February 2020 Museum Musings

This month we are kicking off our
“Westford Celebrates Women’s Right to Vote” Event Series

The Westford Historical Society in collaboration with the League of Women Voters of Westford and the Westford Cultural Council is working to ensure that the 100th anniversary is commemorated and celebrated throughout Westford. Join us as Westford Celebrates Women’s Right to Vote with a look into the 19th Amendment and its legacy through book discussions, historical interpretations and more.

The event series includes:

Votes for Women: Massachusetts Leaders in the Woman Suffrage Movement
A book reading and talk by Barbara Berenson

Date: Monday February 10 at 7pm
Location: Westford Museum at 2 Boston Rd, Westford, MA 01886

Barbara Berenson, author of Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement: Revolutionary Reformers, will discuss the woman suffrage movement and give local suffragists the attention they deserve. Massachusetts was at the center of the national struggle for woman suffrage. Long before the Civil War, Lucy Stone and other abolitionists launched the organized women’s movement at the first National Woman’s Rights Convention, held in Worcester. After the war, state activists founded the Boston-based American Woman Suffrage Association to lead campaigns across the country. Their work laid the foundation for the next generation of suffragists to triumph over tradition. Berenson will also address the battle over historical memory that long obscured the state’s leading role.

A 20/20 Perspective on Women’s Rights, 1920 – 2020
A talk by Barbara Berenson and panel discussion from notable Westford women in politics

Date: Thursday February 27 at 7pm
Location: Westford Museum at 2 Boston Rd, Westford, MA 01886

Barbara Berenson’s second talk will address women’s rights after they finally achieved access to the ballot in 1920. How have women fared politically and legally over the past century? Berenson will consider how women activists have built alliances and shaped laws in an effort to combat stereotypes, discrimination, and gender-based violence at home, at work, and in the public sphere. She will review some of the key developments over the past century and include a discussion of the long and still-ongoing campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment. She will also discuss the historical connections between women who opposed suffrage and those who oppose women’s rights today.

Followed by a discussion with Westford’s Women Leaders: Elizabeth Almeida, Ellen Harde and Beth Morrison.

Like us on Facebook or check out our website for more “Westford celebrates Women’s Right to Vote” event info

Save the Date

Wild Women of Westford Sunday Afternoon Tea

Date: Sunday May 3, 2020 at 2 pm
Location: Westford Museum, at 2 Boston Rd,
Westford, MA 01886

Join us for an afternoon of storytelling and tea.
Enjoy a light meal of finger sandwiches and savories with sweet pastries, while listening to stories of 4 heroic women of Westford’s history.

Ticket info here.

Noted Women of Westford

The Westford Wardsman, Sat., Feb. 22, 1908.

“Noted women.—In a recent list of eminent American scholars, compiled by Owen Wister, it was noticed that there were no women’s names, and the question arose if there were none who deserved recognition in this list. As a result of this investigation the names of nineteen women who were considered distinguished scholars of the present day were added, and of this nineteen three are associated with our hilltop town, and therefore Westford people can bask in a sort of reflected glory of intellectual achievement, and are glad to acknowledge the first as Alice C. Fletcher [1838-1923], who has written valuable books dealing with ethnology and archaeology. She has particularly studied the western Indians, and in order to know them thoroughly, lived among them several years. There is probably no other scholar in the country, man or woman, who has such a complete knowledge of the various Indian dialects, of Indian manners and customs and of Indian folk-songs. The latter she has translated with singular fidelity, bringing out all the rich beauty of their involved symbolism. The Peabody museum fellowship at Harvard was created by Miss Fletcher and has been held by no one else; for the museum she has done much of her work. She is one of the few women members of the Washington academy. Her ancestors lived in the house now occupied by Melbourne F. Hutchins, and the family graves are in our Westlawn cemetery. [Her great-grandfather Peter Fletcher was born in Westford Jan. 11, 1736; he moved to New Ipswich, N.H., about 1762.]

“There is at least one woman who excels in chemistry. Prof. Ellen H. Richards [nee Swallow, 1842-1911, an 1863 graduate of Westford Academy], instructor in sanitary chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was a member of the first class graduated from Vassar and is now a member of the Washington academy. Before she began her work with M.I.T., she was a chemist for the Massachusetts state board of health. Many valuable books have been written by Prof. Richards, dealing with sanitation, with air, water and food analysis, and with ventilation. She has also made an exhaustive study of food in the general dietary and of sociology. ‘My work is only missionary,’ she says. ‘I merely teach others to go about the big things.’ But it is recognized among scientists that Mrs. Richards herself has discovered a number of big things.

