARRIET DORRINGTON (age 29)
Lower Mills, on Washington Street, rear (house)
Represent typical African American family at mid-century. He was a barber; she seems to have had at least one boarder, helping to supplement the family income. He was born in Massachusetts and Harriet (a mulatto) was born in New Zealand. Her father may be the Englishman John Harris (age 66) who lived with them. The other ?boarder? was a white laborer.
c. JEREMIAH BAXTER (age 25) and his wife MARTHA (age 24)
Wesley Ave (now Dillingham), Savin Hill.
Another typical family of the mid-19th century. He was a coachman (or stabler), and the family with one young son Washington (age 7), lived (and probably rented one of the aging homes) on the edge of Savin Hill, by the railroad tracks, ca. 1865-69. They were all born in Virginia and most likely migrated North after Civil War.
2. AFRICAN AMERICAN DOMESTIC WORKERS IN 19th CENTURY.
From the 1855 and 1865 Massachusetts census records, which recorded the race of every resident. Eleven African American domestics working in 10 households in Dorchester are recorded. Most of the residences can be identified. They include:
1. Mary Hartford, age 75, born in Boston, working at the boarding house of Martha Dill at Commercial Street near Glover?s Corner
2. Harriet Joyce, widow age 44, born in Maryland, working at the estate of Frederick Humphrey?s at Mill and Commercial Streets
3. Mary Fennox, age 20, born in Virginia, working at the huge estate of Asaph Churchill, Lower Mills (now Carney Hospital site).
4. Betsy Thorton, age 40, born in Kentucky, working at home of Daniel Stedman of Savin Hill
5. Anna Bowser, age 46 and her daughter Georgiana, age 14, at the house of Ambrose White at Everett Square
6. Mary Lewis, widow age 49 and her daughter Astoria age 9, both born in Maine, working at house of Charles Clap at Cottage Street.
B. Women's Sites to Consider:
3. ANN (a girl), BETTY (a young women) and Cambridge (a boy).
a. Old North Burying Ground, Upham?s Corner
b. Site of Oliver-Edward-Richardson House, 718 Columbia Road, Everett Square
Three slaves owned by Captain Robert Oliver, a planter from Antigua who brought a number of his slaves to Dorchester when he removed here in 1737; built house at Pond and Boston Streets in 1745 (now Everett Square). His son Thomas was last Lt. Gov. of province before Independence. The three slaves were buried in Old North Burying Ground between 1743 and 1748. Anne and Cambridge (a boy) died as children, but Betty lived to be 25 years (one source says 95 years old, but the cemetery records say 25). It was unusual for poor people of any kind to have grave markers because of the cost, and highly unusual for slaves to be so recognized, but obviously Capt. Oliver could afford these memorials. [another slave owned by the Foster?s is buried is or was in the same plot; to date I have found only the Oliver slaves in the North Burying Ground gravestone transcriptions]. One Foster and two of the Oliver slave headstones survive at the cemetery.
The Massachusetts slave census of 1754, ordered by colonial governor Wm Shirley, lists a total of 18 male and 13 female slaves over the age of 16 living in Dorchester.
4. SISTER HANNAH AUSTIN
Site of St. Mary?s Mission, Ruggles Place & Dorchester Avenue, Lower Mills
This was a mission church of St. Mary?s Episcopal Church in Upham?s Corner; it became All Saints Church. Before there was a pastor, the mission was under the leadership of Miss Hannah Austin, later Sister Hannah.
5. BAKER CHOCOLATE FACTORY WORKERS
Baker?s Factory Condominiums, Lower Mills
Factory opened 1780s, founded by Dr. James Baker. Having taken the chocolate business to new heights, Edmund Baker entrusted the company to his son Walter. One of Walter's first gambits was to expand his work force. In a sign of the changing times in the nation, two of the Dorchester businessman's hires were young women, Mary and Christiana Shields, who walked onto the plant floor in petticoats in 1834. By 1846, Baker's payroll included several women. Remained a major employer in Dorchester until closed in 1965. By the turn of the century? (when; whose statistic is this?) 90% of the workers were women. [DHS has some Baker materials; a board member?s mother worked in the factory; other potential for oral history]
6. SARAH BAKER (1806-1866)
a. Site of Baker Memorial Church, 565 Columbia Rd & Cushing Ave, Upham?s Corner
b. Site of Sarah Baker House, Savin Hill Avenue opposite Dillingham
c. Site of Sarah?s home/workshop, Washington Street, Lower Mills
Lived on Savin Hill early and late in life, w/ her productive years lived in Lower Mills near the First Methodist Episcopal Church. She was a ?spinster industrialist? who conducted a band box business for 40 years, amassing a respectable amount of money. Died in 1866 (Norfolk County probate) and left a $5000 legacy to mature in 20 years to build a church near her old Savin Hill home. The money grew to $22,642, and it contributed substantially to the construction of the Baker Memorial Church, which opened in May, 1891.
[DHS has an image of her home on Savin Hill. I need to look her up in Boston Directory, ads, obits if any, etc. to identify her Lower Mills location, if possible. Source of the story is a reference in unidentified newspaper article in DHS archives; also church history.]
