Tag Archives: Women’s History

Register for Incomplete Victory: Why 2020 Wasn’t Really the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage

Date & Time:
June 2, 2021
12:00pm – 1:00pm

Incomplete Victory: Why 2020 Wasn’t Really the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage
Join us for a workshop with Dr. Laura Prieto, professor of History and Women’s and Gender Studies at Simmons University in Boston, as we look beyond the surface of the 19th amendment that granted women the right to vote.

Although white women were enfranchised in 1920, voting rights were not as easily recognized for women of color. Laura will discuss the issue through the individual stories of women and their continuing fight to vote in the decades since 1920


Tips for your Halloween party, 1909 edition

Looking to give your Halloween celebration a vintage feel this year? An article in the November 13, 1909, issue of the Cambridge Sentinel describes a few “frolicsome” games for Halloween party “hostesses” (as this article appears in the “Woman’s World” section of the paper it assumes a woman at the helm). Read on to learn more about “Pumpkin Vine,” competitive chestnut roasting, and tips for decorating to make your party the envy of your neighbors.

From Cambridge Sentinel, November 13, 1909, issue, available through the Cambridge Room’s Historic Cambridge Newspapers collection

(And for even more vintage fun, you’ll may also be amused by some other concerns of this edition of “Woman’s World,” including the “imminent suffragette war,” solving your housecleaning problems, and advice on basting, sending marriage announcement cards, and pleasing a man.)

Artist Harriet Spelman Longfellow: The Prettiest Girl in Cambridge

The Longfellow Family, Venice, 29 May 1869. A. Sorgato, photographer.  Harriet Spelman Longfellow is on the far right of the top row, standing next to her husband, Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow, the poet’s son.

Harriet “Hattie” Spelman (1848 to 1937), a close friend of Alice Longfellow – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s daughter –  was both a talented artist and a great beauty.  She was considered to be the “prettiest girl in Cambridge.”  When Ernest Longfellow, Alice’s brother and an artist himself, returned from his winter studies in Paris in 1867, he proposed to Hattie.  Ernest’s reputation was well known and was confirmed in an 1874 New Orleans Times article  as “a slender, delicate young man, an artist of talent, great at ten-pins, and tip-top at gunning.”  The dashing couple married on May 21, 1868 and honeymooned to Europe, accompanied by the Longfellow family.  In 1871, Ernest and Hattie moved from Craigie House, what is today called the Longfellow House, into their newly built home across the street at 108 Brattle Street.

Despite her great beauty, talent, and marriage into a prominent American family,  Hattie suffered from psychological problems – perhaps depression – prompting visits to sanatoriums across the country.

Harriet Spelman Longfellow’s letters and some examples of her artwork are included in the Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow Family Papers located at the Longfellow House –  Washington’s Headquarters.  To view the finding aid for the Longfellow Family, click here: http://www.nps.gov/long/historyculture/upload/HWLfamilyaidNMSCfinal.pdf. For more information on visiting the Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters, click here:  http://www.nps.gov/long/index.htm.

**Special thanks to Anita Israel, Archivist at the Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters for this post.