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Cambridge Women's Heritage Project

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Abbott, Eleanor Hallowell
Ackerman, Barbara (Hulley)
Adams, Hannah
Adams, Mary (Manning) Howe
Agassiz, Elizabeth Cabot (Cary)
Ainsworth, Lucy
Albright, Carol (Bonomo)
Aldrich, Elizabeth Cannon
Aldrich, Elizabeth (Perkins)
Alice James Books
Alleyne, Corinne Woodson
Al-Wegayan, Ellen M.
Anders, Rosalie
Andrade, Dominga
Applebee, Constance M.K.
Archer, Linda
Arditti, Rita
Argaw, Seble W.
Avakian, Josie
Azevedo, Louise A.


 

Eleanor Hallowell Abbott(b.1872 in Cambridge, MA, d. 1958 in Portsmouth, N.H.)
Writer
     Born and raised in a literary and religious family in Cambridge, Eleanor Hallowell Abbott was the daughter of clergyman Edward Abbott who was rector at St James Episcopal Church and who edited a journal Literary World. Her grandfather, Jacob Abbott was a friend of Longfellow and a writer of children’s stories. She attended private schools and Radcliffe College and then worked as a secretary and teacher at the teacher’s college, Lowell State Normal School. In 1908, she married Dr. Fordyce Coburn and moved to Wilton, N.H. She began her writing career when two of her poems were accepted by Harper’s Magazine in 1909. She produced seventy-five short stories and fourteen “unblushingly romantic” novels about young women that brought her a measure of popularity in the 1910s and 1920s. In 1936, she wrote an autobiography about her childhood in Cambridge entitled Being Little in Cambridge When Everyone Else Was Big. Some of her typescripts and correspondence are held at the University of New Hampshire.
References: University of New Hampshire special collections biographical note; Review of her autobiography in Time magazine, Oct 05, 1936.

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Barbara (Hulley) Ackermann (b. March 1, 1925 in Stockholm Sweden) Barbara Ackerman, city council campaign postcard. Photo courtesty of Barbara Ackerman.
First woman mayor of Cambridge
     The daughter of an American diplomat, Benjamin Mayham Hulley and his wife, Joan Carrington Hulley, Barbara was raised in France and Ireland and graduated from Smith College in 1948. She married Paul Kurt Ackermann in 1945 who became a Boston University professor of German. Beginning her political career in 1962, she was active in the Cambridge School Committee for six years and was a Cambridge city councilor for ten years. For two of those ten years she presided over both bodies as the first woman mayor (1972-1973). In 1972, she was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts. In 1989, Ackermann wrote an account of her experiences as a Cambridge politician in a book entitled, “You the Mayor?”: The Education of a City Politician which offers insights into political life and the functioning of a city .In recent years, she has been active as chair of the Massachusetts non-profit organization, Universal Health Care Education Fund (UHCEF), part of MASS-CARE.
References: The Political Graveyard: Index to Politicians (online site) politicalgraveyard.com/bio/achard-adamowski.html


Barbara Ackerman, city council campaign postcard, not dated.
Photo courtesty of Barbara Ackerman.

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Hannah Adams (b. Oct. 2, 1755 in Medfield MA, d. Dec. 15, 1831 in Brookline)
Author
     Hannah Adams was the first American-born professional author, the daughter of Elizabeth (Cook) and Thomas Adams. Born in the town of Medfield, she began to publish to supplement her family’s income, writing on religious and historical themes. Her first book was a list of religious groups entitled Alphabetical Compendium of the Various Sects Which Have Appeared From the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Present (1784), This went through a number of editions in Boston and London. She followed this with historical works, A Summary History of New-England (1799), and A History of the Jews (1812). She began to attract friends among literary and religious men in Boston who provided an annuity for her. She produced a final study, Letters on the Gospels in 1826.. Although eccentric in her old age, she had a decided influence on her contemporaries and was among the first persons to be buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery. An autobiographical memoir of her life appeared the year after her death, written partly to provide financial support for her younger sister.
References: Notable American Women; Cambridge Chronicle 12-13-00

