LexSeeHer – Celebrating Lexington Women

The 2020 reenactment tableaux of the Massachusetts suffragist delegates to the 1913 Pageant
created by LexSeeHer members.

The LexSeeHer Steering Committee has enthusiastically taken up the charge to expand Lexington’s collective memory to include the many women whose hearts and minds have enriched the community for centuries.

LexSeeHer has several projects in the works, including a street banner project spearheaded by Girl Scout Troop 66265, a free Speaker Series, and the establishment of a new monument to celebrate Lexington women.

Co-Chair Betty Gau shares, “We have been studying monuments across the state and country, and learning from guest speakers like Kathy Jacob, who has researched and written about significant monuments.” Ms. Gau shares a favorite quote from Ms. Jacob, who says that public monuments: “… weave an intricate web of remembrance in which certain threads are highlighted, or validated, while others are dropped and disappear.”

“Women belong in our shared built environment,” adds co-chair Jesse Steigerwald. She continues, “Today, you could walk through the center and not necessarily find any permanent evidence that women have played an important role here for more than 300 years, socially, economically, and politically. Even in the 1700s, women helped organize; Anna Harrington, a Lexington woman, hosted a large Spinning Match that was organized as a protest against the King’s tax scheme. We would like to make sure that residents and visitors understand the important roles played by women.”

Ms. Gau continues, “The more we learn, the more excited we are to help make sure these stories are easily discovered, whether people are interested in Lexington’s critical role in the American Revolution, or want to know how women have contributed to the abolition movement, women’s suffrage, literature, and discoveries!”
Martha Wood, Steering Committee member, recalls the group’s launch on March 8, 2020. Wood says, “We timed our first event with the official opening of the Lexington Historical Society’s Something Must Be Done: Bold Women of Lexington exhibit, which took place on International Women’s Day. A team of Girl Scouts from Troop 66265 helped collect the very first pledges. We were deeply inspired by the many Lexington women included in the exhibit at Buckman Tavern.”
Amber Iqbal, another Steering Committee member, shares that it was very exciting to be able to see the Something Must Be Done exhibit, “The Historical Society’s presentation of inspirational women leaders from the era of the 1700s to the present is an essential effort. We, as women, have a responsibility to convey the knowledge of these bold and strong women to the next generation.” Ms. Iqbal is now helping make women even more visible with limited edition LexSeeHer mugs.


As you walk through the center today, aspects of the Bold Women Exhibit have been installed in the windows at CVS to celebrate the role that Lexington women played in the U.S. suffrage movement. A timeline offers viewers the chance to see where local events and national events intersected in the long road to the 19th Amendment.

There are many women involved in this movement from Lexington whose names aren’t yet well known. The Wellington family submitted petitions to the state of Massachusetts asking for the women’s right to vote as early as 1850. Eliza Wellington made a Lexington suffrage banner in 1887 that declares “Something Must Be Done.” This banner was carried by Vera Perin Lane when she and (at least) two other Lexington women traveled to Washington, D.C. to take part in the Women’s Suffrage Pageant in March of 1913. Florence Livingston wrote the lyrics for a suffrage song that was performed at the 1914 Boston Suffrage Parade.

Windows at CVS include costumes worn by Lexington’s Suffragist Reenactors who staged a special tableaux in honor of the 100th anniversary of passage of the 19th amendment. Hats designed by Corinne Steigerwald; sashes by Michelle Tran and Jessie Steigerwald. Window assistance from Stacey Fraser and Martha Leticia Valencia.

The CVS window exhibit was a collaboration between the Historical Society and LexSeeHer, and include a reproduction of the photograph from the Schlesinger Library archive that depicts Massachusetts suffragist delegates to the 1913 Pageant, along with a photograph from the 2020 reenactment tableaux. The windows also include the replica “Something Must Be Done” banner made by Jessie Steigerwald after careful research at period banners in Schlesinger’s collection. Look closely at items in the window to help solve some research mysteries! If anyone has information about Vera Lane or the original banner, please reach out to the Historical Society or LexSeeHer members.


Girl Scout Troop 66265 volunteered to collect pledges for the monument project last March and that inspired the girls to continue working on the idea for their Silver Award. “When I asked the troop if this is something they’d be interested in leading, it was a unanimous ‘Yes!’ from the girls,” says leader Lauren Kennedy. “I am continually surprised by how excited and engaged the girls have been with this project; it has been the main focus of our year.”

Girl Scout Troop 66265 Visits the Historical Society to learn more about Revolutionary Women.

With help from the Lexington Historical Society and the LexSeeHer committee, the girls have been researching and learning about bold Lexington women for the past eight months—holding meetings both virtually and socially-distanced in person. To make the women they have been studying more visible in town, the seventh-grade Cadette Scouts are designing vibrant banners to be installed in downtown Lexington for Women’s Equality Day this August.

Banners will incorporate the purple and gold colors used by American Suffragists who fought for the right to vote. Each banner will carry the silhouette of a woman whose contributions to Lexington are noteworthy. “We are having a lot of fun working on this project and we have learned a lot about the women of Lexington,” says Scout, Rory Kilgore. “When we were dressing up as women from different time periods we tried to think about what that woman accomplished and what we could add to the silhouette to make them each stand out.”


If you would like to become involved with LexSeeHer, visit the website. There will be continuing opportunities to celebrate the many inspiring Lexington women throughout the history of the town. All programs are intergenerational, incorporate the arts, and provide a chance to combine fun with fundraising. Sign up on the website to receive updates.


Educational Speaker Series

Starting in the fall of 2020, LexSeeHer promoted ways to learn about monuments and monumental Lexington women by establishing the LexSeeHer Speaker Series as part of their Educational Outreach.  The Committee hosted prominent speakers in 2020 during Zoom meetings open to the community.  Guest speakers presented slide shows, spoke about their area of expertise and fielded questions from the Zoom audience.

Speakers in the series have included a committee member from the New York City Monumental Women organization that established the Women’s Rights

Pioneers monument in Central Park; historian Stacey Fraser, curator of the Lexington Historical Society Bold Women of Lexington exhibit; Kathy Jacob Schlesinger, Library archivist and author of a book on Civil War monuments; Emily Murphy, Curator for Salem Maritime and Saugus Ironworks National Historic Sites and researcher of the Lexington 1775 Spinning Match; Elise Adams, President of the New England Sculptors Association, and Erik Durant, Sculptor of many Massachusetts public sculptures.

Spring 2021
April speakers will include talks by local sculptors, state monument organizers, and historians specializing in research on women. Check the website, and register to be kept up-to-date on future speakers.

March 31st, 12:00 – 1:00 PM – A leader from Montgomery Alabama who established a city monument to honor motherhood and created a multi-media walking tour of women’s history of the city will speak to the group. Thye talk will include a virtual Tour of Montgomery Alabama, Birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement.

Visit LexSeeHer.com
to register for the Speaker Series sessions. 

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