“The third in this notable trio is Dr. Nettie M. Stevens [1861-1912, an 1880 graduate of Westford Academy], instructor in biology at Bryn Mawr. Dr. Stevens has made an enviable record for herself in biological research. [A geneticist, her work in insect cytology showed that the presence or absence of the Y chromosome determined whether an insect was male or female



Recollections Of Parents’ Market and Graniteville

By Michelle Denault

What I remember most about the store is that it was red and the elder Mr. Parent was usually standing near the door. If I remember correctly, I think the cash register was right there. Mr. Parent was a very big man to me!! I think he was on the heavy side (as most older men can be), not as thin as I remember Roger, his son. I also seem to recall that his voice was a bit deep and gruff sounding, but I was a very shy child so everyone was big and scary to me!!! I think the floor was just plain wood, not linoleum. I don’t know how accurate these memories are as I was very young…I remember Mom pushing my brother and me to the store in the winter on a sled. That memory has always stayed with me.

We had such a wonderful childhood growing up in Graniteville. I have so many happy memories of hot summers playing in our yard, riding bikes around town, and swimming at the quarry. And of course, so many memories of cold winters with a lot of snow…shoveling came first, then we would go sledding on the hill at Sargent’s School and later on the hill on First St. in the Idle Hour parking lot!! If we weren’t sledding, we were at the Blacksmith skating!!!

I don’t remember having any “snow days’ off back then. When there was a big storm, my brother and I would listen to the radio hoping school was closed (I don’t know why I hoped for that because I loved school!). Every time all we would hear was Groton, Littleton, Chelmsford, Tyngsboro, and whatever other towns around us, but no Westford! I only recall 1 time when school closed early…we were in 6th and 7th grade at the Norman Day [Elementary School]. The storm started after we were in school and they sent us home at noon. I think there must have been almost a foot of snow (at least it seemed to be that much) on the ground when we got off the bus. My dad walked down Third St to meet us with our boots!! Other than that I think we were always in school no matter how much snow. Mr. Nesmith was our bus driver when we were in high school and he never seemed to have a problem negotiating Graniteville Rd in the snow…he inched up that hill without a problem!

…Graniteville holds a big place in my heart!! So much fun!! So many wonderful memories!!!

This picture is my brother, Emile, and me.

Mom wrote on the back it was taken in 1954.

Emile and I were both born in Lowell, but grew up in Graniteville. We lived on Third St…if you drive up the street and don’t stop, you’ll run right into our hedges! There is a 2 story house, we lived on the 1st floor with an apartment upstairs which was rented, and a duplex (in the same yard) that Mom and Dad also rented. Our yard was shared with tenants and their children when growing up. It’s a big yard and we had lots of fun in it!! It was a great town growing up…riding bikes all over Graniteville, walking to Parent’s with a tonic bottle to buy penny candy or buying ice cream at the drug store (it’s a house now…on Broadway facing Third St.), digging worms in the worm patch (down behind the block on 4th street), sledding and ice skating in winter, and swimming at Palmer’s Quarry in the summer!! Who could wish for anything more????

Emile lived on the property until his passing in 2016. I was there until I married in 1976. My husband, Russell, and I have lived in New Jersey since that time.

My mom, Lorraine, grew up in Pelham, NH. My dad, Henry LeDuc, was born in the duplex on the property. The property has been in the LeDuc family since 1902. Mom lived there for 70 yrs until we moved her to NJ in September 2018 to be near us. We were so happy to have her close by, unfortunately it was only for 11 months…Mom passed in August.

I went to Sargent School from 1st to 6th. During 6th grade, North Middle School opened (I believe it’s the Norman E. Day School now) so our class moved over there. I graduated 8th grade from North Middle in 1967 and moved to Westford Academy (now the Abbott School) on Depot St. I graduated in 1971 and went to Lowell State.

I graduated from Lowell in 1975 with my teaching degree in Elementary Ed. As a side note: I was the 3rd generation LeDuc to graduate from Lowell…my great-uncle, Joseph LeDuc, and my aunt, Claire LeDuc, were graduates…all of us teachers. My cousin also graduated with a teaching degree a couple of years before me (my father’s nephew with a different last name, but still LeDuc family). My niece was a 4th generation graduate of Lowell State (actually it was Lowell University at that time) although not for teaching, she was a business major I believe. I’ve always thought that was kind of cool!!

More Upcoming Museum Programs

Sunday March 8 at 2:30pm: Photographs of Quincy W. Day, Westford Then and Now
Monday March 30 at 7pm: Hall & McLaughlin: History of NORTH Westford A PowerPoint presentation
Sunday May 3 at 2:00pm : Wild Women of Westford Sunday Afternoon Tea
Sunday May 17 at 2:30pm:
Fibers of Life; Textiles from the Westford Historical Society’s Collections
Thursday June 11 at 7pm: Discover your Female Ancestor
Saturday June 20: Strawberry N’ Art Festival

Westford Celebrates Women’s Right to Vote
A Look into the 19th Amendment and Its Legacy

Friday March 6 at 7pm: Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti: Living History performance of Harriet Tubman
Thursday March 19 7pm: “I Now Pronounce You Lucy Stone” performance by Judith Kalaora
Friday May 22 at 7pm: “I want to go to Jail” – A one-act play written by Pamela Swing and Erika Dabanka

For event info: Museum.westford.org