7. ELEANOR JAMESON WILLIAMS BAKER (1806-1891)
Site of Baker Mansion, Washington & Park Sts (now Lucy Stone School, 22 Regina Rd)
Eleanor Williams Baker (widow of Walter Baker, philanthropist); All four of her children died in infancy. She was left a considerable fortune upon husband?s death in 1852. She was active in many charitable works and intellectual organizations. During Civil War her house was a center for making bandages and uniforms for Mass soldiers. Mrs. Baker taught lint picking classes (to create gauze for wounds). Among her efforts were aiding education for free blacks, both through institutions such as offering three scholarships at Hampton Institute, and also aiding many individuals. See letter from Olivia Washington written in 1884.
[Anthony Sammarco has a file on her]
8. ISABEL HAYES CHAPIN BARROWS (Mrs. Samuel J. Barrows) (1845-1915).
a. First Parish Church, Meeting House Hill
b. Site of their home to be located
Her second husband was minister at First Parish, Dorchester from 1871-1881, when he resigned to become editor of the Christian Register (1881-1896); then served as Congressman from Mass. 10th district. She was an Opthamologist who spoke Russian. Independent and sophisticated woman of many progressive ideas; supporter of Booker T. Washington; interested in Indian rights, Tuskeegee Institute, women?s prison reform, among many other reforms. She was the first woman to work as a stenographer for Congress, and the first woman to be private secretary to the head of the State Department for Secretary of State Wm Seward (1867). For a time on faculty of Howard University. She wrote extensively on a number of subjects.
Friend of Lucy Stone and ?aunt? to Alice Stone Blackwell, responsible for introducing Alice to ?Armenian Movement? and was a leader of that movement in Boston; Julia Ward Howe was the president of the Friends of Armenia (founded by Alice with Ohannes Chatschumian, many progressive people active in this movement to help the oppressed Armenians; thus launched one of America?s first international human rights movements). Co-wrote The Little Grandmother with A.S. Blackwell
9. MISS CATHERINE BEACH AND MRS. (JUDITH) SAUNDERS, [ school open 1804-1841]
Corner East and Adams, Meeting House Hill
These partners ran a ladies academy where they taught middle class young women being bred to be cultured wives. Academy was on Meeting House Hill and was for many years rectory of Rev. Allen of First Parish. The school had African American household help. [One major article written about them. DHS has a few later documents on the school. Anthony Sammarco has a file on them].
Other schools: 1. Mrs. Dodge/Mrs. Cochrane?s Academy, Codman Hill; 2. Dorchester Girls High School, Codman Square; 3. Charlotte Pope?s Academy
10. FRIEDA BETHMANN, EMILIE BETHMANN, residence at 13 Carruth Street, built 1895
German immigrants, probably mother and daughter, who were early innovative kindergarten teachers in public schools. May have helped bring progressive German ideas about early childhood education. In the 1890s, Frieda was principal of Thomas Hart Kindergarten and Emilie of the kindergarten at the Julia Ward Howe School, both in South Boston.
11. MARY JANE SAFFORD-BLAKE (1831-1891)
James Blake House, 5 Percival Street, Meeting House Hill
Famous as a Civil War nurse, then attended medical school in New York and Europe. Originally from Illinois and first practiced in Chicago; in 1872, at about age 40 married, then divorced James Blake of Dorchester/Boston in 1880. [Editor's note: Her husband's name was apparently Gorham, not James, per marriage cert. Sept. 25, 1872 from Cook County, Illinois] Opened gynecological clinic in the South End for impoverished women. She was the first female gynecologist in the US. [Anthony Sammarco has a file on them]
12. THE BOSTON HOME - 2049 Dorchester Avenue at Gallivan Blvd (formerly Codman St.)
In 1881 Miss Cordelia Hanon first opened the doors of The Boston Home for Incurables. In November of 1883, "The Committee for the Establishment of The Boston Home for Incurables" was formed and in early 1884 the home was incorporated. By September a house on a parcel of land in Dorchester known as The Codman Farm was purchased and the house fitted up for patients. This is the location of the present home at the corner of Dorchester Avenue and Gallivan Boulevard.
13. ELIZABETH BOWDOIN (1731-1809)
Revolutionary era, Site of their country house at Mount Bowdoin.
At the height of the Revolution in Boston, Elizabeth warned the Committee of Safety of a British Sloop of War cruising in Dorchester Bay area. [see document in Mass Archives Vol. 193:320] Her husband James Bowdoin, an active Patriot, was ill at the time; he went on to become second Governor of Massachusetts after Revolution.
14. CAROLINE CALLENDER & DORCHESTER HOUSE
a. 7 Gordon Place (first Dorchester House site; Fields Corner)
b. 1345 Dot Ave (current site; Fields Corner)
c. Locate site of her family home
She devoted life to Dorchester House settlement house, created victory gardens. Concerned ministers inspired Caroline and other well-to-do members of the community to provide social and educational opportunities for working class and immigrant children which were moving into the town. These social service agencies were called a settlement house because the staff lived at the ?house? and their philosophy was to become part of the community that they served.
[See Earl?s file w/ good summary of settlement house movement; founding of Dot House, etc. Sources are Dot House published history and records at UMASS Boston]
Other settlement House sites to consider:
1. Dennison House (25 Howard Street then Codman Square)
2. Conness House (River Street, between Lower Mills & Mattapan)
15. CIFRINO family
610-618 Columbia Road, Upham?s Corner
This Italian American family founded first supermarket in nation. Seems to have been run by the brothers, but their wives many have had involvement in business? May be worth looking into. See also Francis Cifrino Kissel below.
