Hyde Park has a long and rich history. It was a separate town until 1912 when it was annexed by the City of Boston. It was a racially mixed area even before the Civil War and was home to manufacturing companies and Camp Meigs, a Union Army training camp. Many influential women who had important roles in the events of their times lived here. Among them were suffragists, educators, abolitionists, authors, and businesswomen.
This trail begins in Cleary Square and ends near the Forest Hills MBTA station. It includes sites in most parts of Hyde Park and is too long to be a walking tour but it is possible to break it up into walkable sections. The addresses on the trail are where the woman lived during a period of her life even though the original house may now look very different or no longer be on the site.
Begins: At the corner of River and Maple Streets
Women Vote: March 7, 1870
Site of Everett House, corner of River and Maple Streets
On March 7, 1870, about fifty women, determined to vote despite the prohibition against woman’s suffrage, gathered in the Everett House, a hotel formerly at this site. The women marched in a group to the Hyde Park town hall and placed their ballots in the ballot box. They were led by Sarah Grimké and Angelina Grimké Weld, who had previously been active in the abolitionist movement and now turned their attention to women’s rights. The ballots cast that day were recorded but not counted. It was another fifty years before the 19th amendment to the U. S. Constitution declaring the right of women to vote was ratified.
Elizabeth Hedge Webster
675 Truman Highway (formerly 43 Water Street)
Elizabeth Hedge Webster (1822-1897) was a supporter of women’s suffrage and the author of Clover Blossoms, a book of essays and short pieces, published in 1880 while she was living in Hyde Park.
She was born Elizabeth Goodhue Hedge and married John G. Webster in 1842. Her book is dedicated to, among others, the Thought Club in Hyde Park. She was a long-time member of this club, and she included several items about people who spoke at Club meetings and excursions taken by Club members in the book. Clover Blossoms also includes pieces such as “Some reasons why women should have part in Government,” “Thoughts on the woman question,” and “Justice for women.” Hedge was one of the women who went to vote in the 1870 town election and is mentioned in the Proceedings of the Thirtieth Annual National American Woman Suffrage Association Convention in 1898 as “one of the earliest advocates of the cause.” The Women’s Suffrage League of Hyde Park presented a crayon portrait of Mrs. Webster to the Hyde Park Historical Society.
Angelina Weld Grimké
60 Milton Avenue
Angelina Weld Grimké (1880-1958) was a journalist, playwright, teacher, and poet and one of the first American women of color to have a play performed in public.
She was born in Boston. Her father was Archibald Grimké, a nephew of Angelina and Sarah Grimké, the son of their brother Henry and an enslaved woman. Angelina’s mother was Sarah Stanley, a white woman.
Angelina stayed for a time with her mother in the Midwest but returned to Massachusetts and lived with her father in Hyde Park from age seven to age fourteen. She attended the Fairmount School and Girls’ Latin. During the time her father served as Consul to the Dominican Republic, Angelina lived in Washington DC with her uncle Francis and his wife Charlotte Forten. She returned to the Boston area to attend the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics from which she graduated in 1902. She then began teaching in Washington and began writing. Her short stories and poems were published in The Crisis and in anthologies. In 1916, her play, Rachel, written for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was performed in Washington and New York City.
Angelina lived with her father in Washington and cared for him since he was in poor health. After he died in 1930, she moved to New York but did not publish any more work and lived a very quiet life there.
Mary Mildred Williams
63 Summit Street
Mary Mildred Botts (c. 1847-1921) was born enslaved in Virginia, one of three children of Seth Botts and his wife Elizabeth. Seth Botts escaped to Boston where he changed his name to Henry Williams. Three years later, he purchased the freedom of his wife and children, who also changed their last names.
His daughter Mary was very light skinned. Mary came to the attention of the abolitionist Charles Sumner who had seen a daguerreotype of her taken in Washington DC. Sumner brought her to many of his anti-slavery lectures to demonstrate that even a person appeared to be white could be enslaved. After the Civil War, Williams and her mother and sister moved to Hyde Park. Williams worked many years at the Registry of Deeds in Boston and lived a private life as a white woman. She is buried in Forest Hills Cemetery.
Cordelia A. Payson
272 Fairmount Avenue
Cordelia A. Collamore (1837-1905) was born in Appleton, Maine. She married Jesse Wentworth Payson, one of the Twenty Associates who founded Hyde Park. In 1859, she started the Fairmount and Hyde Park Lyceum and hosted literary evenings in her house; in 1884 the Lyceum became the Wentworth Club.