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Mary (Manning) Howe Adams (b. 1905 in Dublin, Ireland, d. Cambridge MA, June 25 1999)
Novelist and Playwright
     Born in Ireland, Mary Manning went to London to study theater when she was 16 years old. After returning to Ireland, she worked as an actress and playwright in the 1920s and 1930s at the renowned Abbey Theater and the Gate Theater in Dublin and wrote film criticism for the Irish Statesman. Two of her plays were produced at the Abbey Theater and she worked collaboratively on several projects with the playwright, Samuel Beckett who had been her childhood friend. In 1935, she emigrated to Boston and married Mark De Wolfe Howe, a lawyer who became a professor at Harvard Law School. Her three daughters were raised in Cambridge. While in Cambridge, Mary Manning Howe wrote the novel, Mount Venus (1938), and was the drama director at Radcliffe College during World War II. She helped found the Poet’s Theater in Cambridge, which produced some of Yeats’ early plays and produced work by new playwrights in the 1950s. After the death of her husband in 1967, she returned to Dublin as theater critic for The Irish Times. In 1980, she returned to Cambridge and married her lawyer, Faneuil Adams.
     Her writings include the novel The Last Chronicles of Ballyfungus (1978), a humorous view of the Anglo-Irish gentry, and the play, Go Lovely Rose, based on the life of Rose Kennedy, produced as a one woman show at the Fourth International Women Playwright’s Conference held in Galway shortly before her death at the age of 93. One daughter, Susan Howe (born in 1937), went on to become a well-known poet and professor at State University of New York, Buffalo and another daughter Fanny Howe, became a novelist and poet, teaching creative writing at MIT and Tufts and at University of California, San Diego, publishing novels that depicted the Cambridge and Boston area in the 1970s. Mary Manning Howe Adams was 93 when she died. Her correspondence with Samuel Beckett is held in the Samuel Beckett collection at the University of Texas, Austin and her correspondence with her daughters is held at the University of California, San Diego.
References: Boston Globe 6-27-99; New York Times 6-27-1999; Samuel Beckett Collection, University of Texas, Austin; Susan Howe collection, Geisel Library, University of California, San Diego.

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Elizabeth Cabot (Cary) Agassiz (b. December 5 1822 in Boston, d. June 27, 1907 in Arlington Heights, Mass.)
First President of Radcliffe College, educator, science writer
     Elizabeth Cabot Cary was the daughter of Mary Ann Cushing (Perkins) and Thomas Graves Cary, a Boston business man. Through her sister, who had married a professor of Greek at Harvard, she met the Swiss naturalist, Louis Agassiz, who had begun a brilliant career teaching at Harvard and who founded the Museum of Comparative Zoology . The two married in 1850 and she took on the role of stepmother to his three children by his first marriage. Five years later, she opened a girls’ school in their home at 36 Quincy Street Cambridge where Louis Agassiz and a number of other Harvard professors lectured. The school provided a small income and addressed the need for the education of young women until 1863 when the school closed. Elizabeth Agassiz took notes on her husband’s lectures and published introductory texts on natural history with her stepson, the oceanographer and antural historian, Alexander Agassiz.. In 1865, she co-authored a record of her husband’s expedition to Brazil, A Journey in Brazil. Later, she served as scribe for the Hassler Expedition (1872), providing the only account of her husband’s last theories on glaciation.
     After Louis Agassiz’s death in 1873, Elizabeth joined six other women in an attempt to persuade Harvard to open its doors to women. The result was the Harvard Annex, founded in 1879, which later became Radcliffe College. She threw her influence to those who believed that women students should be offered the same courses as the men and be taught by the same professors. At the age of 72, she accepted the first presidency of Radcliffe and remained at its head until 1902. Shortly before her death she moved from Cambridge to Arlington Heights where she died in 1907 at the age of seventy-five.
References: Notable American Women (1609-1950) Vol I; Dictionary of American Biography, (1928).

