Special Public Program

Gender Roles in Revolutionary and Colonial Times
A virtual slideshow lecture by Michael Bronski

Tuesday, June 22, 2021
6:30 PM
access via Zoom

In celebration of Pride Month and women’s influence in America, the HSW presents a lecture by Michael Bronski on colonial and revolutionary era attitudes toward gender roles and homosexuality and their significance in shaping modern American culture.  Bronski will touch on such topics as cross-dressing women who took part in the Revolutionary War and the non-binary evangelist Public Universal Friend who, in the early 1800s, refused to use pronouns and challenged gender roles.  The evolution of how we think about sexual identity and the words we use, the relaxed attitude colonial America had toward homosocial relationships and the way early LGBTQ pioneers, such as Watertown’s own Harriet Hosmer, helped change the image of the all-American male will also be discussed.

Mr. Bronski is a Professor of the Practice in Media and Activism in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University.  He has been involved with LGBT politics since 1969 as an activist, organizer, writer, publisher, editor and independent scholar.  He is best known for his 2011 book, A Queer History of the United States.

All HSW meetings and events are free and open to the public, but registration is required for this lecture.  RSVP using the HSW Contact form and enter Bronski lecture as the subject line to receive a Zoom link approximately 24 hours before the event.

Special Event

Shick House
A virtual slideshow lecture by Marilynne K. Roach

Monday, January 11, 2021
2:00 PM
access via Zoom (see below)

Tucked into a corner of Watertown’s East End, the Shick House, whose past owners have raised prize horses, run a market garden and operated a kosher dairy, now has an uncertain future.  Although the area is no longer agricultural and the architecture is altered, the house retains many elements of its high-style Italianate design.  Discover the history of the house and the people who lived and worked there, including the immigrant family of Jacob and Maete Shick.  The Shicks were one of the first Jewish families in Watertown and built the successful Watertown Dairy.  Join Historical Society of Watertown President Marilynne K. Roach for an exploration of a chapter of Watertown’s hidden history presented by the Watertown Senior Center.

Ms. Roach is a lifelong resident of Watertown, free-lance writer, illustrator and historian.  She has authored numerous books, including Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials and the definitive The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege.

This program is free, but registration is required.  RSVP to the Watertown Senior Center at 617-972-6490 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive a Zoom link and password for this event.

September Public Program

I Now Pronounce You Lucy Stone
A live, virtual production by History At Play™ LLC with Judith Kalaora

Thursday, September 17, 2020
7:00 PM
register free via Zoom

The Historical Society of Watertown is partnering with Watertown Free Public Library to make this unique program available.  In this fiery, one-woman performance by History at Play™ LLC, Judith Kalaora will become Lucy Stone, a fierce abolitionist, a women's rights activist and the first woman from Massachusetts to earn a college degree.  Challenging discrimination is not easy, but Lucy Stone was never one to take the easy road.  Come along for the ride!

This event is supported in part by a grant from the Watertown Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

This program is free and open to the public.

March Public Program

Penelope Winslow
A slideshow lecture by Michelle Marchetti Coughlin

Wednesday, March 4, 2020
7:00 PM
Watertown Savings Bank Meeting Room
Watertown Free Public Library
123 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472

Penelope Pelham Winslow, a member of the English gentry who was married to Plymouth Colony Governor Josiah Winslow, was one of the most powerful women in Plymouth Colony's history.  Like most of her female contemporaries, however, she has largely been forgotten.  Though she authored or is mentioned in few surviving documents, she left behind a trove of physical evidence-from surviving home possessions to archaeological artifacts-that provide great insight into her experiences.  They also offer a portal into the world of Plymouth Colony's women.  In her new book, Penelope Winslow, Plymouth Colony First Lady: Re-Imagining a Life, Michelle Marchetti Coughlin discovers that blending historical records with material culture provides the keys to re-imagining Winslow's world in all its rich complexity.

Michelle Marchetti Coughlin is an independent scholar and the author of One Colonial Woman's World: The Life and Writings of Mehetabel Chandler Coit, which received an honorable mention for the Western Association of Women Historians 2014 Kanner Prize.  Ms. Coughlin has been a Massachusetts Humanities Scholar-in-Residence and a historical consultant, and was recently a guest curator of Pilgrim Hall Museum's pathFOUNDERS: Women of Plymouth exhibit.  She currently serves on the board of the Abigail Adams Birthplace, is a Museum Administrator of Boston's Gibson House Museum and maintains a web site.

This program is free and open to the public.
For more information, contact Joyce at 781-899-7239 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

November Public Program

A Special Tour of Perkins School

Sunday, November 10, 2019
10:00 AM
Perkins School for the Blind
175 North Beacon Street
Watertown, MA 02472

Perkins School for the Blind has been an iconic part of Watertown since its move to the city from Boston in 1912.  Founded in 1829 as the first such school in the U.S., Perkins continues to prepare its students to reach their full potential at the Watertown campus, as well as extend its innovative outreach across the globe.  Join the Historical Society of Watertown for a guided tour of the school led by Perkins's Director of Volunteer Services and Tours, Kevin Hartigan.  Attendees will get a taste of the school's history, architecture and mission.

This tour can accommodate a maximum of 20 people and spaces must be reserved in advance by contacting Joyce at 781-899-7239 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  This event will take place rain or shine and last roughly 90 minutes.

This program is free and open to the public.
For more information, contact Joyce at 781-899-7239 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..