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As we continue to celebrate Women Trailblazers in Massachusetts, here are some facts about women’s history in Massachusetts and our top recommendations for where to experience Massachusetts’ women’s history.
In 1692, Salem witnessed the infamous witch trials. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and 20 were executed, of which 14 were women. Besides being a Halloween destination, Salem has many historical places of interests to visit year-round such as the Salem Witch Museum, the Witch Trials Memorial, and the Witch House.
The remnants of the mills in Lowell provide a glimpse into the past, where thousands of young, single women worked during the industrial revolution. They were dubbed the “Lowell Mill Girls” and suffered from tough working conditions. The first organization of working women in the United States, the Lowell Female Labor Reform (LFLRA), was also established in Lowell in 1844, and allowed female laborers to bargain collectively for higher pay. Today, the Lowell National Historical Park offers visitors the opportunity to experience the life of the mill girls with its unique tours.
Seven women’s colleges, founded in the mid-to-late 19th century, promoted the equal right to education for women. Four of “the Seven Sisters” are located in Massachusetts: Mount Holyoke College, Wellesley College, Smith College, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Famous graduates include Hillary Clinton, Soong Mei-ling, Barbara Bush, Nancy Regan, Elaine Chao, Emily Dickinson, and Helen Keller. A visit to any of these historic campuses is a wonderful way to celebrate Women’s History Month!
In the Greater Boston Area, the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail recommends multiple trails to highlight women’s contributions to the city. For example, the Ladies Walk is designed in honor of the Boston Women’s Memorial celebrating the lives of Abigail Adams, Lucy Stone, and Phillis Wheatley.