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Lucy Ainsworth a.k.a. “Sleeping Lucy” (b. May 4, 1819 in Calais, Vermont, d. May 24, 1895 in Cambridge, Mass.)
Healer, Clairvoyant
     Lucy Ainsworth, also known as “Sleeping Lucy” was born in Vermont to Lucy (Burnham) and Luther Ainsworth. As a young girl she was apprenticed to a tailor by her parents. When she fell ill, and became bedridden, her younger brother, Luther Ainsworth, who studied mesmerism, put her into an hypnotic trance and presumably cured her with herbal remedies that she described in her trance. When she recovered, she decided with her brother's help to become a healer. Because she would only perform healing of patients while in a trance, she was referred to by her patients as “Sleeping Lucy.” For some years, her brother worked with her, developing her reputation as a healer. In 1846, she married Charles Cooke also a mesmerist, and the couple established their enterprise in Reading Vermont until 1855 when Charles died.
     Following the death of her husband, Lucy Ainsworth Cooke moved to Montpellier, where she continued her healing business with the help of an assistant, Everett William Raddin, who later became her second husband. They developed a successful mail-order business as well, offering consultations by mail, and selling various herbal remedies. Lucy also claimed to be able to set bones and heal fractures by laying on of hands.
     Her reputation and her business grew until 1876 when the couple moved to the Boston area. Perhaps the growing importance of women physicians recognized by their male colleagues and the existence of a successful woman-run hospital, (the New England Hospital for Women and Children) made the practice of a woman healer less remarkable, and less profitable. The couple, through mismanagement by Raddin or lack of clients, fell into debt while Lucy became estranged from her only daughter. In the late 1880s and reputedly abused by her husband. Lucy moved to North Cambridge where she became seriously ill and eventually died of what appears to have been colon cancer in 1895. An oil painting of Lucy Ainsworth as a young married woman is held in the Vermont Historical Society.

References:
Vermont Women's History Project, Vermont Historical Society. See site http://womenshistory.vermont .gov/?TabId=61&personID=171 The painted portrait is listed as “Lucy Ainsworth Cooke.”
Newkirk, McDonald, "Sleeping Lucy." Published by the Author, 30 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, Illinois, 1973.

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Carol (Bonomo) Albright ( b. 1938 )
American Historian, Editor
     Carol Bonomo Albright is an editor and historian. She was brought up in the New York area, the daughter of Margaret (Guerrieri) and Salvator Bonomo. Since 1988, when the historical and cultural journal, Italian Americana: Cultural and Historical Review, experienced difficult times, she took over editorial responsibilities for this review, published through the University of Rhode Island and devoted to the Italian-American experience. She co-authored and edited a book with Elvira G. Di Fabio, Republican Ideals in the Selected Literary Works of Italian-American Joseph Rocchietti, 1835-1845 (Edwin Mellen Press, 2004). She has taught Italian-American studies courses at Harvard University Extension School. She is married to attorney Birge Albright and lives in Cambridge.

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Elizabeth Cannon Aldrich (b.ca 1920, d. March 5, 2001 in Cambridge MA )
Community leader
     Elizabeth Cannon Aldrich received a bachelor’s degree in history from Radcliffe College in 1941. While in college, she served as a reporter for the New York Times and the Boston Herald. She married Charles Duane Aldrich, later general counsel of the New England Telephone Company with whom she had nine children. They lived in Wellesley MA for many years. She was director of finance and of state government for the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, Junior Service President; board member of the Friendly Aid Society, Cambridge Homes, and a member of the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women in the 1980s. Following the death of her husband in 1984, she moved from Bronxville NY to Cambridge where she was an interviewer for the Harvard and Radcliffe admissions office for 12 years and endowed an Elizabeth Cannon Aldrich Memorial Fund at Radcliffe. She was 81 when she died.
References: Boston Globe 03-11-01, NY Times, (paid notice) 03-07-01

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Elizabeth (Perkins) Aldrich (b. ca 1907 in Cambridge, d. February, 2000 )
Writer and editor
     Elizabeth Perkins attended Buckingham School and graduated from Bryn Mawr College. She was married to federal judge Bailey Aldrich of Cambridge, MA She assisted Harvard Professor, Ralph Barton Perry, in the 1935 Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, The Thought and Character of William James, later becoming sole editor of the briefer version of that work. In 1942, she produced a volume of James’ selected writings: As William James Said. She volunteered for CARE and for Shady Hill School in Cambridge, for which she was an overseer and an initiator and head of the Parents Work Plan. She was 93 when she died.
References: Cambridge Chronicle 2-18-00; Paid death notice of Judge Bailey Aldrich September 29, 2002.; NY Times, news obit of Bailey Aldrich, September 30, 2002

