Women of Historic New England

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the nineteenth amendment, Historic New England celebrates history-making women

Sara Baro Colcher

Throughout the year, we will a look at our women’s stories: The women who lived and worked at our historic sites, the authors and the artists represented in our collection, the women who took on preserving our historic properties, the women who helped revitalize our landscapes and interiors, and the women who work in our museums, tend our gardens, preserve our buildings, and teach our students.

Through programs, tours, and articles, discover the Women of Historic New England.


The stories we tell

Suffragists in Boston 1919

Suffragists with a protest banner during President Wilson's visit to Boston, Mass., Feb. 1919. Learn More

  • Suffragists in Boston 1919

    Suffragists with a protest banner during President Wilson's visit to Boston, Mass., Feb. 1919. Learn More

  • Hazel Sinclair and Rock Rest

    Hazel Sinclair was the proprietor of Rock Rest, a summer guest house that welcomed African-American tourists in Kittery, Maine. Rock Rest provided a safe haven from the racial discrimination faced by African-American travelers on vacation. Visit our online exhibition on the topic. Learn More

  • Celia Thaxter's Hand-Painted Porcelain

    Celia Thaxter's creative output as author, poet, and artist represents the sort of life gifted New England women could lead during the second half of the nineteenth century. Learn More

  • Ise and Walter Gropius

    Listen to Ise Gropius talk about the Bauhaus. The clips come from an interview recorded by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Montreal) in 1977. Learn More

  • Sara Baro Colcher

    Sara Baro Colcher was born in Africa between 1835 and 1840 and was captured by slave dealer Don de Mer when she was a child. By 1860, Colcher was living in Boston, employed as a domestic worker. Learn More

  • Mary H. Northend Photography

    Mary Harrod Northend took or commissioned thousands of photographs to illustrate her books and articles. She also ran a successful business selling images. Historic New England has more than 6,000 of her glass-plate negatives in its collection. Learn More

  • Deborah Sampson's Wedding Dress

    Historic New England has more than 900 dresses in its collection, including Deborah Sampson's wedding dress. Sampson gained notoriety by dressing as a man and joining the Massachusetts militia in 1782. Learn More

  • Nina Heald Webber Cape Cod Canal Collection

    Nina Heald Webber's Cape Cod Canal collection includes photographs, ephemera, publications, maps, and memorabilia from 1827 to 2015. Learn More

  • Historic New England's Eleanor Raymond Photographic Collection highlights her architectural work in the region.

    The Raymond House in Belmont, Mass., was built for her sister in 1931 and demolished in 2006. Discover this building and more in the collection. Learn More

Women’s history is central to the stories told at many Historic New England sites

quincy house exterior

Eliza Susan Quincy and the Quincy family home

The Quincy family has deep ties to the history of the region. This house often bustled with visitors from the political, military, and artistic spheres. In 2014, using Eliza Susan Quincy’s 1879 “Memorandum Relative to Pictures, China, and Furniture etc., etc., etc.,” Historic New England introduced a new focus to the story told at Quincy House. Eliza Susan’s entries provided many detailed descriptions of furniture and often documented how and when items came to the house. Using her document as a road map and photographs taken in the 1880s, we refurnished Quincy House to recreate the interiors of the 1870 and 1880s. When the house opens for tours this June, stop by and discover Eliza Susan Quincy’s work to document the significance of her family’s home.


Phillips House Kitchen

Phillips House Kitchen; Photo taken by Rob Reynolds of LightShed Photography of Salem

Keeping the household together

Bridget Durgin, the cook for the Phillips family, spent a considerable amount of time in this kitchen. She, first-floor maid Delia Cawley, and nursemaid Catherine Shaunessy, were the three live-in servants who helped Anna Wheatland Phillips with the running of the house. Phillps House is open May through October, from Tuesday to Sunday. Visit to learn more about the family and the role the servants played in their lives.



Two staff members tell their story at Casey Farm

Since 1955, Historic New England has been operating Casey Farm as a working farm, preserving the land and teaching visitors about agriculture and preservation in Rhode Island. The farm is part of a vibrant community of school children, summer campers, volunteers, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members. Listen to what staff members Jane Hennedy and Sheila Nixon have to say about Casey Farm. What they enjoy about the farm, how the current farming practices mesh with the old, and what Casey Farm means to them and our visitors. Stop by when Casey Farm is open for tours or during the Coastal Growers Market on Saturdays from May to October.


Castle Tucker exterior

Jane Tucker comes to the rescue

After a successful career, Jane Standen Tucker moved into Castle Tucker in Wiscasset, Maine, in 1965. She began to preserve and record her family’s history and the history of the house. Over the years, she worked with Historic New England and others to undertake repairs and restorations. In 1997 she gave the house and its contents, including a collection of family letters and documents, to Historic New England. Learn more about Jane and the other residents of Castle Tucker when the property opens this June.

Suffrage Flag

Women’s suffrage protest flag

Women's History Programs

Enjoy a special evening of folk art with Hayley Reardon

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Go behind the scenes with Senior Curator of Collections Nancy Carlisle for a look a the ceramic collection

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In 1899 Sarah Bradlee Codman began work on an elaborate two-year project to create a walled Italian garden on the northwest side of the house. Discover this and more during our Glorious Garden Tour this September.

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Mar 27 2020

Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm Reading Club perseveres

Mar 27, 2020

This March, nine members of the 1919 Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm Reading Club gathered for the first virtual meeting of the 101-year-old organization. “This group, notable...

Feb 19 2020

Leigh Schoberth joins preservation services team

Feb 19, 2020

Historic New England is pleased to announce that Leigh M. Schoberth is appointed senior preservation services manager. What she will be doing Schoberth is...

Jan 13 2020

New painting to be added to the collection at the Eustis Estate

Jan 13, 2020

In early February, Historic New England will add Mount Chocorua, a c. 1895 oil painting by Ellen Day Hale, to the collection of paintings...