Mrs. Payson started a school in the Fairmount neighborhood in 1860. Her husband and she were among the staff of the school. She also wrote a pamphlet entitled “Bygones of Fairmont and Hyde Park, Revive the Pleasant Past,” which she read at an 1886 gathering of early settlers of Fairmount. She died on December 29, 1905 and is buried in Milton Cemetery in Milton.
Sarah Moore Grimké and Angelina Grimké Weld
212 Fairmount Avenue
Angelina Grimké Weld (1805-1879) was an abolitionist and women’s rights activist who lived in Hyde Park with her husband and sister from 1864 until the end of her life. Her sister, Sarah Moore Grimké (1792-1875), was thirteen years older than Angelina and was the first to leave their home in South Carolina. Sarah and Angelina were born into a large family and grew up on a plantation with many enslaved people. Angelina went to Philadelphia as a young woman to join Sarah and there they both became members of the Society of Friends and of the Female Anti-Slavery Society.
Angelina and Sarah used their experiences of first-hand knowledge of slavery in speeches and writings. Women speaking in public was not a common event at that time and their talks caused controversy. Angelina addressed the Massachusetts legislature in 1828, becoming the first woman in the United States to address a legislative body.
Both sisters wrote articles and pamphlets on anti-slavery and on women’s rights. In 1836, Angelina published a pamphlet entitled “An Appeal to Christian Women of the South” and in 1838, Sarah published a book called Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women, an important contribution to the women’s movement.
In 1838, Angelina married Theodore Weld, who was also very active in the abolitionist movement. They had three children. Sarah made her home with Angelina and Theodore. After some years in New Jersey, the Welds and Sarah moved to Hyde Park. By this time, they had all retired from lecturing although Angelina and Sarah had not given up activism as demonstrated by their leadership of the women who determined to vote in the municipal Hyde Park election in 1870.
Angelina and Sarah learned in 1868 that their brother, Henry, had fathered three sons with one of the enslaved women on his plantation. These young men, Archibald, Francis and John, were welcomed by the sisters and encouraged in their education. The Grimke sisters, along with Theodore Weld, are buried in Mount Hope Cemetery.
Virginia Isaacs Trotter
68 Neponset Avenue
Virginia Isaacs (1842-1919) married James Monroe Trotter in 1868. The couple had three children: William Monroe, Maude and Bessie. William Monroe Trotter was a well-known journalist and agitator for African American rights.
Virginia was raised in Ohio and met James Trotter, a member of the all-Black 55th Regiment during the Civil War, when he went to Ohio as a school teacher. After marriage, the couple moved to Boston, first living in the South End and then in Hyde Park. James served for a time in a federal government position in Washington DC. He invested in real estate in Hyde Park and after he died in 1892, Virginia continued to manage the funds he left. She supported her son’s newspaper, The Guardian. Her daughter, Maude Trotter Steward, (1874-1955), edited the paper for many years after William Monroe Trotter died in 1934.
William Monroe Trotter’s wife, Geraldine Louise Pindell Trotter, (1872-1918), worked closely with him on The Guardian, serving as bookkeeper and business agent. Virginia, Geraldine and William are buried in Fairview Cemetery in Hyde Park.
Mehitable Ewins Sunderland
23 Williams Avenue
Mehitable Sunderland (1807-1901) is recognized as the first physician in Hyde Park. She was married to LeRoy Sunderland, a minister and well-known orator who was prominent in the abolitionist movement. They divorced after Mehitable moved to Hyde Park in 1857, where she lived the rest of her life. She was active in the abolitionist movement and was part of the 1837 Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women. She was an advocate for women’s suffrage and was one of the group of women who marched to the voting place in Hyde Park in March of 1870.
Sunderland did not have training as a doctor but was the most experienced medical person in Hyde Park in her time. She was called upon by many people for help in sickness and was often present at the birth of babies. She was a businesswoman as well and built about 16 houses in town and rented them out. She rented to African Americans and was one of the only landlords to do so.
One of her daughters, Margaret Sunderland Cooper, was a spiritualist and an animal rights activist and was Inspector of Cattle Transportation for the state of New Hampshire. Cooper received a gold medal in 1883 from the American Humane Association.
