EXPLORE WITH US

Explore sites across Lexington - in person, or virtually - to learn more about the many contributions women have made to the Lexington community. From science, math and medicine to education, sports and entertainment - women have helped pave the way for all of us. 

 

We are interested in your favorite stories about women whose contributions helped make local, state, national and global history!  

Email us any time.

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Stop 1 - Suffragists

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Women in Lexington participated in the 70 year women's suffrage movement. Stop by the exhibit in the CVS windows at 1735 Massachusetts Avenue - or explore our website - to learn more about the many women who advocated for suffrage. These women referred to themselves as suffragists, and many were also active in the abolition movement.

 

On display you will see a recreation of the "Something Must Be Done" Banner which was hand-made in 1887. The banner was carried by Vera P. Lane in the March 3, 1913 Women's Suffrage Process in Washington, D.C.  

Site submitted by: Jessie Steigerwald

STOP 2 - PIoneers in education

In Her Shoes post strip Mary Miles Bibb.
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The first three publicly funded teacher's education schools were established in 1839, and Lexington was home to the only all-female school.

The Lexington Normal School drew students from across the state, and from neighboring states, providing women with the opportunity to pursue professions in education.

Graduates of the Lexington Normal School became pioneers in education, helping develop special education teaching methods and establishing schools on their own. Among the graduates in 1843, Mary Elizabeth Bibb was the first African-American graduate of any public teachers college in America, and she went on to work a teacher, school founder, abolitionist and journalist. 

Learn more: Framingham State

Mary Swift Lamson attended the Normal School and went on to work as an educator at the Perkins School for the Blind. She also helped found the YWCA.

Site submitted by: Jessie Steigerwald

STOP 3 - Site of the 1769 Spinning bee

In Her Shoes - Stop 3: On August 31, 1769, 45 Lexington women took their spinning wheels outside for a silent protest. Learning to spin and making cloth locally was one way to resist King George's taxation on imported cottons.

 

In 1769 women definitely did not have an accepted place in society for spoken protests. The Spinning Match was a competition as well, to see who could produce the most during the event. It took place on what is now a grassy lawn area at 3 Harrington Road, just across from the Battle Green (between First Parish Church and Massachusetts Avenue). This was formerly the home of Anna Harrington and her family.
 

Anna Munroe Harrington hosted the 1769 protest event at age 29. As you walk or drive past this area, consider the impression it must have made on the entire community to see so many women participate in a protest. Women in Lexington also participated in the boycott of imported goods, having both a political and economic impact.

Lexington Historical Society organized a re-enactment of the 1769 Spinning Match in 2019! (See photos, right.)

Site submitted by: Jessie Steigerwald

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The Match is also referenced in the wonderful Lexington Historical Society exhibition "Bold Women of Lexington." Thanks to Dr. Emily Murphy, the research on this important event is much richer. What else will we be able to learn?

How important is it to document and understand "Women's Work"? Did the 45 Lexington women who stepped outside with their spinning wheels help fortify a community where - just 6 years later - the first shots of the American Revolution would be fired? Do you know the name of anyone local in Lexington who made some of the spinning wheels used on the day of this historic event

STOP 4 -Bashka Paeff Relief
"Lexington Militia Men relief" 

One of our most well-known monuments in the Center is the Lexington Militia Man relief located next to Buckman Tavern.  It was sculpted in 1948 by Bashka Paeff (1893-1979). 

Paeff was a Jewish immigrant who came from modest means and went on to create many notable works of public art in Boston. She was just one year old when she immigrated from Minsk, Russia to Boston with her parents in 1894 to escape the pogroms.  She grew up in Boston and graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and went on to study sculpture at the School of Museum of Fine Arts.

Paeff became famous for her public art at Boston’s Park Street T station, and later for the Boy and Bird fountain in the Boston Public Garden. She has other public sculptures around Boston, at Harvard and MIT in Cambridge, and in Kittery Maine. Paeff’s Boston home and sculptures are included in the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail.

Bashka Paeff had strong opinions about war memorials, as documented in her writings about the Sacrifices of War monument in Kittery Maine which depicts a woman fiercely protecting her child. 

Site submitted by: Betty Gau

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Steering Committee member Humera Asif captures Paeff's sculpture.

Jewish Women's Archive Bashka Paeff.  “I have some decided opinions about war memorials”, Paeff said.  “I hope most of all that we shall not erect memorials to glorify war…We forget what suffering and horror it brought.  We should set up memorials that would make us loathe war instead of admit it”.
 

Paeff was awarded the Daniel Chester French Award from the National Academy of Design for sculpture in the “classical tradition” as well as a special award from the city of Boston for her artist contributions.