The Shirley-Eustis House Announces Winter/Spring Lecture Series 2015

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The Shirley-Eustis House, 33 Shirley Street, Boston, Massachusetts, a National Historic Landmark house museum and carriage house in Roxbury, Massachusetts announces its 2015 Winter/Spring Lecture Series to begin on Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 2:00 PM.  This series is focusing on those women in history who have made their own mark in time.  Women such as, Phillis Wheatley, Rachel Revere, Elizabeth Murray, Isabella Stewart Gardner and Louisa May Alcott.  Every one of these women made a difference in their own time and place.  Please save the dates and join us for a special glimpse into their lives!

Sunday, March 22 – Meet Phillis Wheatley – 2:00 PM
Valerie Link Foxx kicks off our lecture series with a poignant first-person performance of the life of Phillis Wheatley.  Ms. Foxx is an actor, author, wife and mother.  She is also a native of Roxbury and has performed since the age of 7.  In 1977, Valerie and her mother, Bernice Link, co-founder of Link & Foxx Productions which produces one-woman and family type skits and stage plays. 

Sunday, March 29 – Meet Rachel Revere:  Petticoats at the Revolution – 2:00 PM
Hear a remarkable story of tea and Revolution from the woman who road through life with Paul Revere.  Rachel Revere tells of the Boston Tea Party, the Midnight Ride and the Siege of Boston through the eyes of a woman who had to keep the home fires burning while her husband fanned the flames of Revolution.  This presentation will be performed by Joan Gatturna, creator of Petticoat Adventures.  Ms. Gatturna is an actor and storyteller.  She has been named as a Creative Teaching Partner of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is on the Touring Roster of the New England Foundation for the Arts.

Sunday, April 12 – Meet Elizabeth Murray:  From Colonial Boston Shopkeeper to the Farmstead Owner – 2:00 PM
Elizabeth Murray, a Scottish immigrant, developed a successful retail business in Colonial Boston.  By mentoring younger women and insisting upon pre-nuptial agreements in two of her three marriages, this amazing woman achieved economic independence and helped change the way society viewed women.  Throughout the upheavals of the American Revolution, Mrs. Elizabeth Murray Campbell Smith Inman faced the challenge of separating from Tory family members while declaring loyalty to the local Patriot cause.  Una will share how this outstanding woman led an adventurous and challenging life journey from Scotland to London to North Carolina and eventually Boston, which she made her home.   Una McMahon, Founder-Owner of Acorn Tours of Boston, provides customized sightseeing tours of Boston and New England and specializes in their rich Colonial histories.  She is a Governor/Board Member and the Chair of the Events Committee for the Shirley Eustis House Association. Una has taught French Language, led student tours to France and Canada and established organizations such the Irish Business Network Small Business Forum.

Sunday, April 26 – Meet Isabella Stewart Gardner:  Cultural Figure and Museum Founder – 2:00 PM
We are pleased to welcome Marcia Stein-Adams as our featured speaker about Isabella Stewart Gardner.  Adams has been a teacher at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for ten years.  In addition to giving tours and presentations at the museum, Marcia has also developed and facilitates a discussion-based program, which explores the art at the Gardner Museum. 

Isabella Stewart Gardner was the sole collector and founder of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which opened to the public in 1903.  Gardner's eclectic collection of art includes paintings, sculpture, historic furniture and textiles, and rare books and manuscripts, spanning several centuries and cultures, with a particular focus on works of the Italian Renaissance.  Gardner was a Boston citizen, a cultural icon, and a woman who exceeded the expectations of her era, community, and gender.  This talk will present the woman and the myth, the legacy of her creativity and contribution to the cultural community in Boston and beyond, a virtual visit to the Museum, and an opportunity to participate in a discussion about a work from the Gardner Museum collection.  

Sunday, May 3 – Meet Louisa May Alcott:  Not Such a Little Woman
One of America's most prolific writers, Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), the fiercely independent author of Little Women, was born to an unconventional family who were leaders in abolition, women's suffrage, educational reform, child welfare, and much more. In 1868 Louisa wrote the now-classic Little Women in her family's home, the Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts, the heart of the "literary flowering" of New England.  Due to a "minor carriage accident," 20th century audiences have the opportunity to "meet" Louisa May Alcott through the living history portrayal of Jan Turnquist. Audience members gain insight into important19th century issues such as suffrage, abolition, the Underground Railroad, and equal education. They will hear about Alcott's friendships with Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. "Louisa" tells about writing the autobiographical Little Women, and how writing took her from "rags to riches." Audiences learn about the courage and determination of an unconventional woman and her unusual Victorian family.

Jan Turnquist is the founder and director of InterAct Performances, an organization devoted to the wonderful impact that living history presentations and meaningful seminars can have in the worlds of education, business, and personal enrichment.
Jan is an educator, actress, and historian. She holds her teaching certification and degrees in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin. She has been featured in television roles on PBS, the Fox Network, and several BBC productions. Now a consultant to Orchard House Museum, where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women in 1868, she spent 18 years on staff there as Living History Coordinator, Education Coordinator, and Historic Interpreter.

All lectures will take place at the Shirley-Eustis House.  Admission for each lecture will be $10 per person.  Visit for more information on these events or Shirley-Eustis House tours, gardens and history, call Patricia Violette at 617-442-2275 or email You can also become a fan on our Facebook page to stay connected to our events and announcements.

The Shirley-Eustis House, 33 Shirley Street, Roxbury, MA, built in 1747 for Royal Governor William Shirley, was once a sprawling estate of 33 acres. It continues to sit majestically in Roxbury surrounded by beautiful gardens and historic fruit orchards and remains the most imposing and best preserved of the four remaining colonial governors' homes in the United States.