16. CLAPP FARM
195 Boston Street.
House built 1806; evolved into commercial orchards and dairy beginning in 1830s. Dorchester and Roxbury farms and orchards were famous. New England butter was prized and shipped as far as South Carolina. This site represents women in agricultural work and as contributors to household economy. Dairy maids and women in domestic work (both family members and later hired help)
17. LYDIA CLAPP House
6 Percival Street, Meeting House Hill.
This was the very first house renovated in the award-winning and popular WGBH public television show This Old House. See the book on the entire renovation.
18. CATHERINE ?KIT? CLARK
a. Kit Clark Senior Center, 1500 Dot Ave, Fields Corner
b. Kit Clark Senior Apartments, 915 Dot Ave.
c. Kit Clark Senior Services, Codman Square
d. locate site of her home
Community activist and state representative. Born in Dorchester in 1919 to Scots-Irish working class family, she married and divorced young and returned to Savin Hill a single mother and remained in Dot rest of her life. She worked in all areas of community, particular to secure youth recreational facilities, senior services, funding for UMASS Boston. The Kit Clark Senior Center and the Clark Apartments are named after her.
[see Dorchester Reporter articles]
19. MARIA CUMMINS (1827-1866).
Cummins House (old Turks Head Tavern), 294 Bowdoin Street (now St. Peter?s School)
She was author of The Lamplighter, published in 1854, an extremely popular novel about a teenage girl on her own in the town of D? during a period of social change (thinly disguised town of Dorchester). The heroine is an orphan, who goes through many trials and woes but emerges a strong and independent young woman. The story reflects some of Maria?s own life, being raised by a stepmother (her father?s third wife) with many step children. However, Maria was part of a happy and prosperous and religiously liberal family. She was born in Salem and went to a liberal girls school in Lenox, Massachusetts, and then spent the rest of her life with her father?s family in Dorchester. The book was written as a gift to her nieces. This was one of the most popular novels of its day. A few other novels were not so well received. [Anthony Sammarco has file on her; recently republished w/ new frontnotes; DHS has a copy of book]
20. DORCHESTER GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL
Latin Academy Apartments, 380 Talbot Avenue, Codman Square
Built in 1895 by Hartwell, Richardson and Driver, this structure has been home to Dorchester High, the Dorchester High for Girls, and Boston Latin Academy.
21. DORCHESTER FEMALE ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY (Abolition in Dorchester)
Site at Richardson Park, Everett Square
The exact location of this women?s group still needs to be researched, but Dorchester certainly was a center of abolition activities. A number of the community were associated with William Lloyd Garrison?s American Anti-Slavery Society. This radical organization not only fought to end slavery but also advocated for full and equal participation of blacks in all aspects of American society at a time when many people found slavery wrong but did not accept that African Americans were equal. The Garrison group had black and white members, and was open to both men and women. However, women also organized among themselves. First Parish, the Lyceum at Meeting House Hill and the Athenaeum at Everett Square were all sites active in the movement.
[Library of Congress has a petition on web now in our research files; DHS has an anti-slavery letter, all men. Clapp family ardent abolitionists and several men in community were radical ?Garrisonians?, including Frederick May, Robinson family, Fox family, Wood family, etc. Old Sturbridge Village educational materials have a report on Garrison?s anti-slavery meeting affirming their support of women members]
22. DORCHESTER POTTERY/ ETHEL HILL HENDESON
105 Victory Road
Ethel, with her husband Charles Henderson, she ran the Dorchester Pottery after the death of her father in law George Henderson in 1926. Ethel had been a clothing design teacher at Dorchester High for Girls. She took over the design work at the pottery and supervised the kiln. Ethel?s sister Lillian Hill Yeaton also worked at the factory, concentrating on the fine decorative artwares. The pottery operated from 1895 until 1979. Ethel died in 1971.
23. DORCHESTER WOMEN'S CLUB
Founded 1892. Ended about 1973.
Whitten Hall, 40 Centre Street (built in 1898), Codman Square
Ripley home at 173 Harvard and Bicknell Streets (off Blue Hill Ave)
Founded by Clara May Smith Ripley (with other prominent women, at her home). Part of the popular ?club movement? of the late 19th century, in which upper and middle class women organized for social and charitable purposes. Music groups, a history group, and the ?Athena Club? (exclusively for single women) were some of its programs.
(D. Historical Society has some of their member reports; a brief history of the club, notes on their clubhouse at Codman Square, later scrapbooks. Also their local history club notes which produced a history of Dorchester which is really a general Massachusetts/Boston history. Anthony Sammarco has a file on her).
24. ABIGAIL ADAMS ELIOT (1892-1992)
MARTHA MAY ELIOT (1891-1978)
5 Adams Street at East Street (formerly Saunders & Beach Academy)
Two of three children of Martha May (daughter of Frederick May) and Rev. Christopher Eliot, a minister of First Parish. All of the children reached national recognition for their humanitarian work. The sisters were raised in Dorchester until their family moved to the West End when their father took a church there.
Abigail was a nationally recognized leader in early childhood and an ambassador. She trained in England, then came back to Boston to work at the Ruggles Street Day Nursery. She went on to earn a doctorate in education at Harvard and helped form national associations for teaching young children. Helped found Nursery Training School in Boston, later at Tufts University. Worked in Washington during Depression on nursery funding.
