Jamaica Plain

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 Howsmoyer@gmail.com.
Jamaica Plain Map

1: Home of Emily Green Balch 130 Prince Street
Emily Greene BalchEmily Greene Balch (1867-1961) 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.Return to top

2: Home of Ednah Dow Cheney 117 Forest Hills Street
Ednah Dow Cheney (1824-1904) was an activist and optimist throughout her life. 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.Return to top

3: Home of Mary Emilda Curley 44 Commonwealth Avenue
Mary Emilda Curley(1882-1930) exercised a strong and calming influence over her husband, the flamboyant Mayor James Michael Curley whom she married in 1906. 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.Return to top

4: 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.Return to top

5: Home of Margaret Fuller 81 Morton Street
Margaret Fuller(1810-1850) led the “Conversations” of the Transcendentalist Movement and edited its publication, The Dial. 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.Return to top

6: 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.Return to top

7: Home of Julia Oliver O’Neil 24 Wyman Street
Julia Oliver O’Neil (1909-1978) was the mother of ten daughters and two sons. 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.Return to top

8: Elizabeth Peabody 8 Gordon Street
Elizabeth Peabody (1804-1894) was the mother of the kindergarten movement in America. 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.Return to top

9: Home of Sylvia Plath 24 Prince Street
Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) became famous posthumously for her poetry and her novel, The Bell Jar. After her suicide at age 30, a cult grew up around her, especially in the 1970’s. 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.Return to top

10: Ellen Swallow Richards 32 Eliot Street
Ellen Swallow Richards (1842-1911) was the founder of the home economics movement. At M.I.T., she was a chemist, the first female student, 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.Return to top

11: Home of Mother Mary Joseph Rogers 20 Robinwood Avenue
Mother Mary Joseph Rogers (1882 -1955) founded the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic in 1920. 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.Return to top

12: Pauline Agassiz Shaw Corner of Thomas and Centre
Pauline Agassiz Shaw (1841-1917) devoted her life to supporting education. She opened the first kindergarten in 1877, and by 1883 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. She was married to Quincy Adams Shaw, a wealthy copper mining investor, and had five children.

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13: Judith Winsor Smith 11 Roanoke Street
Judith Winsor Smith (1821-1921) was an active suffragist, abolitionist, and member of the New England Women’s Club and the East Boston community where she lived for 65 years. 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.Return to top

14: Lucy Stone 137 Beacon Street
Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was a leader of the national women’s rights movement. She was an organizer of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, the first Massachusetts woman to receive a college degree, the first married woman to keep her own name, and the founder and editor of the Woman’s Journal. She was the first woman to be cremated in New England. Her daughter Alice Stone Blackwell (1857-1958) was also a leader in the women’s rights movement and editor of the Woman’s Journal for 25 years.Return to top

15: 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 hospitalThe 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 nurses.Return to top