Thursday, June 19, 2014

Statues of Historic Figures: Boston Women's Memorial - Boston, MA

Boston Women's Memorial 
by
Meredith Gang Bergmann

GPS: N 42° 21.031 W 071° 05.000
Short Description: 

The Boston Women's Memorial honors three famous Bostonian women: Abigail Adams, Lucy Stone, and Phillis Wheatley. The Memorial is located on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall between Gloucester St. and Fairfield St. in the Back Bay of Boston.

Long Description:

Bronze statues of three famous Boston women are arranged at ground level arranged amid inscribed granite blocks. Within a 30' diameter circle are larger-than-life size statures of : Abigail Adams (75" x 33" x 21"), Phillis Wheatley (59" x 50" x 32"),  and Lucy Stone (63" x 65" x 42").

Abigail Adams is wearing a long dress and  bonnet. She has her arms crossed and is standing next to a block of granite. The granite block has three inscriptions:



And, by the way, in the
New Code of laws
which I suppose
it will be necessary
for you to make
I desire you
would
remember the ladies
and be more generous
and favorable to them
than your ancestors.
Do not put such unlimited
power into the hands
of the husbands.
Remember, all men would
be tyrants if they could.
If particular care and
attention is not paid to the
ladies, we are determined
to foment a rebellion,
and will not hold ourselves
bound by any laws in which
we have no voice
or representation."

Letter to John Adams
March 17, 1776


Abigail Adams
1744 - 1818
Born in Weymouth Massachusetts. She was
the wife of the second President of the
United States and the mother of the sixth.
Her letters establish her as a perceptive
social and political commentator and
a strong voice for women's advancement.




If we were to count our
years by the revolutions
we have witnessed
we might number them
with the antediluvians
so rapid have been
the changes: that the mind
tho fleet in it progress,
has been outstripped by them
and we are left like statues
gazing at what we can neither
fathom or comprehend

Letter to Mercy Otis Warren
March 9, 1807"

Lucy Stone  is sitting on a granite block with her legs resting on a smaller and lower granite bench. She is wearing a long dress and jewelry on are left wrist and neck. She is leaning over as if writing on the granite block she is sitting on.


The inscription on top of the granite block:

Let woman's sphere be bounded
only by her capacity

Speech, Woman's Rights Convention, Worcester.


The front of the granite block is inscribed:

The legal right for woman
to record her opinion
wherever opinions count
is the tool of whose
ownership we ask.
Woman's Journal



The back of the granite block is inscribed:

Lucy Stone
1818 - 1893
Born in Brookfield, she was one of the 
first Massachusetts women to graduate from 
college. She was an ardent abolitionist. 
A renowned orator, and the founder of 
The Woman's Journal, the foremost 
women's suffrage publications of its era.



From the first years to which my memory stretches, 
I have been a disappointed woman. In education, in marriage
in religion, in everything disappointment is the lot of women.
It shall be the business of my life to deepen this disappointment
in every woman's heart until she bows down to it no longer.

Speech National Woman's Rights Convention Cincinnati 1855

I believe the world grows better because I believe
that in the eternal order there is always a movement
swift or slow towards what is right and true.

Last published statement The Independent 1893


Phillis Wheatley is sitting sideways on a granite bench and leaning an a large granite block. She is wearing a long dress and wearing a bonnet. Her left hand is propped against her chin and she is holding a quill in her right hand.


The inscription next to the quill reads:

In every human breast God has implanted a Principle
which we call love of freedom
It is impatient of oppression
and pants for deliverance
The same principle lives in us.

Letter to the Reverend Samson Occom  February 14, 1774

The front has one her her poems:

Imagination: Who can sing thy force?
Or who describe the sweetness of thy course?
Soaring through air to find the bright abode
Th' empyreal palace of the thund'ring God
We on thy pinions can surpass the wind
And leave the rolling universe behind
From star to star the mental optics rove,
Measure the skies and range the realms above
There in one view we grasp the mighty whole
Or with new world amaze th'unbounded soul


One side of the granite block is inscribed:

Phillis Wheatley
ca 1753 - 1784
Born in West Africa and sold as a slave 
from the ship Phillis in colonial Boston 
she was a literary prodigy whose 1773 volume, 
Poems on Various Subjects Religious 
and Moral was the first book published by 
an African Writer in America.


The right side inscription:

I, young in life, by seeming cruel fate
Was snatch'd from Afric's fancy'd happy seat:
What pangs excruciating must molest,
What sorrows labour in my parent's breast?
Steel'd was that soul and by no misery mov'd
That from a father seiz'd his babe belov'd:
Such, such my case. And can I then but pray
Others may never feel tyrannic sway?

To The Right Honorable William
Earl of Dartmouth

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