Martha invented the cure for Rickets. She tried to go to Harvard, but because women were not admitted to the medical school, went to Johns Hopkins. Dr. Martha May Eliot worked for the Children's Bureau, a national agency established in 1912 to improve the health and welfare of American children, for over 25 years. First employed as director of the bureau's Division of Child and Maternal Health, Eliot went on to become chief of the whole organization. She was the only woman to sign the founding document of the World Health Organization, and an influential force in children's health programs worldwide. Named to UN in 1952.
25. CHANSONETTA STANLEY EMMONS, (1858-1937)
22 Harley Street, Ashmont Hill
A noted photographer of the later 19th cent. & early 20th centuries working in the evocative colonial revival style. Much of her work is of rural Maine, but there are some local portraits as well. Lived on Ashmont Hill; widowed early and considered herself a professional photographer working for money, but really was supported by her millionaire brothers who had amassed their fortunes inventing the Stanley Steamer. Worked with her on innovative photo processing. [there is a Stanley Museum in Maine devoted to the history of the family].
Other artists on Ashmont Hill area to consider:
1. Katherine Leavitt Alden, 23 Beaumont, then 16 Beaumont
2. Elizabeth Merrill, 97 Ocean St
26. EMILY A. FIFIELD
4 Ashland Street (home), Harrison Square
The Elementary School at 25 Dunbar Avenue, Dorchester, Built 1918, is named for her.
Fountain at Eaton Square (Meeting House Hill)
Emily A. Fifield (1840-1913), a prominent member of the Boston School Committee for 17 years, was born in Weymouth, Mass. A resident of Dorchester, she was the second woman ever elected to the Committee. During her term (1883-1902), she was instrumental in establishing manual training in the schools. In the 1898 School Committee Directory, her address is listed as 4 Ashland Street, Dorchester [Source: Earl; What's In a Name? Names of Boston's Schools: Their Origin. Boston: School Volunteers for Boston and the Boston Public Schools, 1980.
[DHS has Emily?s daughter Mary Fifield King papers; possibly has info to be searched; MHS has First Parish scrapbooks collected by church historian Mary Fifield King 1860s-1935; BPL Special Collections Dept, Rare Books and Manuscripts has Boston School Committee Archives: The collection consists of the original documents and related papers of the Committee from 1792 through 1870. For newer School Committee, try City Archives, John McColgan]
27. FILENE HOUSE
38 Pleasant Street, at Victoria Street
Associated with Filene family, but may not have been their home. Theresa Filene, wife of department store magnet and philanthropist A. Lincoln Filene, was renowned as both a musician and for her charitable work. Raised in an enlightened Jewish tradition and committed to social justice and both Filenes were ardent supporters of the arts, of higher education for women, and of helping women to achieve in business and other non-traditional fields. Their daughters went on to work for causes such as prison reform, Democratic party, equal access.
28. ROSE FITGERALD KENNEDY (1890-1995)
MARY HANNON FITZGERALD (1865-1964)
Site of house at 39 Welles Avenue, Ashmont Hill (house burned in 1938)
Rose was the daughter and Mary the wife of flamboyant Boston Mayor John Fitzgerald. This family represents the ?Irish Ascendancy,? as members of the once ostracized immigrant group rose to upper middle class status and leadership in the city of Boston. Rose Fitzgerald was part of a prominent Irish-American social circle, whose daughters were expected to make good marriages to improve the status of their families. Rose married up-and-comer Joseph Kennedy of East Boston, who went on to make millions in banking, movies, and other investments. She was the mother of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Ted Kennedy. [Anthony Sammarco has file; lots of published material available]. There is also a news clipping of them at Dorchester Womens Club in scrapbooks.]
29. MARGARET LILIAN FOLEY (1875-1957)
Locate her Dorchester address
Labor organizer and women's rights advocate Margaret Foley was born in Dorchester to a working class family. With only a high school education from Girl's High School, she went on to national fame. Foley had a daring personality and a "voice like a trumpet.? She worked in a hat factory organizing women workers and was a board member of the Women's Trade Union League, founded in Boston in 1903 as part of the AF of L. Often at odds with upper middle class leaders of suffrage movement. Worked in West for vote. After suffrage, returned to Boston and went on lecture circuit speaking mainly to Catholic women?s groups. [Sources: Schlesinger Library has her papers and many photographs]
30. ELIDA RUMSEY FOWLE (1843-1919)
654 Columbia Road (originally 337 Boston Street), Upham?s Corner
She went to Washington DC during the Civil War to do nursing and charitable work. When she was told she was too young, she sang to soldiers in the wards, gaining a huge following. She eventually became the youngest member of the Massachusetts Army Nurses, organized by Clara Barton. She organized a free library for the Union Troops (with help of Mrs. Walter Baker) and entertained troops as a singer as part of her nursing duties. She met and married while doing war work in Washington; both were involved in the free library and sang for the troops . Only couple to be married in House of Representatives to that date. She also assisted about 300 freed blacks to come north after the war. Several years after the war they settled in Dorchester; first lived in Brooklyn and were members of Rev. Beecher?s congregation. In Dorchester, also started the Butterflies Club, a service and reading club for Dorchester children; they made picture books for illiterate children in other countries. [Antony Sammarco has a file on her. DHS has lots of info on her, with all her scrapbooks, especially on her Civil War activities, but also civic work of her and her husband after they settled in Dorchester]
31. PAULINE FREDERICK
Hollis Street, Jones Hill
1930s stage and screen actress.
