Quincy Historical Society & Museum

Quincy Historical Society & Museum Founded in 1893 and located within a historic landmark, we are a museum of local history, a venue for public lectures, and a research library for historians, genealogists and researchers interested in subjects related to Quincy, MA.
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The Quincy History Museum at Quincy Historical Society takes you through more than 400 years of some of America's richest, most influential history. Meet rebels and reformers, workers and visionaries: John and Abigail Adams and others who helped create the United States; Granite workers who moved 5-ton blocks and helped change the look of America;
Three centuries of shipbuilders, culminating in 3

The Quincy History Museum at Quincy Historical Society takes you through more than 400 years of some of America's richest, most influential history. Meet rebels and reformers, workers and visionaries: John and Abigail Adams and others who helped create the United States; Granite workers who moved 5-ton blocks and helped change the look of America;
Three centuries of shipbuilders, culminating in 3

Operating as usual

QUINCY HISTORY BLOG UPDATE: Last spring, friend of the Historical Society, Chris Toy, contacted us looking for informati...
07/14/2021
The Eng Family and the King Joy Restaurant, Part 1: Quincy’s First Successful Chinese Restaurant – Quincy History Blog

QUINCY HISTORY BLOG UPDATE:

Last spring, friend of the Historical Society, Chris Toy, contacted us looking for information about his grandfather, Yee Han Eng, and the Eng family’s restaurant, the King Joy. While we weren’t initially certain how much information we would be able to pass along, we were soon delighted to uncover a fair amount about the Eng family. But more than that, we were excited to be presented with the tremendous story of a noteworthy Quincy family. After consulting with Mr. Toy about whether he thought it would be appropriate for us to share his family history with our friends and members, we set about on our research.

Initially, we had planned on sharing this article for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which is observed in May. But unfortunately, the story kept getting bigger as we researched, and soon it became clear that to make the May deadline we would have to leave several big questions unanswered; for example, whether the King Joy was Quincy’s first Chinese restaurant. Instead, we decided to take the time we needed to tell the Eng family story properly.

This article, part one of two, is the result of that research: The Eng Family and the King Joy Restaurant, Part 1: Quincy’s First Successful Chinese Restaurant.

We are delighted to share it with you here today.

- Alexandra Elliott
Curator, QHS

History Posts Quincy Businesses July 7, 2021 The Eng Family and the King Joy Restaurant, Part 1: Quincy’s First Successful Chinese Restaurant By Alexandra Elliott Quincy’s Asian community has deep roots within the city. The first time that individuals of Asian descent were recorded by the State ...

Pictures from Monday's Presidential Wreath laying ceremony at the United First Parish Church honoring John Quincy Adams'...
07/13/2021

Pictures from Monday's Presidential Wreath laying ceremony at the United First Parish Church honoring John Quincy Adams' 254th birthday anniversary. A Presidential Wreath was placed on his crypt in his honor to mark the occasion for the Diplomat, Senator, Congressman, Secretary of State and President.

Historical Society executive director, Ed Fitzgerald, was one of the speakers during the ceremony.

Last Friday, Quincy Historical Society hit the road! Historical Society executive director, Ed Fitzgerald, and curator, ...
07/06/2021
Quincy Historical Society - Matt's Bristol 4th of July Broadcast - 7/2/21 - The Matt Allen Show - Omny.fm

Last Friday, Quincy Historical Society hit the road! Historical Society executive director, Ed Fitzgerald, and curator, Alexandra Elliott, traveled to Bristol, Rhode Island last week in order to take part in a special Fourth of July broadcast of WPRO's Matt Allen show. Bristol, Rhode Island has one of the oldest Independence Day celebrations in the country, and a few weeks ago WPRO reached out to the Society inviting us to take part and to share a little about Quincy's role in Revolutionary history. We, of course, jumped at the opportunity to reach a new audience, and to tell them about the community we are proud to represent.

Linked below is the Quincy Historical Society segment of the program. Ed and Alexandra chat with host, Matt Allen about John and Abigail Adams, their lives and legacies, other significant players during the Revolution from the Quincy area, and what life in Quincy and Massachusetts was like during the period.

We hope that you enjoy it, and that all of our friends and members had a lovely Fourth of July weekend.

In honor of Pride Month, Quincy Historical Society would like to highlight the life of Quincy-born, Mary “Molly” Dewson,...
06/18/2021

In honor of Pride Month, Quincy Historical Society would like to highlight the life of Quincy-born, Mary “Molly” Dewson, a crucial leader in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, a mover and shaker within the Democratic National Committee, a champion of suffrage and women’s rights, and the lifelong partner of Mary “Polly” Porter.

