Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


February 28, 2013

Double dose: Andover salutes women of history every Tuesday

Call it two titanic tales for Tuesdays. Twice each Tuesday in March, Andover will salute remarkable women in history, by telling their stories. Several of the remarkable personal stories are about Andover townspeople.

Memorial Hall Library, Addison Gallery of American Art and the Center at Punchard are celebrating Women’s History Month by sharing the slew of interesting lectures.

“From sports and religion to photography, we want to share stories about unique women who have shaped and influenced our world,” Emily Classon, community servicees librarian, said in an email.

Meanwhile, it’s the same sentiment at the Center at Punchard as impressive women of history, like Phoebe Kwass of Andover, who belonged to one of the first consciousness raising groups in the Andover area in the 1960s, are sharing memories.

“In 1970, a note hung on the bulletin board at the Andover Public Library which read ‘anyone interested in being in a women’s liberation group meet at the library on Monday at 8 p.m.,’” she said. “I went and so did a lot of other women.”

“Many of us stayed together, meeting each week for four hours talking about politics, women’s issues, Betty Friedan,” Kwass said. “Women today are unaware of what it was like.”

Married with two young children at the time, Kwass described herself as a housewife who wanted more. She eventually enrolled in Simmons College School of Social Work. She took a bus from Andover to Boston five days a week to earn that degree.

“I loved it,” she said, and points to a supportive husband who stepped up to help manage their home and Andover’s women’s liberation group as her inspiration.

Kwass will share her story as part of Punchard’s tribute to women.

Margaret Bourke-White, famous photojournalist, is also getting special attention. Local actress Sally Matson of Andover (perhaps best known for her Susan B. Anthony performances) plays Bourke-White.

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