The Jamaica Plain Women’s History Trail was researched and designed by Mary Smoyer in 1992, with a great deal of assistance from the Jamaica Plain Historical Society, local residents and friends. It is a good example of the kind of trail one could do in one’s own neighborhood. If you would like to do a trail in your neighborhood and want some ideas about how to get it off the ground, contact Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Begins: At 130 Prince Street
Home of Emily Green Balch
130 Prince Street
Emily Greene Balch (1867-1961) lived here with her family in a house no longer standing. Balch won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for her indefatigable work for peace, in particular with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). She was a Socialist, and a founder of Denison House and the Women’s Trade Union League. She studied immigration and economics, teaching economics at Wellesley for 20 years until her radical peace work led to her dismissal in 1919. For the next 40 years she worked for peace all over the world, organizing WILPF activities and undertaking special missions as its delegate.
Home of Ednah Dow Cheney
117 Forest Hills Street
Ednah Dow Cheney (1824-1904), an activist and optimist throughout her life, lived here in a home no longer standing. She was greatly influenced by Margaret Fuller’s Conversationsand worked tirelessly for women’s rights, especially suffrage and the abolition of slavery. She helped found the New England Women’s Club and was President of the New England Hospital for Women and Children, as well as the author of several memoirs and children’s books.
Home of Mary Emilda Curley and School
Mary Emilda Curley (1882-1930) lived here with her flamboyant husband Mayor James Michael Curley over whom she exercised a strong, calming influence. She kept strictly out of public politics, almost never appearing in print, choosing instead to advise her husband behind the scenes. She had nine children and was an accomplished equestrienne. The Mary E. Curley School at 493 Centre Street is named after her.
Home of Susan Walker FitzGerald
7 Greenough Avenue
Susan Walker FitzGerald (1871-1943) was the first woman Democrat elected to the Massachusetts State Legislature. Having worked actively in the statewide suffrage campaign, she was elected in 1922 and served one term. She then became active in the international work of the General Alliance of Unitarian and Other Christian Women.
Home of Margaret Fuller and School
81 Morton Street
Margaret Fuller (1810-1850), who led the “Conversations” of the Transcendentalist Movement and edited its publication, The Dial, lived here for a few years starting in 1839 in a house no longer standing. She was a leading thinker of her day, articulate as a conversationalist, thinker, author, and feminist. Her radical thoughts based on a belief in creativity, intuition, and the human spirit had a major influence on American thought. The Boston Public School at 25 Glen Road was named after her until 2004.
Home of Maud Cuney Hare
43 Sheridan Street
Maud Cuney Hare (1874-1936) was a concert pianist, composer, teacher, lecturer, and author. She was director and founder of the Allied Arts Center and author of Negro Musicians and Their Music, a comprehensive survey of African-American music, as well as an arts critic and specialist in Creole music.
Home of Rose Finkelstein Norwood
45 Bickford Street
Rose Finkelstein Norwood (1890-1980), an energetic, indefatigable union activist and organizer, lived here in a house no longer standing. Rose worked in many unions during her career as an organizer and served as president of The Women’s Trade Union League. She fought for the rights of married women to work and keep their pay, and she campaigned for publicly funded daycare for the children of women who worked in the war industry during World War II.
Home of Julia Oliver O’Neil
24 Wyman Street
Julia Oliver O’Neil (1909-1978) lived at this site with her husband, ten daughters and two sons in a house no longer standing. She and her daughters became famous marching in the Easter Parade down Commonwealth Avenue 1940-1959. Every year she made matching outfits for her daughters and their picture was printed all over the world.
Home of Elizabeth Peabody
8 Gordon Street
Elizabeth Peabody (1804-1894) the mother of the kindergarten movement in America, lived here during the last years of her life in a house no longer standing. She was also a leader in the intellectual community in Boston. She was secretary to Dr. William Channing, an early leader of Unitarianism, and she owned a bookstore at 16 West Street which became the center of Transcendentalism. She published The Dial, a radical literary magazine, and supported women’s rights and the abolitionist movement. Her sister Sophia married Nathaniel Hawthorne, and her sister Mary married Horace Mann.
Home of Sylvia Plath
24 Prince Street
Sylvia Plath (1932-1963), who became famous posthumously for her poetry and her novel, The Bell Jar, lived here from birth to age four. After her suicide at age 30, a cult grew up around her, especially in the 1970s. Her book, Ariel, is one of the best-selling volumes of poetry in the 20th century. She was married to the English poet Ted Hughes and had two children.