Rebecca Lee Crumpler
54 Solaris Road
Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler (1831-1895) is the first Black woman in the United States to earn a medical degree. She received a Doctress of Medicine in 1864 from the New England Female Medical College in Boston’s South End. Born in Delaware, Crumpler was raised in Pennsylvania by an aunt. She came to Charlestown, MA in 1852 where she worked as a nurse. After she received her degree, she married Arthur Crumpler who had escaped slavery in 1862. Dr. Crumpler worked for the Freedmen’s Bureau in post-Civil War Virginia and then returned to Boston and set up a medical practice on Joy Street on Beacon Hill, focusing on women and children and emphasizing nutrition and preventative medicine. By 1880, the Crumplers had moved to Hyde Park. While living here, she wrote one of the first books of medicine written by an African American, A Book of Medical Discourses, published in 1883. Dr. Crumpler died on March 9, 1895 and is buried in Fairview Cemetery.
A Book of Medical Discourses
by Rebecca Lee Crumpler
39 Avila Road
Charlotte Fellman (1919-2017) was born in Boston to Russian immigrant parents. She went to the Atherton School in Dorchester and Girls’ Latin School, graduated from Boston Teachers College in 1940, and moved to Hyde Park in 1975. She was interested in music from a very young age and was selected to conduct a rhythmic orchestra of schoolchildren at Symphony Hall when she was eight years old, a performance that was covered by the Boston Globe. She spent her career as a music teacher in the Boston Public Schools, coordinating music programs in schools throughout the city, and receiving several awards for music education. She was said by the Boston Symphony Orchestra to be its longest subscriber, having subscribed for 79 years. Not only did she attend concerts, she volunteered at the Symphony Gift Shop where she started a Children’s Corner and she was the Educational Consultant for the BSO Youth Concerts. She went to Tanglewood most summers and attended seminars there. The Symphony helped her celebrate her 97th birthday by inviting her backstage to meet BSO conductor Andris Nelsons and talk with him about conductors she had heard over the years.
Olive Gertrude Homans
114 Gordon Avenue
Olive Homans (1879-1899) was a child actress, best known for playing the lead part in Little Lord Fauntleroy at the Boston Museum (a theater) when she was eight years old. Homans was born in Missouri and came with her parents to Hyde Park in 1883. She appeared in child roles in several productions in venues across the United States. Her book of poems and sketches, A Bunch of Pansies, was published in 1899. Olive died at age nineteen from pulmonary tuberculosis. She is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Hyde Park.
Roxana Hayward Vivian
48 Gordon Avenue
Roxana Hayward Vivian (1871-1961) was born in Hyde Park. She graduated from Hyde Park High School and then went to Wellesley College. After getting a degree in Greek and Mathematics in 1894, she taught for one year in Stoughton and then for three years at Walnut Hill School in Natick. In 1898, she received an Alumnae Fellowship for Women at the University of Pennsylvania and began her graduate studies. She was the first woman to receive a doctorate in mathematics from the University.
Vivian returned to Wellesley College where she was the first woman in the Mathematics Department to hold a PhD. She stayed at Wellesley for twenty-six years. She served as the financial secretary for the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union of Boston. Vivian died at the Roxbury Home for Aged Women (now the Sophia Snow Place) in West Roxbury on May 31, 1961.
41 Austin Street
Amy Brooks (1861-1934) was an author and illustrator. She was born in Chelsea, MA. The family moved to Hyde Park where Amy attended public schools. She later went to the Museum School of Drawing and Painting in Boston. She wrote books for children and illustrated all of her own thirty-two books as well as doing illustrations for about seventy titles by other authors. Books she wrote were The Randy series, the Prue series, the Dorothy Dainty series, and the Princess Polly series. Brooks was also an accomplished pianist and wrote classical songs.
Ella Frances Neale Boyd
1141 Hyde Park Avenue
Ella F. Boyd (1855-1923) was a teacher, an amateur geologist, an officer in the Boston Society of Natural History and the Agassiz Association, and a member of the Hyde Park school board for fifteen years.
She was born in Boston and moved with her family to Hyde Park after 1874, remaining here after her marriage to Fred Webster Boyd in 1879. She was a science teacher in schools in the Boston area. Ella was very interested in geology and studied with two professors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She wrote several pamphlets on geological subjects, including one entitled “Geological Formation of Hyde Park.” She presented another paper, “Granites of Massachusetts and Their Origins,” at the Women’s Section of the World’s Congress on Geology meeting in Chicago in 1893.
