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June 4, 1875: Ellen Swallow Marries Robert Richards

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Worcester Becomes a City: March 1, 1848
On this day in 1848, the Governor of Massachusetts signed a charter giving the once-sleepy village of Worcester the legal status of a city. For over a...

Harvard Shakers Record Spiritual Visit: December 30, 1841
On this day in 1841, the Shakers in Harvard reported a spiritual visit by their long-dead founder Mother Ann, "Holy Angels," and "ancient...

Alice Freeman and George Palmer Marry: December 23, 1887
On this day in 1887, Alice Freeman, charismatic president of Wellesley College, wed Harvard professor George Palmer, to the consternation of many Boston...

First YMCA in the United States Organized in Boston: December 15, 1851
On this day in 1851, a group of evangelicals from several Boston churches founded the first Young Men's Christian Association in the United States....

Henrietta Leavitt Buried in Cambridge: December 14, 1921
On this day in 1921, Henrietta Leavitt, a scientist at the Harvard Observatory, was buried in Cambridge. Her premature death cut short a brilliant career...

Crowd Gathers to Hear Writer Mary Antin: December 8, 1912
On this day in 1912, over 1,000 people gathered at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York to hear Boston writer Mary Antin. She had come to make a plea...

WW II Sends Record Number of Bay State Women to Work: December 7, 1941
On this day in 1941, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor launched the people of Massachusetts into World War II — and out of the Depression....

Quakers Outlawed in Plymouth: December 3, 1658
On this day in 1658, Plymouth Court ordered that any boat carrying Quakers to Sandwich be seized to prevent the religious heretics from landing. A year...

Elizabeth Porter Phelps Born: November 24, 1747
On this day in 1747, Elizabeth Porter was born in the Connecticut River Valley village of Hadley. Five years later, her father built the first house outside...

“Richest Woman in America” Born in New Bedford: November 21, 1834
On this day in 1834, the wealthiest whaling family in New Bedford celebrated the birth of their only daughter. This little girl would grow up to be the...

Mercy Otis Marries James Warren: November 14, 1754
On this day in 1754, Mercy Otis of Barnstable and James Warren of Plymouth began their remarkable 54-year partnership. When she married into a family...

Sculptor Edmonia Lewis Displays Work in Boston: November 11, 1864
On this day in 1864, sculptor Edmonia Lewis exhibited two of her early pieces at the Colored Soldiers' Fair in Boston. The daughter of a Native American...

First Students Arrive at Mt. Holyoke Seminary: November 8, 1837
On this day in 1837, 80 students arrived at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in the Connecticut Valley village of South Hadley. Many had traveled for days...

Voters Deny Massachusetts Women the Vote: November 2, 1915
On this day in 1915, a referendum to give Massachusetts women the vote failed at the polls. In spite of its leading role in the nineteenth-century woman's...

First National Woman’s Rights Convention Ends in Worcester: October 24, 1850
On this day in 1850, the first national convention for woman's rights concluded in Worcester. For two days, more than 1,000 delegates from 11 different...

First Missionaries Leave for Hawaii: October 23, 1819
On this day in 1819, a crowd gathered on a Boston wharf to bid farewell to the first Protestant missionaries bound for Hawaii. Among them were seven Massachusetts...

Lydia Maria Child Dies: October 20, 1880
On this day in 1880, Lydia Maria Child, whom abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison called "the first woman in the Republic," was buried...

Indian Rights Activist Born in Amherst: October 15, 1830
On this day in 1830, an Amherst College professor and his wife rejoiced at the safe delivery of their second child, Helen Maria Fiske. A lifelong friend...

Margaret Marshall Appointed to Supreme Judicial Court: October 14, 1999
On this day in 1999, Margaret Marshall became the first woman appointed Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The oldest court in...

Northampton Dedicates Sojourner Truth Statue: October 4, 2002
On this day in 2002, a statue was installed in Florence, a village of Northampton, to honor Sojourner Truth, the former slave best known for the "Ain't...

