From the President

The Worcester Women’s History Project is celebrating its 20th year!

A great debt of gratitude is given to trailblazers like Lisa Connelly Cook, who said, “Why haven’t I heard about this before?” referring to learning that the first National Woman’s Rights Convention was held in Worcester in 1850. That one question inspired many women to join together to put Worcester’s women’s history on the map. 

They began with initiating the Portraits Project at Mechanics Hall in the late 1990’s which resulted in the commissioning of the portraits of Clara Bar-ton, Dorothea Dix, Abby Kelley Foster and Lucy Stone for the Great Hall. The year 2000 saw the culmination of the work of women, community leaders in their own right, who together recreated the first National Woman’s Rights Convention as part of the 3-day conference named WOMEN 2000

After WOMEN 2000, members looked at the Vision/Mission Statement: The Worcester Women’s History Project will celebrate and document women’s contributions to the history, social fabric, and culture of Worcester and beyond. They wanted to continue to highlight the important work of women from Worcester. From radical abolitionists like Abby Kelley Foster to Frances 

Perkins, the first woman U.S. Cabinet member, who shaped labor law and Social Security, Worcester’s women have had a place on the national stage. 

As we travel through our twentieth year, the momentum begun in 1994 continues. Our Trail Guide highlighting women who lived in Worcester in the 19th century is being updated to include women from the 20th century. We are able to begin this extensive project thanks to a generous grant to cover phase one from The George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation. We have established a Speakers’ Bureau. We continue to celebrate local talented writers with our 12th annual WOMEN IN PRINT. The Worcester Women’s Oral History Project, since its launching in 2005, has interviewed over 300 women, and their oral histories are accessible to all at the Schlesinger Library. Yours for Humanity— Abby, since its premiere in 2004, has been per-formed by Lynne McKenney Lydick before over 20,000 people of all ages. Recently, we highlighted the remarkable work of Worcester’s Charlotte Wharton, the artist who painted the portrait of Abby Kelley Foster which hangs in Mechanics Hall.

Are you thinking you might want to help continue the momentum? As an all-volunteer organization, we need you to share your tal-ents. 

We have many committees that need your help. Events, Social Media, Website, Membership, Speakers’ Bureau, Oral History Project, and Trail Guide, all have openings for people just like you. Most committees are flexible. 

If you are ready to roll up your sleeves and join us, we will try to make the meeting time accommodate your schedule. 

In my time with the Worcester Women’s History Project, I have been amazed at the incredible accomplishments of this all-volunteer organization. With your help, we can take it to the next level. 

We must preserve and celebrate the history of Worcester’s women for our daughters and their daughters (and sons as well!). 

To volunteer, please contact me directly at so we can find an opportunity that will put your talents to use in a meaningful way.

Published Date: 
February 12, 2015