32. ALTHEA GARRISON
18 Jerome Street,Upham?s Corner
African American political activist and former Republican state representative, she works in human resources for state of Massachusetts. Committed to improved services and social justice in communities while reducing state spending.
33. SARAH GREENWOOD
The Elementary & Middle School. 189 Glenway Street, Dorchester
Built 1919, Funk & Wilcox, Architects, is named for her.
The daughter of a prominent Boston judge and the heiress to his estate, Greenwood owned large tracts of land in Dorchester. In 1918 she donated the land for the Greenwood School with the stipulation that it have a playground that all the children in the area could use. [Source: Earl; What's In a Name? Names of Boston's Schools: Their Origin. Boston: School Volunteers for Boston and the Boston Public Schools, 1980.]
34. HEBREW CHILDREN"S HOME/HECHT HOUSE/Ladies Helping Hand.
Lena Park, 150 American Legion Highway
Originally founded in 1880 as the Hebrew Industrial School, a training school for immigrant girls. This organization followed the Jewish community as they migrated from the North End, to the West End and finally to Dorchester. It was later named for Jewish activist Lina Hecht (1848-1920). At a time when nearly a third of the North End's population was Jewish, the school was established to train Jewish women in needlework skills. Anxious to teach their own youth, the Hebrew Ladies' Sewing Society donated cloth and sewing machines for classes in millinery, hand sewing, power sewing, and pattern cutting. The school became Hecht Neighborhood House in 1922 in the West End and moved to Dorchester in 1936 where it served the Jewish community for another thirty years. Merged with YMHA of Boston in 1958/59 to become YMHA-HECHT HOUSE. When they moved to Dorchester, the site became a home for orphan Jewish children, then a full service community center, serving first the Jewish and then the changing Dorchester Roxbury Mattapan community. Women all over the community saved pennies to fund the children?s home and then all the recreational and educational activities at the community center.
[Look in Jews of Boston for Dorchester sites representing Jewish women; AJHS in Newton and NYC have records of Hecht House to 1970.]
35. MARY HUNT and American Temperance Society
23 Trull Street (Society headquarters)
Mary Hunt was president of the American Temperance Society, a national organization dedicated to sobriety and opposed to the use of alcoholic beverages. The temperance movement was a popular cause among many middle class families, concerned that drink was one of the causes of economic hardship and family neglect, especially among working class and immigrant families.
36. INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL FOR GIRLS
Opposite 233 Centre Street, off Dot Ave.
Founded in 1853 and incorporated in 1855 "for the purpose of training to good conduct, and instructing in household labor, destitute or neglected girls." Located on Centre Street, the Industrial School for Girls received girls from six to fifteen years old and trained them in good conduct and habits of self-support. Those who were received by the school generally came from homes which were broken up by the death of one or both the parents, or by desertion, or rendered unfit by drink or crime. The girls attended public school, and were besides thoroughly trained in housework, sewing, etc. On leaving the school for service, usually at age 18, the girls were generally placed in country families, where they might still be controlled to a certain extent by the managers of the school.
[Source: Earl; The Dorchester Book. Boston: George H. Ellis, Printer for the Branch Alliance of Christ Church (Unitarian), Dorchester, Mass., 1899. And King's Hand-Book of Boston. Boston: Moses Corporation, 1889. 9th ed].
37. IRISH DOMESTIC WORKERS
O?Brien house, 24 Carruth Street
After the Civil War, most middle class families in Dorchester had at least one live in maid; wealthier families had two or three. The majority of these domestic workers were Irish immigrants. These hard-working young women came in ?female cohorts,? arriving in America with a sister, friend or cousin, and working until they could raise the money to send for the rest of their family. Some stayed in service their entire lives; many married working men, bought small homes and raised families. A lucky few rose to the ranks of middle and upper middle class status themselves, like the maid at the Jacques House at 30 Carruth street. She married Mr. Jacques? young clerk, George O?Brien, and he later rose to heights in the business world, buy his own fine home nearby at 24 Carruth Street in the fashionable Ashmont section of Dorchester.
38. ELLEN SWEPSON JACKSON
Operation Exodus, 375 Blue Hill Avenue, Dorchester
Civil Rights activist in Dorchester and Boston working to desegregate the Boston public schools in the 1960s. She was one of the founders of Operation Exodus, which became the METCO program. In the 1970s, she was the national director of the Black Women's C?mmunity Development Corp. in Washington DC. She returned to Boston to serve as a dean at Northeastern University.
39. REBECCA JOHNSON
Dorchester resident (locate address)
Poet and play-write working with the Scribbling Women project at Northeastern University, dramatizing women?s stories on Public Radio. She is an eco-feminist, working for economic justice and opportunities for women of color and immigrant women. She is the founder and lead organizer of Cooperative Economics for Women that helps low income women build businesses.
40. CHARLOTTE JOHNSTON (c. 1840s-1917)
SARAH JOHNSTON (1850-1925)
32 Payton Avenue
The daughters of artist David Claypool Johnston. Charlotte was an actress and taught elocution (speaking) as well as being a noted pianist. Sarah became one of the most regarded women of the prestigious Boston Art Club and exhibited at the Copley Society.