Mary Dewson was born in 1874 in Quincy, near what is now Dewson Road. Her father worked in the leather business in Boston, so Mary and her five older siblings grew up in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods of the then-town. She received her primary school education at the Dana Hall boarding school and graduated from Wellesley College in 1897.

After graduating, Dewson quickly began her career in social work advocating for women worker’s rights and education. In 1900 she took a job at the Massachusetts State Industrial School for Girls in Lancaster, Massachusetts, which worked to “rehabilitate delinquent young women”. It was through this work that Dewson first met Mary Porter in 1909, when Porter also began to work at the school. The two quickly became inseparable, according to their friends and family.

In 1912, Dewson and Porter purchased a dairy farm in Berlin, Massachusetts, and spent several years retired from social work and activism. But soon they found themselves once again active in the Massachusetts suffrage movement, as the state ramped up to a 1915 referendum on women’s voting rights – a referendum which ultimately failed. When World War I broke out, both Dewson and Porter enlisted with the Red Cross and served in the War effort in Europe.

Upon their return to the States, Dewson was offered a position in New York at the National Consumer’s League, advocating for the adoption of a national minimum wage. This position served as a steppingstone for Dewson into New York and national politics and led to her acquaintance with other influential women such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Frances Perkins. It was Dewson’s friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt that got her involved in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s gubernatorial and presidential campaigns. This work, in turn, led to Dewson’s appointment as head of the Women’s Division of the Democratic National Committee.

While a member of the DNC she earned the nickname “the General”, and for good reason. Dewson used her position to secure jobs for women at all levels of the Roosevelt administration, and then at the state and local level as well. Dewson also spearheaded the “Reporter Plan”, a national women’s educational program which taught about the New Deal and its programs and was influential in its success. In 1937, Dewson was appointed to the Social Security Board where she continued her advocacy for women and families. However, she was forced to resign in 1938 due to illness.

In 1952, Mary Dewson and Mary Porter retired to Castine, Maine, a favorite summer vacation spot of theirs, full-time. Dewson died in 1962, at the age of 88.

Of Dewson and Porter’s relationship, biographer Susan Ware states in a recent New York Times piece that Dewson “made every political decision, career decision based on how it would affect her relationship with Polly Porter”. It was a partnership of equals, despite a difference in age – Dewson was 10 years Porter’s senior – and economic status – Porter was the couple’s main source of income. This equality is evidenced by how Dewson referred to their household in her letters to friends; “Partner and I,” she often signed.

“These were two women in love.” Ware writes in her biography of Dewson. Ware goes on to explain how Dewson and Porter’s decision to live together would not have been uncommon or even controversial at the time. Two women living together even had a common referent: a “Boston Marriage”. This type of arrangement served to ease the societal anxiety surrounding a woman living on her own, while also allowing the women in question more freedom to pursue professional careers and providing a socially acceptable alternative to heterosexual marriage and the responsibilities of motherhood. But for all intents and purposes these relationships functioned identically to a more “traditional” marriage.

Debate still occurs among historians when it comes to ascribing labels to historical figures, especially labels that include terms that were not used at the time. “Should we call these two women le***ans?” Susan Ware asks in her biography of Dewson. We do know, based on the few of their letters that survive, that Dewson and Porter used terms of endearment with each other, and spoke to each other in romantic terms. Ware concludes: “In the end, of course, what is important is not what they did in bed, but that they chose each other, loved each other, and expressed that love through a lifetime of shared partnership. While the term le***an had not entered the popular consciousness in the early twentieth century and thus was never used by Dewson, Porter, or their friends to characterize their relationship, the word does … convey the depth and intensity of their emotional commitment to each other.”

This post merely scratches the surface of Mary Dewson’s life and work. There is much more that can be said about her, and Quincy Historical Society fully intends to revisit her at a later date. In the meantime, we hope that you found this brief overview of Dewson’s life informative and engaging, and Quincy Historical Society wishes all our LGBTQ+ friends and neighbors a very happy Pride Month.

For more information about Mary Dewson, we recommend Susan Ware’s biography: “Partner and I: Molly Dewson, Feminism, and New Deal Politics”.

