Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Roberta Wollons

Second Advisor

Vincent Cannato

Third Advisor

Timothy Hacsi


This thesis examines the formation of The Hyde Park Thought Club in the late nineteenth century and its relationship to the growth of the national women’s club movement. While this pioneer club had a long life of 127 years, this study will focus on the first twenty-one years. During that span of time, many of the club members truly did succeed in providing a classical education for themselves and consequently, several advanced personally. This local club has not been researched before and most of the study concentrates on untouched archives that include transcribed minutes, directories, letters, pictures, and newspaper clippings. This information is also supplemented with census data and other primary sources.

The study focuses on the Hyde Park women as a pioneer literary club and examines the methods and procedures used as they progressed in educating themselves. Located outside of Boston, the women were greatly influenced by the New England Women’s Club whose members were some of the most well-known women of the era. The Hyde Park community and its famous residents provided a pro-women and abolitionist perspective that greatly influenced the local women. When the call rang out to gather all the known clubs, the Hyde Park Thought Club played an active role in establishing the Massachusetts State Federation and General Federation of Women’s Clubs, and in time, when race relations were at the forefront, the Hyde Park women stood up against bigotry.


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