41. FRANCES CIFRINO KISSELL (1922-2003)
Locate Dorchester office and home address.
Born Boston, she was raised on Virginia Street in Dorchester (per her daughter Emily who was also raised on Virginia Street), and lived in Dorchester after her marriage for her working life until she retired to Wareham. She attended the Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Newton. She was a sergeant in Marines during WWII. She was one of the first women to graduate from Boston College Law School. She became first woman to be appointed to the U.S. Attorney?s Office and later worked for the Small Business Administration. She did volunteer work for Boston City Hospital and St. Margaret?s Hospital.
42. GLADYS EDSON LOCKE
Locate Dorchester Site.
Raised in Boston and was a librarian here. Ca. 1920s mystery writer. Her best known work is The Red Cavalier, or The Twin Turrets Mystery published in 1922.
43. GRACE LONERGAN LORCH
Charles Taylor School (marker), 1060 Morton Street, Mattapan
Grace taught at the Charles Taylor School and sued the School Board to continue teaching after she married. Although Grace Lonergan Lorch had been teaching in Boston for some years, her marriage resulted in her being fired. Only single women could be teachers in Boston at this time. Lorch, a union leader, fought the School Committee's 1880s ban on teachers marrying, and, although the Boston School Committee upheld the rule in 1944, she was allowed to teach as a substitute teacher for less pay. Grace began a campaign for state legislation to do away with the prohibition; it took until 1953. A lifelong activist for education and civil rights, Lorch later moved to Tennessee with her family. She received national attention in 1957, when she rescued a young girl from an angry crowd protesting the desegregation of public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas. Eventually the family was forced to move to Canada because of their civil rights activities as Lee Lorch, a mathematics professor, could not get work in the U.S.
44. JEAN MCCORMACK
Chancellor, UMASS Dartmouth
Born and raised in Dorchester to working class Irish American family.
45. MARY ELIZA MAHONEY, 1845-1926.
Dorchester site to be located
Dimmock Health Center, Roxbury
First African American woman to graduate from nursing school, in 1879. Born in Dorchester May 7, 1845 (one source says April 16), raised in Roxbury, and worked for New England Hospital for Women and Children (later Dimmock CHC), as a maid and then nursing aide before finally being accepted into the graduate nursing program at age of 33.
46. MINOT STREET HOUSE - Heroine, 1675 King Philips War.
House was on Chickatawbut Street, off Neponset Ave.
This house [was] more celebrated for the female heroism displayed within its walls. A party of Narraganset Indians, hunting on the borders of Neponset river, stopped at elder Minot's house and demanded food and drink. On being refused they threatened vengeance, and the sachem, or chief of the party, left an Indian in ambush to watch an opportunity to effect it. Soon after, in the absence of all the family, except a young woman and two small children, the Indian attacked the house and fired at the young woman, but missed his mark. The girl placed the children under two brass kettles and bade them be silent. She then loaded Mr. Minot's gun and shot the Indian in the shoulder. He again attacked the house, and in attempting to enter the window, the girl threw a shovel full of live coals into his face and lodged them in his blancket. On this the Indian fled. The next day he was found dead in the woods. The Indian's name was Chickataubut, but not the Narraganset sachem of that name. The government of Massachusetts bay presented this brave young woman with a silver wristband, on which her name was engraved, with this motto, -- "She slew the Narrhaganset hunter." The old tale survives, but her name has been lost to history!
47. SARAH WENTWORTH APTHORP MORTON, 1759-1846,
Site of old Taylor House, Dudley & Burgess Streets
Poetess. Husband Perez Morton was Attorney General. She was an early abolitionist and mentor to young women writers, as well as an author herself, but she became best known for a scandal. The couple were said to be the subject of the 1st American novel, The Power of Sympathy, which told the tale of her husband?s supposed affair with Sarah?s sister Fanny and Fanny?s later suicide. Sarah's own publications include poems contributed to literary magazines. Her first long poem was published in December, 1790, Ouabi: or The Virtues of Nature, An Indian Tale. In Four Cantos. Boston: Isaiah Thomas and Ebenezer Andrews, 1790. Other works include: Beacon Hill. A Local Poem, 1797; The Virtues of Society. A Tale Founded on Fact, 1799; My Mind and Its Thoughts, in Sketches, Fragments, and Essays, 1823. Some of her work reflected the painful marriage and publicity suffered. (Earl Taylor has a copy for use in the classroom).
48. MOTHERS' REST
Washington and Clayborne Streets [research name?]
49. DR. MARION NUTE (1873-? )
465 Washington Street (office)
Raised in Boston, attended Harris school and Dorchester High. As a young girl, loved idea of having a horse and buggy like the doctors who visited their patients, and that led to her career. Went to Michigan for medical school because it was one of the first to admit women. When she returned to Dorchester, she kept a horse and buggy for her rounds near her office. For more than forty years associated with New England Hospital for Women and Children.
50. ELISABETH OGILVIE (1917 - ? )
Fiction and children?s writer, address in Dorchester to be located.
