This series contains materials not directly associated with the other series
in the collection and applies more generally to the organization as a whole.
This includes materials on the history of the WEA and the 1877 charter,
lectures sponsored by the association, its involvement in the founding of the
Chemical Laboratory for Women at MIT and the Annisquam Seaside Laboratory (the
forerunner of the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole), the
possibilities for the formation and degree programs of Simmons College, and the
50th anniversary meeting in 1921.
The Chemical Laboratory for Women at MIT, originally the brainchild of Ellen
Swallow Richards (MIT's first female graduate and faculty member), was opened
in Oct. 1876 at the request of the Woman's Education Association to the
governors of MIT and with money raised by them. Professor John M. Ordway was in
charge. The laboratory was fitted out at the south end of the gymnasium and
later moved to a new building on Boylston Street. The lab closed in 1883 when
MIT began accepting women into the regular course program.
The Annisquam Seaside Laboratory was begun as a partnership between the
Woman's Education Association and the Boston Society of Natural History.
Alpheus Hyatt (1838-1902), the curator of the society, served as the director
of the laboratory, which opened in 1882 as a site for summer marine biology
studies for both women and men. In 1888, the Annisquam Laboratory was (by vote)
absorbed into what is now the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, and
another monetary donation from the WEA helped continue the work there.
The binder of materials marking the 50th anniversary of the WEA in 1921
contains mainly items related to the history of the organization. These
materials were not arranged in the binder but merely held together by it, so
they have been placed roughly in the order of the outline of the 50th
anniversary program (in folder 12 of this box). The anniversary celebrated the
many achievements of the association over time, and the papers in the binder
cover such topics as the history of the WEA, the founding of Radcliffe, the
Chemical Laboratory, the Annisquam Laboratory, the Household Aid Company,
fellowships, and the Library Committee's work.