Founded in 1978 as the Immigrant City Archives, the mission of the Lawrence History Center is to collect, preserve, share, and interpret the history and heritage of Lawrence and its people.

LHC summer program, "History Alive for Lawrence Youth", is underway!


Thanks to the Betty Beland Greater Lawrence Summer Fund (GLSF), students from the Greater Lawrence Technical High School and YouthBuild are currently participating in the Lawrence History Center summer program, History Alive for Lawrence Youth!

Led by LHC archivist Jennifer Williams with assistance from Lesley University intern Andy Scott, the summer program supports LHC's efforts to link the rich history of Lawrence to current local, regional, and nationally themes in order to create more fulfilling lives for students and residents; to propel them forward toward greater accomplishment.

Students are being supported in documenting their life stories as they relate to the broader history of Lawrence. Their stories will be expressed not only through text, but also artwork. They will do this by writing a timeline of their lives, conducting interviews with family members and research using primary source materials in our archive. They will have the opportunity to take photographs of important people and places in their lives, and create original artwork that they feel represents their story. The result will be a poster detailing their history, as well as a presentation of that poster in front of their families and friends.

Through this program students are gaining valuable knowledge about themselves, their families, their culture, and the city in which they live. As they progress students will analyze this knowledge and integrate it into a coherent narrative of their lives; they will creatively express their interpretations and feelings regarding this knowledge; and they will improve their writing, researching, and public speaking skills.

Nearly half way through the program, students and staff are enthusiastic and engaged. We look forward to hearing about their discoveries!!

ECCFLogo_grantee_web.jpg"History Alive for Lawrence Youth" is partially funded by the ECCF Betty Beland Greater Lawrence Summer Fund (GLSF).

An Evening of Community, Family, and Promise: Benny and Mory Espaillat Receive the 2014 Eartha Dengler History Award


On the evening of June 19, 2014, the Lawrence History Center honored Benny and Mory Espaillat as the recipients of the 2014 Eartha Dengler History Award. Well over 150 people from Lawrence, the Merrimack Valley and as far away as the Dominican Republic gathered at the Lawrence Family Development Charter School, 400 Haverhill Street, Lawrence in support of the deserving honorees.

After a cocktail hour, reception, and a fine musical performance by The Wobbly Boys, Susan Grabski, LHC director, opened the evening program, “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. Tonight we honor Benny and Mory Espalliat tonight as immigrant entrepreneurs, real estate owners, preservationists, lovers of art and history, social activists and for their efforts to advocate for and empower youth and immigrants in Lawrence and Massachusetts.

Benny and Mory emigrated from the Dominican Republic to the United States in 1983 and 1974 respectively. They met here, fell in love, and built a life and family, while deliberately maintaining their connection to their beloved homeland. In 1989, the Espaillats organized a mission to a poor community in the DR “to surprise the poor” at Christmas with baskets filled with clothing. Two years later Fr. Joachim Lally took notice and Mision Joven Dominicana was founded in order to expand their efforts to educate youth and to help poor communities by building homes and multi-purpose centers for worship, dances, concerts, art, and other community events.

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