- Alexandra Elliott
Curator, Quincy Historical Society

A message from our friends over at the Quincy Homestead 1686: The Dorothy Quincy Homestead Committee is pleased to annou...
06/15/2021

A message from our friends over at the Quincy Homestead 1686:

The Dorothy Quincy Homestead Committee is pleased to announce they will offer the second in a series of outdoor tours at the Dorothy Quincy Homestead from 11am – 2pm on Saturday, June 19, 2021. This event will also feature local artists from the Quincy Art Association’s program who are skilled in En plein air - a technique of painting outdoors with the artist's subject in full view.

En plein air is a French expression meaning “in the open air.” Artists
frequently use the term to describe the art of outdoor painting while capturing landscapes and views in natural light. A popular practice for centuries, famous artists who employed this technique include: Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Cezanne and Van Gogh.

Plan to join us to hear stories of the Edmund Quincy family who first settled on the property in the 1630s and enjoy watching the artists at work while strolling through the Homestead’s lovely grounds. Docents will be available to welcome visitors and answer their questions. Tours of the property will end promptly at 2 pm. A suggested donation of $5.00 to the Homestead is appreciated and gratefully accepted.

Due to on-going construction and conservation initiatives at the Homestead, the interior of the house will remain closed to the public.

A message from our friends over at the Quincy Homestead 1686:

The Dorothy Quincy Homestead Committee is pleased to announce they will offer the second in a series of outdoor tours at the Dorothy Quincy Homestead from 11am – 2pm on Saturday, June 19, 2021. This event will also feature local artists from the Quincy Art Association’s program who are skilled in En plein air - a technique of painting outdoors with the artist's subject in full view.

En plein air is a French expression meaning “in the open air.” Artists
frequently use the term to describe the art of outdoor painting while capturing landscapes and views in natural light. A popular practice for centuries, famous artists who employed this technique include: Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Cezanne and Van Gogh.

Plan to join us to hear stories of the Edmund Quincy family who first settled on the property in the 1630s and enjoy watching the artists at work while strolling through the Homestead’s lovely grounds. Docents will be available to welcome visitors and answer their questions. Tours of the property will end promptly at 2 pm. A suggested donation of $5.00 to the Homestead is appreciated and gratefully accepted.

Due to on-going construction and conservation initiatives at the Homestead, the interior of the house will remain closed to the public.

Those who attended our January program with local-author Joseph Pereira about his book “All Souls Day” might be interest...
05/14/2021
WWII Vet From Norwood Will Visit Grave Of Soldier Who Saved Him

Those who attended our January program with local-author Joseph Pereira about his book “All Souls Day” might be interested in this recent news story which features one of the veterans who fought in the Battle of Hurtgen Forest, about which the book was written.

Anthony Grasso was 20 years old during the battle, and survived thanks to the heroism of 1st Lt. Frank DuBose of South Carolina. Grasso, now 96, is planning a trip to South Carolina to visit DuBose’s grave and pay his respects. According to the Patriot-Ledger, this trip was inspired by the publishing of Joseph Pereira and John Wilson’s book last year and is being organized by Quincy-residents Uncle Sam Rounseville and Gayle Bellotti.

For more information about this story, please see this news clip from WBZ-TV, and the original feature from the Patriot-Ledger. Keep your eyes peeled for more news about Grasso's trip as Memorial Day approaches.

https://youtu.be/SQZzRIHH1KM

https://www.patriotledger.com/story/news/2021/04/23/local-veteran-planning-trip-see-grave-soldier-helped-save-his-life/7321269002/

About “All Souls Day”:

The Battle of Hurtgen Forest, fought in early November 1944 on the Belgian-German border, was the worst defeat the United States experienced in the war in Europe. In the disordered aftermath, the fates of numerous American soldiers remained unknown. Their families searched for answers over two generations. The battle itself was largely overlooked by historians until recently.

Pereira’s account focuses on the battle and on the stories of the soldiers and their families and the impact on family members’ subsequent lives. It examines both military strategy and the nature of grief and of the courage of ordinary people.

Investigative journalist Joseph M. Pereira was part of the Wall Street Journal reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 9/11 attacks. He has taught journalism at Emerson College and Boston University and has won several awards for his investigative work. He wrote "All Souls Day" with John L. Wilson, the nephew of one of the men lost in the Hurtgen Forest battle.

You can find a copy of “All Souls Day” here, https://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/potomac-books/9781640122253/ or via your preferred book vendor.

WBZ-TV's Bill Shields reports.