Maria Mitchell Discovers Comet: October 1, 1847
On this day in 1847, 29-year-old Maria Mitchell stood on the roof of her parent's Nantucket home, focusing her telescope on what she believed to...

Fitchburg Forms Ladies Soldier’s Aid Society: September 16, 1861
On this day in 1861, more than 100 women in the central Massachusetts town of Fitchburg formed a Ladies Soldier's Aid Society. The organization's...

Mabel Todd First Describes Emily Dickinson: September 15, 1882
On this day in 1882, Mabel Loomis Todd first recorded her impressions of her mysterious Amherst neighbor. Emily Dickinson always wore white and had her...

Memorial to Anne Bradstreet Dedicated: September 12, 2000
On this day in 2000, several North Shore communities were celebrating "Anne Bradstreet Week" to mark the 350th anniversary of the poet's...

Rep. Edith Nourse Rogers Dies: September 10, 1960
On this day in 1960, Representative Edith Nourse Rogers died of a heart attack in a Boston hospital, just three days before the end of her nineteenth...

Massachusetts Audubon Society Makes First Land Purchase: September 9, 1922
On this day in 1922, the Massachusetts Audubon Society purchased its first parcel of land. For $8,000, it acquired 43 acres in the town of Sharon —...

Lucy Terry Prince Composes Poem: August 28, 1748
On this day in 1746, Lucy Terry Prince was among the residents of Deerfield traumatized by an Abenaki raid on the village. Lucy, an enslaved woman, described...

Jury Decides in Favor of Elizabeth “Mum Bett” Freeman: August 22, 1781
On this day in 1781, a jury in Great Barrington found in favor of "Mum Bett," a black woman who had been a slave in the home of Colonel...

Dr. Susan Dimock Begins Medical Residency: August 20, 1872
On this day in 1872, Dr. Susan Dimock became the resident physician at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston. Only a month earlier,...

Smithsonian Puts Julia Child’s Kitchen on Display: August 19, 2002
On this day in 2002, a new exhibit opened in Washington, DC. The kitchen in Julia Child's Cambridge home of 32 years had been disassembled and moved...

Oak Bluffs Writer Dorothy West Dies: August 16, 1998
On this day in 1998, Dorothy West died on Martha's Vineyard. The Boston-born writer was the last living member of the Harlem Renaissance, a movement...

Woman’s Rights Pioneer Lucy Stone Born: August 13, 1818
On this day in 1818, woman's rights pioneer Lucy Stone was born on a farm in West Brookfield. Her mother greeted the news that her sixth child was...

Charlestown Convent Lies in Ruins: August 12, 1834
On this day in 1834, the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown lay in ruins. The night before, a Protestant mob sacked it and burned it to the ground. The nuns...

Frederick Douglass First Addresses White Audience: August 11, 1841
On this day in 1841, Frederick Douglass, a fugitive slave, addressed a white audience for the first time when he spoke to a gathering of abolitionists...

Lizzie Borden’s Father and Stepmother Murdered: August 4, 1892
On this day in 1892, a prosperous banker and his wife were hacked to death with a hatchet in their Fall River home. Suspicion immediately focused on the...

Tupperware Inventor Born: July 28, 1907
On this day in 1907, Earl Tupper, inventor of Tupperware, was born. Raised in central Massachusetts, birthplace of the plastics industry, he was a compulsive...

John Wheatley Purchases a Slave Child: July 11, 1761
On this day in 1761, John Wheatley, a successful merchant, purchased a frail little black girl off a slave ship in Boston. The Wheatleys named her Phillis,...

Rockport Women Smash Liquor Barrels: July 8, 1856
On this day in 1856, 200 women, some of them wielding hatchets and ranging in age from 37 to 75, rampaged through the town of Rockport destroying every...

