Boston as Inspiration

As a key player in the nation’s history and development, Boston was an inspiration for many artists and intellectuals. Here are exceptional creative local women:

Poetry, Press and Literature

Phillis Wheatley was the first published African-American female poet; Porsha Olayiwola is 2019 Boston Poet Laureate, taking over from poet Danielle Legros Georges; Other famous female poets of Boston are Julia Ward Howe, Elizabeth Bishop (Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry in 1956), Sylvia Plath, Gail Mazur (founder of the Blacksmith House Poetry Series), Emily Dickinson (was based in Amherst, about 90 mile drive from Boston); Louisa May Alcott, author of the novel Little Women; Lucy Stone, co-founded Woman’s Journal; Margaret Fuller, first full-time American female book reviewer in journalism; Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz, author of natural history texts and educator; Barbara Walters, journalist and national TV host.

The Women’s Journal headquarters used to stand on Park Street facing Boston Common. It was the place where gifted writers focused on the mission to “devoted to the interests of Woman, to her educational, industrial, legal and political Equality, and especially to her right of Suffrage.”

The journal was founded by Lucy Stone and her spouse, and among its writers were the former Agitator editor Mary A. Livermore, the writer Mary Johnston, and the suffragist and poet Julia Ward Howe. Alice Stone Blackwell, daughter of Lucy Stone, was later one of the paper’s editors.

The Women’s Journal closed in 1931 after it had a key role in communication for the US Suffrage Movement since regular newspapers did not report on these issues and events. Click to read more about the suffragists’ actions until women were granted the right to vote on August 18th, 1920. Follow this itinerary to visit additional important sites, such as the Boston Women’s Memorial, while exploring the beautiful neighborhoods of Beacon Hill and Back Bay.

Political and Social Activists

Mary Kenney O’Sullivan, labor unions organizer; Dorothea Dix, advocate for the first generation of US mental asylums; Abigail Adams, the second First Lady; Muriel Sutherland Snowden, founder of Freedom House.

Art, Culture, and Music

Elma Lewis, founder of the National Center of Afro-American Artists; Donna Summer, disco music star.

On August 31, 1967, Judy Garland’s largest concert ever attracts more than 100,000 viewers to Boston.

Leading female figures in movies and TV series

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