Fans of actress-author and Quincy native Ruth Gordon will want to take a look at this video recently posted on YouTube o...
04/06/2021
Ford Theater: Years Ago (October 17, 1948, CBS)

Fans of actress-author and Quincy native Ruth Gordon will want to take a look at this video recently posted on YouTube of a rare kinescope of a very early (1948) live national television production of her play "Years Ago," about her teenage years in Wollaston and her wanting to become an actress.

This tv production followed soon after the successful Broadway run of the play in 1946-47. The Broadway production starred Fredric March and Florence Eldridge as Ruth’s parents. This tv production
features Raymond Massey and Eva Le Gallienne, two other major stars of the time, in those roles. Patricia Kirkland, who originated the role on Broadway, plays the teenage Ruth.

Raymond Massey, who plays the father, actually starred with Ruth Gordon twice in the 1930s: in a Broadway production of Edith Wharton's "Ethan Frome" and in the movie version of "Abe Lincoln in Illinois." Massey played Lincoln, the role for which he was most famous, and Gordon played Mary Todd.

Another live network presentation of "Years Ago" took place in 1960, with Robert Preston and Peggy Conklin as the parents. The 1953 movie version, titled "The Actress," starred Spencer Tracy and Teresa Wright as the parents and Jean Simmons as Ruth.

- Ed Fitzgerald

A Free The Kinescopes exclusive! This is a very, very rare kinescope of the debut episode of Ford Theater, which aired live on October 17, 1948 on CBS.Plot...

03/08/2021
Quincy400 Announces Upcoming Documentary

A special announcement from Quincy400:

"Beyond the Bloody Massacre" presents the intersecting histories of the Boston Massacre Trials through the words and experiences of John Adams, and Josiah Quincy Jr., the two Quincy (formerly Braintree) born lawyers who defended a British Captain and seven soldiers in two murder trials in the late fall of 1770.

Filmed during the 250th anniversary of those trials, "Beyond the Bloody Massacre" is a timely exploration of the pre-revolutionary origins of the American legal tradition of the rule of law and the complex intersections of the right to protest and mob violence in American political and social history.

The documentary features a unique group of five prominent scholars who have come together to guide viewers through the Boston Massacre Trials and the political, legal, and social worlds of Boston in 1770.

Quincy400 invites you to take historical journey "Beyond the Bloody Massacre."

https://quincy400.com/history-arts-culture/beyond-the-bloody-massacre/

Address

8 Adams St
Quincy, MA
02169

Located two blocks from Quincy Center on the Red Line.