Raised in Dorchester and Wollaston, Ogilivie summered with her family on the island of Criehaven in Maine. After high school, she took a creative writing course at Harvard extension school, where she was ?discovered? as a young author. She used her family vacations in Maine as the source of her stories, finally moving to Gay Island, Maine permanently. She wrote an autobiographical work, My World Is An Island (1950)
51. OLIVER OPTIC (William T. Adams)
1479 Dorchester Avenue, Fields Corner
Obviously not a woman, but an important writer of early children?s fiction. While he is best known for his rollicking boy?s stories, he wrote lots of stories for girls, with energetic spunky heroines in the ?Horatio Alger? spirit and certainly not lady-like shrinking violets. He also published magazine for children that was designed to be much more entertaining than the prevailing moralistic religious-over-toned works of early 19th century.
52. JOSEPHINE PRESTON PEABODY, 1874-1922.
Morrill-Peabody House, 26 King Street
Harris School, Adams Street at Mill Street (now Victory Road)
Raised by her widowed mother in the home of her grandparents in Dorchester, she became a respected poet and essayist. Late married an engineering professor who supported and encouraged her writing.
53. PATRICIA POWELL (1966- )
Jeremiah Burke High, 60 Washington Street
Locate her childhood Dorchester residence
Jamaican born writer who came to Dorchester at age 16, Attended Burke, where she was encouraged to write. Graduated Wellesley College and Brown University. Published several novels and considered one of the most important emerging young writers. Teaches at Harvard and MIT, among other venues.
54. HARRIET QUIMBY
Tenean Beach, Dorchester Bay
Pioneering aviator and first licensed woman pilot. Flew the English channel. On July 1, 1912, flying in the Third Annual Boston Aviation Meet at Squantum, Massachusetts, with William Willard, the event's organizer aboard, her brand-new 70-horsepower (52-kilowatt), two-seat, Bleriot monoplane unexpectedly pitched forward, ejecting both Willard and Quimby. The two plunged to their deaths in the shallow waters of Dorchester Bay in front of some 5,000 horrified spectators.
[see US Centennial of Flight Commission website]
55. EMMA ESTABROOK REED
256 Ashmont Street (land & property known as "Hillrise")
a philanthropist who left money to the First Parish and a trust fund for the Dorchester Historical Society and other causes. Wife of Dorchester Court judge. [She must have been an active committee member of many organizations]
56. ELLEN SWALLOW RICHARDS (1842-1911)
Richards School, 80 Beaumont Street
The first woman to go to/grad school at MIT. She was an engineer and an instructor of sanitary chemistry at M.I.T. Richards was active in the formation of the women's suffrage movement in the U.S. She Specialized in nutrition. Created soup kitchens. Precursers to WEIU. Wrote healthy articles for Bakers Chocolate. The Ellen M. Richards School (Elementary) at 80 Beaumont Street, Dorchester, Built 1913, William H. Besaric, Architect is named for her. The building was converted to residential condominiums, probably in the 1980s.
[Anthony Sammarco has a file on her; there is ample info available about her on line; need to locate her Dorchester address]
57. CARNEY HOSPITAL
2100 Dorchester Avenue, near Lower Mills
Founded in 1863, this was the Catholic hospital in New Engalnd, and was administered by the Daughters of Charity. The first administrator was Sister Ann Alexis (1805-1875), called ?the servant of the poor.? The mission of the hospital was to provide care for all, no matter what their circumstances. The nursing and adminstrative staff remain overwhelmingly female
58. ST. MARY?S INFANT ASYLUM
Cushing Avenue at Windemere, Jones Hill.
An orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity, St. Vincent dePaul, and founded in 1872. The first home at the Seaver estate on Homes Ave and Bowdoin, then at Greene estate on Jones Hill. St. Margaret?s Hospital (first next door to St. Mary?s), a major gynecological and maternity hospital serving women in greater Boston, grew out of the Infant Asylum, which was given a ward at the Carney hospital. St. Margaret?s had a well-respected nursing school until 1952.
59. ANNA CLAPP HARRIS SMITH
69 Pleasant Street, Jones Hill (her home)
248 Adams Street, Fields Corner (site of Dorchester receiving station)
Infuriated over the abuse and neglect of animals in the city, Smith founded Animal Rescue League in 1899. The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) remains dedicated to rescuing domesticated animals and wildlife from suffering, cruelty, abandonment and neglect. Since 1899, the ARL has advocated the philosophy of its founder, Anna Harris Smith, that ?kindness uplifts the world.?
[Anthony Sammarco has a file on her. M. Turley has contact for more info ]
60. MARIE ST. FLEUR (b. 1962- )
45 Harvard Street
First Haitian American to be elected to the Massachusetts State Legislature as State Representative for Fifth Suffolk district. Born in Haiti, she came to Dorchester as a child. Grew up on Hartford Street. Receipient of Mass School of Law Thurgood Marshall Award for leadership.
61. LUCY STONE
House site on Boutwell Street, Pope?s Hill.
