About Us

The Founding

The Worcester Women's History Project was founded in 1994 by a small group of women to raise awareness of the importance of the first National Woman's Rights Convention and to highlight the role of Worcester-- a center of radical abolitionist activity and the site of the first National Woman's Rights Convention in 1850--in the women's rights movement. Their vision was to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 1850 convention in 2000, which vision became realized in Women 2000.

In the spirit of the abolitionists who organized the first National Woman's Rights Convention in Worcester in 1850, the WWHP seeks to build a strong foundation of community support by involving women and men from all races, classes and creeds in support of its mission.

The WWHP Today

The WWHP promotes the research of local women's history, offers educational programming, and sponsors public events. The WWHP is also available to provide research assistance, speaking engagements and to collaborate on programs and projects.

The Oral History Project records, collects, and shares the personal and historical memories of women throughout the Worcester community. The Project focuses on the four areas that characterized the foundation and spirit of the first National Woman's Rights Convention that was held in Worcester in 1850. Those areas are work, education, health, and politics. The OHP has entered into a partnership with the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. The Schlesinger Library now serves as the repository for almost 500 oral histories of Worcester’s women most of which are accessible online. Annual Oral History programs are open to the public and training workshops on how to conduct oral histories are also available by arrangement.

A 46-page booklet "Worcester Women's History Heritage Trail: Worcester in the Struggle for Equality in the Mid-Nineteenth Century". Its contents:

The Places Where Worcester’s Reformers Met

  • Brinley Hall
  • Mechanics Hall
  • Central Exchange Building
  • Worcester County Kansas League
  • A.M.E. Zion Church
  • Worcester Female Employment Society
  • American Temperance House
  • Horticultural Hall
  • The Reform Book Store
  • Worcester Children’s Friend Society
  • Oread Institute
  • Ladies Collegiate Institute
  • Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital
  • Worcester Water Cure Institution
  • Botanic and Clairoyant Institution

Worcester’s Leaders in the National Struggle for Equal Rights

  • Lucy Stone
  • Abby Kelley Foster
  • Stephen S. Foster
  • Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • Eli Thayer
  • Edward Everett Hale

Foot Soldiers and Families Who Worked for Equality

  • The Hemenway Family
  • The Rich Family
  • The Earle Family
  • The Chase Family
  • The Davis Family
  • The Harris Family
  • The May Family
  • The Brown Family
  • Bethan Veney
  • Isaac Mason
  • The Stowell Family
  • William Whitney Rice
  • Henry Chapin
  • The Rawson Family