The Second Half Lectures: Influential Women of the South Coast

Thursdays: April 20 – May 25, 2017  |  2:30 pm
Cook Memorial Theater
The Whaling Museum, in partnership with The Second Half: Lifelong Learning Institute presented the following daytime lecture series.


archival photograph of group of women

Wives of Whaling Masters, E.S. Dunshee, c.1885.
NBWM 2000.100.2033


April 20

Women of New Bedford
Peggi Medeiros, Historian and Author
Women have contributed in significant ways to shaping New Bedford’s history. Attendees joined Peggi to view the city through the lens of many hometown heroines – philanthropists, financiers, educators, artists, and many more.
View on YouTube (1:25:20)

April 27

Women in Public Art in Boston (and Beyond)
Mary Howland Smoyer, Boston Women’s Heritage Trail
Six women are honored with statues in Boston: Abigail Adams, Mary Dyer, Anne Hutchinson, Lucy Stone, Harriet Tubman, and Phillis Wheatley. Mary shared these women’s stories and a few New Bedford women’s stories as well.
View on YouTube (59:37)

May 4

The Elusive Miss Waite: New Bedford’s Inconspicuous Benefactor
Arthur Motta, Curator of Old Dartmouth History
She lived in the same house her whole life, never married, valued privacy, and was rarely photographed. Yet Florence Louise Waite (1861-1946) did much to improve her hometown – quietly. Attendees heard the recently uncovered story of this founding member of the Whaling Museum, and one of the City’s great but forgotten benefactors.

A New and Lasting Trail of Light – Emily Bourne
Michael Dyer, Curator of Maritime History
Emily Bourne’s life is something of a mystery, although her gift to the city has left an indelible mark. Mike explored the Bourne legacy.

May 11

The African American Experience
Janine Da Silva, National Park Service
New Bedford was a safe harbor for many African Americans, and home to the Underground Railway. Jan shared the courageous stories of abolitionist women who risked their personal safety to help improve the lives of many others.

May 18

New Bedford Child and Family Services
Mary Jean Blasdale, Curator Emeritus
New Bedford Whaling Museum
The women of New Bedford founded one of the earliest orphanages in the country in 1839, which over the years developed into New Bedford Child & Family Services. Mary Jean explained how the agency has cared for children and families in need for the last 177 years.

May 25

Women in New Bedford Today
Valerie Bassett, Executive Director, Women’s Fund of Southeastern Massachusetts
What are the issues facing women in New Bedford today and what stands in their path to economic independence? Attendees learned what really matters to contemporary, diverse women in our region as they increasingly play leadership roles while still struggling with inequalities.


Registration  Museum Members: $15  |  Non-members: $20

Last modified: June 23, 2017