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Richard "Dick" Curry, a devoted fan of Quincy's history and all it encompassed recently passed. Dick absolutely loved Quincy. Rest in Peace, Dick
Hope everyone is staying safe during this quarantine!! It’s been difficult to stay busy and optimistic during this weird time but it’s so important to find things that keep us afloat. I’ve been watching plenty of movies during my new free time and have found a great new movie streaming website called Film Festival Flix that is full of great independent movies from all over the world!! It’s been so fun to discover new voices on their carefully curated channels, especially the IndieFest International channel. I just finished watching a time-travel period piece on it called Dimensions that had stunning costumes that replicated the 1800s really well and I was so impressed!! The film itself was a sci-fi tale with mystery and a really sweet love story intertwined in the plot. If anyone wants to watch a film there but doesn’t know where to begin, I have so many recommendations and would be happy to share them!!
We thoroughly enjoyed the article about the Pneumatic Scale Corporation in the most recent issue of Quincy History. We had no idea of all the industrial machinery that was invented and manufactured here. Great work QHS.
Hello Ed, Audrey and all. Nice page.
**Help Support the Sailors' Snug Harbor Cemetery Memorial Campaign** @SSHMarinersGenealogy The Descendants of Sailors’ Snug Harbor Mariners have been reaching out to New York and New England Heritage (Historical and Genealogical) Societies, Museums, Military Veterans Groups, and Concerned Citizens, to invite them to join a Letters of Support Campaign to support their efforts to gain access to the old Sailors’ Snug Harbor Cemetery on Staten Island to honor their Ancestors, and all of the 6,500 Merchant and Naval Mariners interred there (1834-1976), by installing a Memorial Monument (Obelisk) and holding an annual Memorial Service. Some of the Mariners were famous Sea Captains and some sailed on famous Merchant and Naval ships dating back to the American Revolution. Many were just average seamen whom sailed and endured for many years on the sea under arduous conditions. A significant amount of the Mariners were from New England. https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2244490/sailors-snug-harbor-cemetery Sadly, the Sailors' Snug Harbor Cemetery is devoid of gravestones or markers, except for 15 remaining gravestones. The Cemetery is closed and not open to the public. The Board of Trustees of Sailors' Snug Harbor have rejected the Descendants' requests to access the SSH Cemetery to honor their Ancestors. https://nypost.com/2018/12/29/caretakers-shoot-down-plans-for-monument-for-fallen-sailors/ The Descendants are collecting Letters of Support to persuade the Trustees of Sailors’ Snug Harbor to change their decision. You can help support the Descendants by writing a Letter of Support using the Support Letter Writing Instructions at the following link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1sZv5VFLNWw0HA-pW2i33RhbgVFQ6oExx
As a child I loved going to the Quincy Historical Museum. As a senior I appreciate and love it even more.
My grandfather, Daniel S. Davis Jr., took a position in Smalley's Granite office there in Quincy, Massachusetts in late 1921. He and my grandmother, Minnie, rented an apartment for $20 a month at Curtis Hotel on Quincy Square. Minnie taught in George Washington School earning $25 a week. After just three weeks, the big granite strike came and lasted nearly a year. Dan was able to get a position as bookkeeper at the Boston Dispensary. Dan's brother, Edwin, couldn't sell granite because of the strike so he took an art course in Boston and lived with Dan and Minnie that winter. Dan was then able to get a position with E. W. Bailey back in Montpelier, Vermont (they were from Northfield, VT) and he and Ed left April 1st, 1922. Minnie stayed on, moving to the Quincy Hotel, to remain until school finished June 1st. This information comes for a letter Minnie wrote. if you're able to provide any further details such as when exactly that granite strike started, any photos of Smalley's, the Curtis & Quincy Hotels, or the Boston Dispensary, where those places were located, if any of the buildings still exist, etc. I would be quite interested.
Hard to Believe there is only only one day to the Elm Street Cemetery tour in Braintree and the weather forecast remains a perfect 70 degree sunny fall day! Expectations are for a large crowd! All Systems are GO! Here is brief tid bit that will be discussed... The original Grave of Sylvanus Thayer ... and how long he reposed there.... This year's tour will be different from our previous tours in that the group will all meet at 3:00 PM and be lead through the Cemetery as one group. Meet in front of the cemetery at 3:00 PM Sunday October 22nd to see the recent grave stone restorations and hear other stories like the tale of the "Iron Fence", "The Braintree Trolley", "Who’s Buried in Hon E. Thayer’s Tomb?", "What was Thayer’s Corner?", "The First Cemetery Burial", "The Missing Tombs", "Who Was a Pormologist", "Tales of Civil War Soldiers and Revolutionary War Soldiers, “Marked Graves of Braintree Slaves” and "The Mystery of the Double-Dated Grave Stone". Parking is available behind First Congregational Church (across the street). GPS address opposite 12 Elm Street. Suitable for all ages. No Charge for Admission... Donations to the Society are welcome! Braintree-Historical.org for more info.
Elm Street Cemetery Historic Tour Sunday October 22nd 3:00 PM. This year's tour will be different from our previous tours in that the group will all meet at 3:00 PM and be lead through the Cemetery as one group by Cemeterian and amateur historian Dave Crispin. Dave is a life long Braintree resident, one of our Society members and has been in cemeteries for over 46 years having been an employee at Blue Hill Cemetery all that time. He is also a recognized professional cemetery design engineer with the BSC Group of Boston. He is also active in the Massachusetts Cemetery Association and New England Cemetery Association. Join us at 3:00 PM Sunday October 22 to hear the tales of some of those resting at the historical site, one that has been exhumed, the fences and walls, trolly cars, the stones, the symbols, civil war soldiers, old yankees, slaves and perhaps a ghost story or two and maybe some singing! This year there is no reason to miss it... (the foot ball game is a night game). Parking is available behind First Congregational Church (across the street). This year, the town is placing matting (temporary pathways) on the grounds to aid in access around the cemetery. Donations to the Society are welcome! Rain Date October 29th same time. (Wish we had a rain date last year... remember is was rained out?)
Get your tickets and visit Braintree Farmers Market, today! Great event, Fasano's Catering, live music by Comfort Street - BHS Farm to Table Supper. Beautiful outdoor venue, Thayer Birthplace open for free tours! You can also get tickets online Sustainable Braintree