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Alice James Books (founded 1973 in Cambridge, MA moved to University of Maine: Farmington in 1996)
Non-profit cooperative poetry press
     This poetry press was founded by a cooperative group of poets, including five women and two men. It was named for Alice James, the sister of William and Henry James, whose gifts as a writer were recognized only after her death. The founding members, who included Patricia Cumming, Marjorie Fletcher, Jean Pedrick, Lee Rudolph, Ron Schreiber, Betsy Sholl and Cornelia Veenendaal, had as a primary purpose the encouragement of women poets. Patricia Cumming, who was then the head of the Writing Program at MIT, was able to obtain the use of MIT Press for typesetting and printing the poetry publications.
     The cooperative press was situated at 135 Mount Auburn Street in Cambridge and required the poets whose works were accepted for publication to spend some time working at the press. By the 1980s, the group had expanded to include eleven women and two men and included the widely recognized poets Ruth Whitman and Jane Kenyon. In 1987, the Women’s National Book Association recognized Marjorie Fletcher, then president of the press, as one of the “70 women who have made a difference.”
    
The press was featured in major publications including Ms, Poets & Writers, Slate and Poetry Daily. Many authors that the press published went on to receive major poetry awards and their books were reviewed in important literary journals. Recently, the poet Jo Pitkin has described the excitement of working at Alice James Books with feminist women poets in the 1980s.
References:
Judith Rosen,”Alice James Books at 30,” Publishers Weekly, May 19, 2003
”Bookwomen: 70 who have made a difference” Women’s National Book Association www.wnba-books.org/anniversaries/70women.php
Ali Kazam , “Beacon Voices: Jo Pitkin” Beacon Dispatch, Issue 28, December 2006, January 2007. www.beacon.blogs.com/beacon_dispatch/2005/06/beacon_voices_j.html
www.alicejamesbooks.org

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Corinne Woodson Alleyne (b. in Cambridge, d. in Roxbury)
Registered Nurse and Oral Historian
     Born in Cambridge, Corinne Woodson Alleyne was educated in Boston and Philadelphia. She was licensed as a nurse in 1930, but was denied work for 12 years because she was an African American. She was finally hired during WWII, when there was a shortage of nurses. She worked for several Boston hospitals and then as a private nurse, later becoming a Boston public health nursing supervisor. She lived during her retirement years in Roxbury, where she recorded many oral histories of senior citizens. She was featured on a PBS program produced by the Smithsonian for her achievements as a senior citizen/parent and was honored by Mayor Menino in 1998. She was 93 when she died.
Reference: Boston Globe, date unknown;PBS reference unknown

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Ellen M. Al-Wegayan (d. 2002 in Cambridge)
Activist
     Ellen M. Al-Wegayan was raised in West Roxbury and graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1964. After living in Kuwait with her first husband, she returned to Boston and Cambridge to raise her daughter. For many years she operated Kirkland Family Day Care, and at the same time was active in community and school affairs. Among her civic activities, she was a founding member of Cambridge Tenants Union, a board member of the Feminist Credit Union, and active in the organization “Save Central Square”.