Dr. Harriot K. Hunt Visits the Shakers: July 7, 1848
On this day in 1848, Dr. Harriot K. Hunt of Boston, one of the nation's first female physicians, made a visit to the Shaker community in Harvard....

Brookfield Woman Put to Death: July 2, 1778
On this day in 1778, an intelligent and high-spirited beauty from Brookfield became the first woman to be executed in the new American republic. The 32-year-old's...

Governor Honors Activist Melnea Cass: June 19, 1968
On this day in 1968, Governor John Volpe dedicated the Melnea Cass Swimming and Skating Rink in Roxbury. The new facility was intended to improve life...

Christian Scientists Dedicate Mother Church: June 10, 1906
On this day in 1906, the recently enlarged Mother Church of Christian Science was dedicated in Boston. The original building seated only 1,000 people,...

Paper Publishes First Installment of Uncle Tom’s Cabin: June 5, 1851
On this day in 1851 an abolitionist newspaper published the first installment of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. The following March,...

Ellen Swallow Marries Robert Richards: June 4, 1875
On this day in 1875, Ellen Swallow married M.I.T. Professor Robert Hallowell Richards. Three days later, they set off on a wedding trip to Nova Scotia...

Writer Margaret Fuller Born: May 23, 1810
On this day in 1810, Margaret Fuller was born in Cambridge. Teacher, author, critic, philosopher, journalist, she is remembered today as a woman with...

Jury Finds Mary Parsons Not Guilty of Witchcraft: May 13, 1675
On this day in 1675, a Boston jury reached a verdict in the case of Mary Bliss Parsons of Northampton: they found her not guilty of witchcraft. In seventeenth-century...

Globe Publishes First “Confidential Chat”: May 11, 1884
On this day in 1884, The Boston Globe published the first "Housekeepers Column," known since 1922 as "Confidential Chat."...

Sarah Remond Ejected from Boston Theater: May 4, 1853
On this day in 1853, Sarah Parker Remond and two other African Americans entered a Boston theater intending to enjoy a Mozart opera. When the manager...

Poet Anne Sexton Publishes First Book: April 22, 1960
On this day in 1960, Massachusetts poet Anne Sexton had her first collection of poems published, To Bedlam and Part Way Back. Just before the manuscript...

Rosie Ruiz Steals Boston Marathon: April 21, 1980
On this day in 1980 Rosie Ruiz tried to steal the Boston Marathon. Crowned the women's champion when she crossed the finish line, Ruiz looked surprisingly...

Telephone Operators Strike: April 20, 1919
On this day in 1919, striking telephone operators in Massachusetts won the right to negotiate with the New England Telephone Company. The young, single...

“Mill Girl” Writer Lucy Larcom Dies: April 17, 1893
On this day in 1893, Lucy Larcom died. A popular poet during her lifetime, she would be forgotten today except for a work of prose that she wrote in 1889....

Frances Perkins Born in Boston: April 10, 1880
On this day in 1880, Frances Perkins, the first woman to hold a cabinet position, was born in Boston. Raised in Worcester, she attended Mt. Holyoke College,...

Concord Women Cast First Votes: March 29, 1880
On this day in 1880, Louisa May Alcott and 19 other women attended the Concord Town Meeting. The year before, the Massachusetts legislature had made it...

Dorothea Dix Begins Her Crusade: March 28, 1841
On this day in 1841, Dorothea Dix visited an East Cambridge jail and was appalled to see mentally ill women confined alongside hardened criminals. The...

Jordan Marsh Announces New Store: March 27, 1947
On this day in 1947, Jordan, Marsh and Company announced that it was going to build "the greatest department store in the world" in...

Deborah Sampson Performs in Boston: March 26, 1802
On this day in 1802, a performance of "The American Heroine" took place in a fashionable Boston theater. The audience watched spellbound...

