The mission of the Lawrence History Center is to collect, preserve, share, and interpret the history and heritage of Lawrence and its people. Please explore our website, and let us know how we can help. Read our recent news below...

2013 Dengler History Award: For the Love of Lawrence

(L to R: Matilda Stundza, Jonas Stundzia, Amelia Stundza, David Meehan. Recipients are holding citations from Congresswoman Niki Tsongas and Senator Barry Finegold. Monument photo taken by Robert Lussier)
Click HERE for event photos!


On June 20, 2013, well over 150 guests gathered at Esperanza Academy, School of Hope, to honor David Meehan and Jonas Stundzia. Since 1998, the History Center has held the Eartha Dengler History Award Ceremony to spotlight the efforts and accomplishments of outstanding leaders who work to bring development, opportunity and prosperity to Lawrence. Now in our 35th year, the Lawrence History Center is proud to pay tribute to two men who were instrumental in helping us, and so many other like minded organizations, develop and prosper in Lawrence while respecting the City's powerful history and heritage.

High Achieving Lawrence High School Students Receive Scholarships from the Bread and Roses Centennial Committee

In 2012, the Bread and Roses Centennial Committee (BRCC) was charged with planning a year's worth of events to commemorate the Centennial of the Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912. Thousands came to Lawrence to participate in an ongoing dialogue about the Strike, to discuss how the issues and themes resonate today, and to pay tribute to the collective action of the strikers. At the close of the year, there were some funds remaining and the BRCC Steering Committee voted to award two $500 scholarships to the highest ranking male and female Lawrence High School students of history who were college bound.

On Tuesday, June 11, 2013, at a reception held at the Lawrence History Center for the recipients, their families, and teachers, members of the Bread and Roses Centennial Committee awarded the scholarship awards to Madeline Hurtado and Yan Pablo Rodriguez to support their college pursuits. Madeline will be attending the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Yan Carlos will be going to Northern Essex Community College in the Fall. The BRCC was pleased to be able to support these terrific young people!

[Madeline Hurtado and Yan Carlos Rodriguez with their families]

The Importance of Preserving History: LHC Visits Neighborhood Association

MountVernon.jpg The importance of preserving local historical documents cannot be understated. Genealogists use these materials to find out about the ancestors, while students, teachers, and scholars find valuable information linking local events to larger historical trends. This past Saturday archivist Jennifer Williams attended the quarterly meeting of the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Association. She spoke in front of an audience of approximately one-hundred people about the importance of preserving local history, and the fact that even a single photograph donated to the LHC has the possibility to have a large impact on future genealogists, students, and scholars. She also gave a brief overview of the important events that have occurred in the city's history, including the creation of the Great Stone Dam, the experiment station and water filtration center, and the Bread & Roses Strike. She also spoke about the fact that while Lawrence has received a great deal of negative press, there are many reasons for residents to proud of their city. The events mentioned above have national and world-wide historical significance, and the history of immigration in Lawrence has created a legacy of diversity that includes Semana Hispana, the Feast of the Three Saints, and the Asian Center of the Merrimack Valley.

The members of the Neighborhood Association were pleased with Jennifer's presentation, finding the information she presented to be very informative. Many had never heard of the important history of the city, and were eager to learn more. Several members stated that they had materials they wished to donate to the LHC, while others expressed an interested in visiting the organization in order to do some research. Several people also decided to participate in our listserv. After the meeting Jennifer placed scans of historical photographs on a table for members to look at, and quite a few individuals came over to view and discuss the images. Many approached Jennifer to discuss their experiences in Lawrence and the fact that they really loved their city. The Lawrence History Center is always looking for opportunities to connect with the community and make them aware of the resources at our organization, as well as the importance of preserving the city's history. We greatly look forward to similar events in the future.

Former Mayor Lawrence P. LeFebre Visits the LHC

LeFebreVisit.jpgOn Friday morning, May 10, 2013, LHC proudly welcomed Former Mayor Lawrence P. LeFebre, along with his wife and sister, to our archive for a visit and tour. Mayor Lefebre, pictured here with LHC Director, Susan Grabski (left), and LHC Archivist, Jennifer Williams, was in office between 1978 and 1983. During this time, the Immigrant City Archives (now dba Lawrence History Center) was founded by Eartha Dengler, the Lawrence Heritage State Park opened, and several buildings were registered as historical landmarks.

In 2006, Mayor Lefebre generously donated his papers to the History Center so that the history and his legacy may be preserved and made available for researchers. The Mayor Lawrence P. LeFebre Papers, 1849-2005, includes photographs, various types of correspondence, as well as plaques and other objects. The materials have been arranged, described, and made available to researchers worldwide through an online Finding Aid (or Collection Guide) on our web site. The following is an excerpt from the Finding Aid’s Biographical Note (full Finding Aid):

“During his six years in office Mayor LeFebre developed multiple projects. Indeed, he was very involved in rehabilitating the infrastructure in Lawrence. He obtained federal and state money to conduct such activities as install a new water tower and water lines as well as renovate the historic water tower, renovate the downtown area, and establish a Design Review Board to ensure that all rules in the historic district were observed. He also initiated the process of having five Lawrence neighborhoods included on the National Historic Register and established programs to rehabilitate and preserve historic homes.

Promoting Local History: LHC Works With High School Students

The history of Lawrence is rich, and includes many topics of regional and national significance. Immigration, urban redevelopment, industrialization, suburbanization, and labor are all themes that run throughout the city's history. The mission of the Lawrence History Center is not only to collect and preserve this history, but also to share, promote, and interpret it. We have been doing this in recent weeks by working with students from Lawrence High School and Phillips Academy.

PAClass.pngMark Cutler, a Spanish teacher at Phillips Academy in Andover, has been working with a group of seniors to create a documentary focusing on Lawrence. It involves conducting oral histories with many different people in Lawrence, including seniors, high school students, and business owners. He asked if staff member Jennifer Williams would be willing to teach a class on how to prepare for and actually conduct oral history

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