A national leader of the women?s suffrage movement, she was also the 1st MA women to graduate from college, 1st woman to keep maiden name, 1st person to be cremated in the US. She edited the national newspaper of the suffrage movement, The Women?s Journal. Here in Dorchester, she was influential in local suffrage club and in helping to elect women to the Boston school board in the 1870s. [lots of information published on her. Several bios, including one by her daughter and a recent one. Carolyn has lots of notes on her and on the suffrage movement]
Other Dorchester sites associated with women?s suffrage:
1. ST. MARY?S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, Cushing St, Jones Hill.
The Parish House (Women?s Guild) was site of suffrage meetings
2. WOOD HALL, Walnut Street at Wood Place, Port Norfolk.
Site of founding of Dorchester Women?s Suffrage Club [DHS has minutes]
62. ALICE STONE-BLACKWELL
Mt. Monodnock Apt., 714-721 Dudley Street, Upham?s Corner
45 Boutwell Street
The daughter of Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell. Herself a noted Suffragette, Alice edited the Woman?s Journal after her mother death. She also supported many progressive courses, especially working with Armenian and Russian and other oppressed languages and peoples, support of Sacco and Vanzetti, etc. Her most important achievement may be bringing together the two warring branches of the women?s suffrage movement after her mother?s death. See Barrows bio above for info on Alice?s work w/ Armenia refugees.
Alice described life in Dorchester from her perspective as a teenager in her journal published under the title Growing Up in Boston's Gilded Age: The Journal of Alice Stone Blackwell, 1872-1874. Alice would catch the train at the Old Colony station at Neponset or at Harrison Square to ride into Boston to exchange books the Boston Public Library and would visit her mother at the office of the Woman's Journal at 3 Tremont Place. On Sundays she would go to church at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, then on Bowdoin Street, or at the Saint Mary's Chapel, later the All Saints, at Lower Mills. On school days, Alice would walk toward Harrison Square to attend the Harris School at the corner of Adams Street and Victory Rd, formerly Mill St.
63. DONNA SUMMER
Home Site to be located.
Jeremiah E. Burke High School, 60 Washington Street
A. M. E. Grant Church, Roxbury
Singer, born in Dorchester on December 31, 1948, as LaDonna Gaines, moved to Brookline about age 6, then back in Boston by early teens where she attended the Jeremiah E. Burke High School. She defined the 1970s pop music generation with hits like Love to Love You Baby, MacArthur Park, Hot Stuff and Last Dance. She continued her career beyond the death of Disco, winning a Grammy in 1997 for Carry On as Best Dance Recording. She has become a visual artist as well. Her book Ordinary Girl: the Journey was published in the fall of 2003.
64. HEPZIBAH SWAN (Mrs James Swan)
Dudley and Howard Streets
A capable and independent woman, with her husband James she supported the ideas of the revolution and afterwards was part of the sophisticated society of Federal Boston. Hepzibah proved herself as capable a business person as her very shrewd husband, who amassed a fortune in America and France after the Revolution. She served as long-time deputy husband for her imprisoned husband; she continued to amass a fortune, particularly investing in real estate such as the development of Beacon Hill while James fought to clear his name in France.
65. ALICE TILLEY (ca. 1630-40s) ? ?noted midwife? [source: DHS, Greenaway geneology]
66. GERALDINE PINDELL TROTTER
69 Sawyer Avenue (home)
Wife of early civil rights activist William Monroe Trotter and with him started The Guardian. Geraldine worked on paper with husband/co-edited. With W.E.B. DuBois, Monroe Trotter was one of the founders of the Niagara movement (forerunner to NAACP). Geraldine was from an established middle class African American family with long roots in the early Boston school civil rights struggles, including the successful 1840s efforts to desegregate the schools. In addition to her work on the paper and with civil rights causes, she supported St. Monica?s home for elderly African American women and was active in the social and charitable life of the African American community.
[Sources: See "Deenie Trotter," in Notable Black American Women, Book 1. Gale Research, 1992. (An in-depth profile of the individual's life and achievements.) Also, Trotter Institute Issue has an article on her contributions.]
67. MAUDE TROTTER STEWARD
74 Julian Street
Monroe?s Trotter?s sister and herself a civil rights activist. Her father served in the Mass. 55th regiment in the Civil War, then settled in Hyde Park. Maude was married from her mother?s house on Julian Street. She assisted Monroe and Deenie with the paper, including helping to finance it with her husband Dr. Charles Steward. She took on a greater role at the publication after Deenie?s death, and with her brother?s health declining, and continued the paper after his death. [The paper published in downtown Boston supposedly in the same site as Garrison published The Liberator.]
68. MIRIAM WOOD (d. 1706)
Dorchester North Burying Ground
Colonial dame school teacher. See City volume on Dorchester burying ground records. Unlikely we will find location of her residence.
69. WORLD WAR I VOLUNTEER NURSES
Marion Noyes, 56 Temple Street, Mattapan
Miss Hall, 19 Granville Street
Catherine Galvin (address?)
Dorothy Ryan (address?)
Amelia Tileston, Washington Street, near Four Corners
Amelia was born in 1872 in her paternal grandfather's mansion on Washington Street, the daughter of John Boies Tielston and Mary Wilder Foote Tileston. Her paternal grandfather was Edmund Pitt Tileston (1805-1873) of Dorchester who inherited his father's share in the Tileston & Hollingsworth Paper Company on the Neponset River. She was a tireless worker, serving as a nurse and canteen worker, for the relief of the poor and unfortunate of Serbia during and following World War I until ill health ended her life in 1920. Source: "Amelia Peabody Tileston World War I Heroine." Milton Times Online Edition, April 11, 2002. At www.miltontimes.com
[Representative of a number of young women who worked in WWI;
DHS has an album w/ other young women?s photos and names listed above, including at least one Irish woman].
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Created: October 8, 2005 Modified: December 30, 2010