Boyd represented the Agassiz Association in 1892 at the Mechanics’ Fair and also organized exhibits of the Association at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. She was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and gave lectures on geology which were credited with increasing interest in the subject. She died in 1923 and is buried in Fairview Cemetery.
11 Dell Avenue
Alice Bradley (1875-1946) was born in Bradford, Massachusetts but her family moved to Hyde Park before she was five years old. She went to Hyde Park High School and after graduation took courses at MIT and Columbia Teachers College. She then went to the Boston Cooking School where she and other students tested recipes for the cookbook written by the director, Fannie Merritt Farmer. Bradley graduated from the Boston Cooking School in 1897 and went to Canada to teach for two years. When Miss Farmer opened her own school, Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery, in Boston she offered Bradley a position there where because of her education, she could teach courses in nutrition. Alice Bradley remained for nine years and then left to teach at the New York School of Cookery. When Fanny Farmer died in 1915, Bradley bought her school and stayed there as principal until 1944.
In 1916, Bradley became the cooking editor for The Woman’s Home Companion. During World War I, she was a consultant to the United States Food Administration. She wrote more than ten cookbooks, had a cooking show on the radio, wrote a newspaper column, and wrote articles for other newspapers and magazines.
Mary Hannah Hanchett Hunt
8 Webster Street
Mary Hannah Hanchett Hunt (1830-1906) was famous for her campaign against the use of alcohol. In 1880, she was named national educational chairman for the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and thereafter spent many years traveling throughout the United States, lecturing on temperance, testifying before legislatures, developing programs of instruction in temperance for use in public schools, and writing and editing materials for teachers.
Hunt was born in Connecticut and educated in Baltimore. In 1852, she married Leander H. Hunt and the couple moved to Hyde Park in 1886. She lived in Hyde Park until 1893 when she moved to Dorchester where she died in 1906. She is buried at Forest Hills Cemetery.
Mrs. Hunt became interested in the temperance movement while helping her son, Alfred, study for a chemistry course. She determined the best way to eliminate abuse of alcohol was to educate school children. She was very successful in encouraging schools to offer courses in the dangers of alcohol and was instrumental in the passage of federal legislation to mandate such instruction. By 1890 her influence was so great she was named to a position in the world WCTU similar to the one she held in the United States. Books she wrote include Health for Little Folks, Lessons in Hygiene, and Outlines of Anatomy.
Ruth Mowry Brown
17 Riverside Square
Ruth Brown (1867-1950) was an author who was interested in church work and settlement work. She was the author of The Bible in Lesson and Study and also published children’s stories in various magazines including Child’s Hour and Outlook. She wrote a memoir of her father, an educator and historical writer, called Memories andAppreciation of William Augustus Mowry. Ruth was born in Providence and attended school there and in Boston. She married Edward Water Brown on October 30, 1889 and had two children with him. The Browns lived in Hyde Park from 1900 to 1921 during which time Ruth was a member of the Thought Club, a club formed in 1881 to provide a source for continuing education and personal growth for the women who belonged.
Amanda Melvina Lougee
Corner of Hyde Park Avenue and Willow Street, site of the Clifton factory
Amanda Lougee (1842-1922) was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts to Robert W. Lougee and Sarah Lougee. She worked for many years with her brother in the Clifton Manufacturing Company in its Hyde Park factory and took over the business when he died. At that time, the company was in the rubber gossamer field, but she expanded it to include the manufacturing of double textured clothing, mould work and electrical tape. She was one of the very few women at the time in charge of such a large enterprise. The Clifton Manufacturing Company employed over 275 people and in addition to the factory in Clarendon Hills in Hyde Park had offices in New York and Chicago.
Lougee was also an inventor. She earned many patents, including for electrical conduits, fireproof fabric, fireproof wire, and fireproof conductors. Her most widely used invention was for a method of covering buttons with cloth over metal; this became the precursor of political and all other kinds of advertising buttons.
Lougee was a prominent figure in the Boston suffrage movement. She served as treasurer of the Massachusetts Women’s Suffrage Association and worked with Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe and others. Lougee was one of the women honored in 1920 at a celebratory dinner after the nineteenth amendment allowing women to vote was ratified.
Researched and written by Katherine Dibble, with assistance from Bridget Barber, Victoria Gall, Patrice Gattozzi, Mary Smoyer, Barbara Wicker.
Image of Mehitable Sunderland courtesy of the Hyde Park Historical Society.
Image of Mary Mildred Williams from the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
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