Skip to main content navigation

Category: women (8)

A Woman Booster for the Trade Union League

Working Women: Boston Women Find Their Voice

Walking Tours : Monthly & Quarterly
90 minutes
1.1 miles
potential uneven surfaces and moderate inclines
As working women were fighting for rights in the workplace, suffragists were demanding the right to vote. Boston’s women’s trade unionism & suffrage movements were led by proud, defiant women who were divided along class lines. By the end of the 19th century, suffragists were becoming sensitive to the growing number of immigrants (non-native born factory workers). They decided to appeal to the legislature to limit the franchise to native born women. For most of the 19th century, Boston’s working women’s (non-native born) voices were not being heard. Unions had remained male dominated. It would take the creation of the WTUL (Women’s Trade Union League) founded by Mary Kenney O’Sullivan in Boston (1903) to show women how to organize themselves into trade unions. Women’s voices grew from the foundation laid by the Denison House and the WEIU (Women’s Education & Industrial Union). It wouldn’t be until the early 20th century that suffragists & non-native working women would realize that to achieve their goals they would need to unite. find out more
Gilded Age photo

Boston's Gilded Age

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
During the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century, Boston's Back Bay was alive with social clubs and thriving cultural institutions. On this tour we will explore the favorite haunts of Boston's upper-class, often known as "Boston Brahmins." Though "Brahmins" had a reputation for being exclusive and elitist, many of these men and women were active in making our city—and the whole nation—a better place to live. They fought to abolish slavery and to recognize women’s rights, and they built libraries, colleges, museums and orchestras. Though this elite generation of wealthy activists was often philanthropic, on this tour we’ll also discuss their limitations and shortcomings. find out more
Women's suffrage poster 1915

Road to the Vote

Boston Suffragists

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
The Road to the Vote for national woman suffrage was a long and arduous one. Along the way, countless suffragists, in the City of Boston, throughout the Commonwealth, and across the nation, organized meetings, delivered speeches, published journals, distributed literature, held fundraising bazaars, rode the rails, marched, picketed, boycotted, set watchfires and went on hunger strikes to call attention to their cause, all the while hoping to open minds and move hearts. Generations were involved in the struggle and by the early 20th century women in Boston were being arrested and jailed for their convictions. It was 72 years from Seneca Falls to the time when American women voted in municipal, state and federal elections exercising the right provided to them in the 19th amendment. This tour celebrates the centennial of the ratification of that amendment and highlights the places, people and protests that helped win the vote for women. This tour was developed by the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail , a group that works to restore women to their rightful place in the history of Boston by uncovering, chronicling, and disseminating information about the women who have made lasting contributions to the City of Boston. find out more
Woman gluing posters to wall 19th century

Remarkable Women of Jamaica Plain

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
Travel through the lovely Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain and discover some truly remarkable women who changed the course of the history of our nation. Our tour will feature a Nobel Peace Prize winner, who lost her job at Wellesley because of her socialist leanings. We will discover a slew of reformers; women who worked for the abolition of slavery, free education for everyone and later, on civil rights causes in the 20th century. We will meet a scientist who created new fields of study and coined the word ‘ecology’. Our tour wils also include some pivotal writers, who put their words into the world and remain important to this day. Our tour ends at the Loring-Greenough House, a lovely Georgian mansion that was saved from the wrecking ball thanks to a local women’s club and its formidable members. This tour was developed by the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail , a group that works to restore women to their rightful place in the history of Boston by uncovering, chronicling, and disseminating information about the women who have made lasting contributions to the City of Boston. find out more
print of Phillis Wheatley writing

Phillis Wheatley: Freedom and Slavery in Revolutionary Boston

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
In 1776, George Washington wrote from his barracks in Cambridge to a woman of “great poetical talents… favored by the muses,” a twenty-three year old, previously-enslaved poet Phillis Wheatley. But while Wheatley was lauded as a muse of freedom and a voice of uplift in the new republic, we don’t even know her given name: the Phillis was the ship on which she made the middle passage from West Africa to the Americas in chains, Wheatley was the name of the Boston family who purchased her. In the two dozen years from when she first arrived in Colonial Boston until her death in 1784 Wheatley lived a remarkable life, cycling through states of freedom and unfreedom. She published dozens of poems, toured London, was emancipated, was almost forced into an unwanted marriage, and eventually died in poverty. This tour will use Wheatley’s incredible life as a window in to the world of slavery and unfreedom in Revolutionary Era Boston. What did it mean to be a slave in a city dedicated to the overthrow of tyrants? In a world of slaves and apprentices, masters and kings, what did freedom mean? find out more
Painting of a woman in ballet pose

Fierce and Feminine

Great Women of Boston

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
Women’s History Month Tour From the 1600s to the mid-1900s, women's groundbreaking contributions to Boston were often under-recognized – or even overlooked.  On this walking tour, learn who some of these Bostonians were and what greatness they achieved against the backdrop of the city's downtown neighborhood. Their own backgrounds were mixed.  Some came from wealth that they put to various uses; some were self-made women; and some were wives and mothers whose identities didn't stop at that point.  Their passions and professions ranged widely from creative survival in the Puritan era when women were limited in ways to earn a living to medicine, nutrition, education, art, literature, philanthropy, gender rights, and reforms of the 20th century.  Overall, this tour acknowledges the giant steps these women took in making Boston and America what they are today. find out more