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Rosalie Anders
Activist, social worker, Cambridge project coordinator
     Rosalie Anders has lived in Cambridge since 1984, moving from North Adams where she practiced as a clinical social worker. She studied at Mount Holyoke College and went on to obtain a Master of Social Work from Hunter College School for Social Work in New York City. She then practiced and taught as a family therapist and worked as a community organizer in New York City and London as well as North Adams. In Cambridge, she worked to develop and expand the Council for a Livable World, a nuclear disarmament organization, for which she was Associate Director. She was one of the founding members and the Sustainable Cambridge Coalition, a grassroots organizations that encourages innovative methods to link community issues such as environment, economic development, and transportation. She currently holds a position in the Environment & Transportation Program, part of the Department of Community Development of the City of Cambridge, improving pedestrian safety and access and developing local actions that can be implemented to control global climate change.
Reference: Short biography online at Cambridge Energy Alliance http://www.cambridgeenergyalliance.org/about.htm

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Dominga Andrade (b. ca. 1904. d. November 1999 )
Stitcher
     Dominga Andrade was a long-time resident of Cambridge, where she worked as a stitcher for a clothing manufacturer. She was a former member of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. She died at the age of 95.
Reference: Cambridge Chronicle, 11-17-99

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Constance M. K. Applebee (b.February 23, 1873 in Chigwell, England, d.January 26. 1981 in Burley, England.)
Physical education teacher.
     Constance M. K. Applebee attended the British College of Physical Education and came to the US in 1901 to take a course in anthropometry- the measurement of the human body. She mounted the first demonstration of the English game of field hockey in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a courtyard adjacent to the Harvard University gymnasium. She then arranged a series of exhibition matches at prominent women’s colleges including Radcliffe, Mount Holyoke, Bryn Mawr, Smith, Vassar, and Wellesley. She formed a team in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and in 1920 took the team members to England- where they lost eight out of ten matches. Their application to participate in the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp was rejected. She founded the American Field Hockey Association in 1901 and headed it for twenty years, then founding the United States Field Hockey Association in 1922. She was for 10 years the editor and publisher of Sportswoman, a magazine for women athletes, the first magazine of its kind in America.
References: Phyllis J. Read and Bernard L. Witlieb The Book of Women’s Firsts, 1992.
Wikipedia (online encyclopedia) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constance_M._K._Applebee;
Encyclopedia Britannica (2006)

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Linda Archer (b. ca. 1951, d. July 1999 in Boston)
Cambridge resident
     Linda Archer was a longtime resident of Cambridge with a home at 345 Broadway in the Mid Cambridge neighborhood. She was a devoted member of the Pentecostal Tabernacle in Cambridge. On July 9, 1999, Linda Archer was featured in a story carried on PBS and narrated by Bob Abernathy on the hospice approach for terminally ill patients adopted within Boston hospitals. In this, she showed a courageous and positive attitude towards her imminent death from inoperable lung cancer at the age of forty-seven. Three weeks after the taping of the show, she died. Her friends who visited her were struck by her attitude and spirit as well as her firm religious beliefs. One of them commented that her final days were perhaps the most important work of her life and that they were strengthened by the sense she communicated that “life makes sense no matter what the circumstances for those with the right attitude.”
References: “Palliative Care”, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, PBS Episode 245, July 9, 1999. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/week245/cover.html
Sharon Stentiford, personal information
Cambridge City Directories