Home of Ellen Swallow Richards
32 Eliot Street
Ellen Swallow Richards (1842-1911), the founder of the home economics movement, lived here with her husband, Robert Richards. At M.I.T., she was a chemist, the first woman graduate, and the first professor of sanitary engineering in the country. She set up the Woman’s Laboratory at M.I.T. so that other women could have access to a scientific education. She did pioneering work in the testing of water and food, revolutionizing the work of the housewife with new ideas about sanitation, cleaning, and cooking. She founded and led the American Home Economics Society.
Home of Mother Mary Joseph Rogers
20 Robinwood Avenue
Mother Mary Joseph Rogers (1882-1955), founder of the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic in 1920, grew up in this house. She began her work in Boston as a coworker with Father James Walsh who founded the Maryknoll seminary for priests. She emphasized service of God in the service of human beings, and professional preparation for all Maryknoll sisters.
Pauline Agassiz Shaw Plaque and Home
Corner of Thomas and Centre Streets
This plaque honors Pauline Agassiz Shaw (1841-1917) for her support of free kindergarten education. The first kindergarten opened in 1877, and by 1883 she was supporting 37 kindergartens. She founded day nurseries which became settlement houses, including the North Bennet Street Industrial School. She also supported the Woman’s Journal, a weekly suffrage newspaper. Shaw lived at 241 Perkins Street with her husband Quincy Adams Shaw, a wealthy copper mining investor, and their five children.
Judith Winsor Smith
11 Roanoke Avenue
Judith Winsor Smith (1821-1921) lived here in the last years of her life. She was an active suffragist, abolitionist, and member of the New England Women’s Club. She was an activist in the East Boston community where she lived for 65 years and her home was known as “House Helpful.” When she voted for the first time in 1920, she was dubbed “the oldest suffragist of them all.” In her later years, she lived in Jamaica Plain with her daughter Zilpha Smith (1852-1926), a pioneer in the development of family social work in Boston.
Lucy Stone Chapel, 95 Forest Hills Avenue
Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was a women’s rights orator and a leader of the woman suffrage movement, founding and leading the American Woman Suffrage Association. She was an organizer of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, one of the first Massachusetts woman to receive a college degree, the first married woman to officially keep her family name, and the founder and editor of the Woman’s Journal. She was the first woman to be cremated in New England. Her ashes are held in the Number One urn in the Columbarium below the Lucy Stone Chapel with those of her husband and her daughter Alice Stone Blackwell (1857-1958) who was also a leader in the women’s rights movement and editor of the Woman’s Journal for 25 years.
The Tuesday Club
Loring Greenough House, 12 South Street
The Tuesday club, a women’s club founded in 1896 under the guidance of Ednah Dow Cheney, purchased the Loring Greenough House in 1924 to save it from demolition. Marguerite Souther (1882-1975) advanced the collateral necessary to obtain the mortgage. Today the club continues to maintain the historic house which was built in 1760 and sponsors many community events and lectures.
Home of Marie Zakrewska
5 Peter Parley Road
Marie Zakrewska (1829-1902) came to America in 1853 hoping to be able to practice medicine. With the help of Elizabeth Blackwell, she went to Western Reserve Medical College. In 1862, finding that the male medical establishment would not let her practice, she founded her own hospital, The New England Hospital for Women and Children. The hospital hired only women physicians and served only women patients. The hospital opened a Nurses Training School in 1872, graduating America’s first trained nurse.
Margarita Muñiz Academy
20 Child Street
Margarita Muñiz (1950-2011) worked in Boston Public Schools for 39 years, 30 of them as the principal of the Rafael Hernandez School, the premier dual language school in Massachusetts. As a principal, she never stopped teaching and learning. She eagerly embraced becoming a founding principal of Expeditionary Learning because its philosophy and pedagogy of adventure matched her own. Under Muñiz’s leadership, the Hernandez School was nominated as an Effective Practice School by the BPS, received a 2005 Teacher Team of the Year from USA TODAY, and had three teachers nominated by the Mayor’s Office as Boston Teacher of the Year. Muñiz was recognized for her many contributions as an educator and leader. She received the City of Boston’s Shattuck Public Service Award, was selected the 2009 Principal of the Year in Boston and chosen as a Barr Foundation Fellow from 2007 to 2010. She was also named one of 100 Outstanding Women in Massachusetts in 2003.