Birth Control Pioneer Born: March 24, 1890
On this day in 1890, birth control pioneer John Rock was born in the small Massachusetts town of Marlborough. He was a deeply religious Catholic even...

Anne Hutchinson Banished: March 22, 1638
On this day in 1638, Anne Hutchinson was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Three years after arriving in Boston, she found herself the first...

Charlotte Forten Enters Salem Normal School: March 13, 1855
On this day in 1855, Charlotte Forten passed the entrance examination for the Salem Normal School, one of four colleges recently established in Massachusetts...

Sophia Smith Endows New Women’s College: March 8, 1870
On this day in 1870, a shy but determined woman from Hatfield willed that her fortune be used to establish a women's college in Northampton. The...

Gardner Museum Opens: February 23, 1903
On this day in 1903, Isabella Stewart Gardner's newly completed home and museum was opened to the public for the first time. The grand building on...

Lynn Shoeworkers Strike: February 22, 1860
On this day in 1860, thousands of striking shoeworkers filled Lyceum Hall in Lynn. By choosing to begin their protest on Washington's birthday, the...

Angelina Grimke Addresses Legislature: February 21, 1838
On this day in 1838 a woman addressed a legislative body for the first time in American history. An overflow crowd gathered at the State House in Boston...

Worcester Puts Fosters’ Home Up For Auction: February 20, 1872
On this day in 1872, Worcester city officials put up for auction the home of Stephen and Abby Kelley Foster. The veteran abolitionists were once again...

First American-Made Valentines Sold: February 14, 1849
On this day in 1849, the first American-made valentines were sold in Worcester. They were designed and made by Esther Howland, the daughter of a local...

Boston Holds First “Rat Day”: February 13, 1917
On this day in 1917, the Boston Women's Municipal League held the first — and as it happened, only — Rat Day. Increasing numbers...

Activist Florence Luscomb Born: February 6, 1887
On this day in 1887, lifelong political activist Florence Luscomb was born in Lowell. As a child, she heard the legendary Susan B. Anthony speak. In her...

Tenley Albright Wins Olympic Gold: February 3, 1956
On this day in 1956, figure skater Tenley Albright won the Gold Medal at the Olympic Games in Cortina, Italy. This should not have been a surprise but...

Abigail Adams Knows: February 2, 1775
On this day in 1775, Abigail Adams wrote sadly "the Die is Cast . . . The Sword is now our only yet dreadful alternative." The day before,...

Julia Ward Howe Elected to American Academy of Arts: January 28, 1908
On this day in 1908, 89-year-old Julia Ward Howe became the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Howe lived most of her long...

Lowell Women Sign On to Teach in the West: January 26, 1864
On this day in 1864, a visitor from Seattle held a meeting in Lowell. Asa Mercer explained to his largely female audience that there was a great scarcity...

Indian Boys Arrive in Longmeadow: January 23, 1800
On this day in 1800, Thomas Thorakwaneken Williams arrived in Longmeadow with his two young sons, Eleazer and John. Thomas was the grandson of Eunice...

Nation’s First Country Club Established: January 14, 1882
On this day in 1882, a group of men from the social elite of Boston formally established The Country Club of Brookline, the first such club in the United...

Bread and Roses Strike Begins: January 12, 1912
On this day in 1912, the labor protest later known as the "Bread and Roses" strike began in Lawrence. A new state law had reduced the...

Emily Greene Balch Born: January 8, 1867
On this day in 1867, Emily Balch was born in Jamaica Plain. Her parents' affluence and enlightened views allowed her to attend college at a time...

Fannie Farmer Cookbook Published: January 7, 1896
On this day in 1896, the first edition of the Boston Cooking-School Cookbook was published. Later known as the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, the book was the...

Skater Nancy Kerrigan Assaulted: January 6, 1994
On this day in 1994, Nancy Kerrigan of Stoneham was practicing for the U.S Figure Skating championships. She was leaving the ice when a man assaulted...

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