City of Cambridge Street Listings

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Rita Arditti (b. 1934, in Argentina)
Biologist; Co-founder of New Words bookstore and Women's Community Cancer Project
     Born in Argentina, Rita Arditti is one of the three daughters of a Sephardic Jewish family that had emigrated from Turkey. Under Peron's government, the national university was closed much of the time, making it hard for students to pursue their studies. In 1952 she came to the US and attended Barnard College in New York City for one year. After that she went to the University of Rome, Italy, where she earned a Doctorate in Biology. She came to the United States in 1965 to Brandeis University with a postdoctoral fellowship to the Biochemistry Department and in 1966 moved to Cambridge. She then started a position as a Research Associate in the Department of Bacteriology and Immunology at Harvard Medical School. In the late sixties and early seventies she became involved with other socially active scientists in the group, "Science for the People," that sought to expose the connections between science, the Vietnam War, and politics.Rita Arditti, 2005 with permission of R. Arditti
     After developing a course at Boston University entitled "Biology and Social Issues" in which she taught biological principles and the various ways in which they may be used in society to perpetuate inequality, she became involved with the feminist movement and co-founded, with three other women, New Words, a women's bookstore, in Cambridge in 1974. Starting as a single room rented from a restaurant on Kirkland Street, the store expanded to include an impressive collection of books, talks, and lectures, in a new location on Hampshire Street, contributing to build a strong community of women and to participation in civic dialogue. After 28 years of operation, the New Words bookstore was eventually transformed into the Center for New Words, its mission being to "use the power and creativity of words and ideas to strengthen the voice of progressive and marginalized women in society." It is currently located at the YWCA building on Temple Street in Central Square, Cambridge.
     In 1989, because of her experience living with breast cancer, she co-founded the Women's Community Cancer Project, a grassroots all-volunteer project committed to cancer education and prevention for women. The work of the Project has focused mostly on the connections between cancer and the environment.
Her work on behalf of the Argentine Human Rights movement in the eighties brought her in contact with the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina, a group committed to truth and justice and the restitution of their true identity to the children disappeared with their parents or born during the captivity of their kidnapped mothers during the 1976-1983 dictatorship. A long relationship with the Grandmother's group resulted in the publication of her book, Searching for Life: The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo and the Disappeared Children of Argentina, published by The University of California Press in 1999.
     In 1994, she was the recipient of a Jessie Bernard Wise Women Award from the Center for Women Policy Studies in Washington, DC, and in 1999 she received the Peace and Justice Award from the City of Cambridge, MA. In 2005, she was chosen to be one of the "Women Who Dared" from the Jewish Women's Archive. She is an Emeritus faculty member of the Union Institute and University where she taught for 30 years.
References: Based on a personal interview by Sandra Pullman, 2003.; Further information from Jewish Women’s Archive “Women who Dared” exhibit online.

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Seble W. Argaw (b. in Ethiopia )
Founder and head of Ethiopian Adbar Women’s Alliance.
     A pre-school teacher for ten years, Argaw developed an active Ethiopian female community in Cambridge, the Ethiopian Adbar Women’s Alliance (Adbar), a grassroots organization dedicated to social change and women’s rights, the only one that represents Ethiopian women in the United States After working with a few international relief organizations, she was disillusioned by the manner in which the focus on larger goals seemed to ignore everyday hardships. Argaw chose to organize the Ethiopian Adbar Women’s Alliance “in a spiritual way” She developed the award-winning newsletter, Mela, the only bi-lingual Ethiopian newsletter in the country, which is based and produced by her organization in Cambridge. The organization provides advocacy and legal assistance in dealing with immigration, housing, and mental illness. Adbar offers a literacy program, job placement and referrals, translation services, cultural events, and orientation for recent immigrants. Adbar also provides a quarterly women’s forum that offers its participants an opportunity to share their stories and come to terms with effects of problems such as the effects of domestic violence and female circumcision. In recognition of their work, the volunteers have received a variety of awards for public service.
References: Based on personal interview by Sandra Pullman, 2003; The Adbar website is http://www.ethiopianwomen.org, or they can be contacted at the organization at P.O. Box 382302, Cambridge, MA 02238-2302.

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Josie Avakian (b. unknown, d. ca. 2005)
Social Activist
     As a member of Jefferson Park Tenant Task Force, Josie Avakian served as the tenant advocate for residents of Jefferson Park and was a tireless spokesperson. She also served on the board of the North Cambridge Health and Service Committee, working with the City Hall, hospital personnel and residents of Jefferson Park to form the first Teen Family Planning Clinic. In 1996, she worked as a member of the North Cambridge Crime Task Force. In October 2005, a site near Jackson Street was dedicated in her honor by the Cambridge City Council.
References: Contact information online for task force; Information from Mary Russell; Information also from www.rwinters.com/council/103105.htm

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Louise A. Azevedo (b. 1959 in Cambridge, d. 2000)
Nursing home volunteer
     Life-long resident of North Cambridge, Louise Azevedo graduated from Bunker Hill Community College and the University of Massachusetts at Boston, where she received a bachelor’s degree in science. She worked as a volunteer at Cambridge nursing homes, including Youville Hospital, Vernon Hall Nursing Home and Neville Manor Nursing Home. She was also an active volunteer in North Cambridge Little League baseball.
Reference: Cambridge Chronicle, 10-2-00

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Cambridge Women's Heritage Project
March 2009

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