Book Discussion: Biography of a Beacon Hill Socialite, Activist, and Reformer

Sunday, May 20th, 4:00pm – 6:00pm

Elizabeth F. Fideler will give a book talk on her new biography called “Margaret Pearmain Welch (1893-1984): Proper Bostonian, Activist, Pacifist, Reformer, Preservationist”

In a bygone era when twentieth-century Proper Bostonians mixed Beacon Hill formalities with countryside pleasures, Margaret Pearmain Welch (1893–1984) – longtime Beacon Hill resident and co-founder of the Friends (Quaker) Meeting near her summer home in Framingham, Massachusetts – defied the mores of her social set and got away with it. She was the epitome of everything expected and much that was scandalous. Margaret was the quintessential socialite who established Waltz Evenings in her Louisburg Square drawing room and also the beauty whose marriages and divorces caused ostracism. At the same time, she worked tirelessly on women’s suffrage, reproductive rights, world peace, environmental protection, monetary reform, land conservation, and more. A descendant of seventeenth-century dissenter Anne Hutchinson and just as independent, she embraced Quaker ideals of religious tolerance, conscientious objection, and civil liberties, as well as worship without the benefit of clergy.

Elizabeth F. Fideler (EdD, Harvard University) is a Research Fellow at Boston College’s Center on Aging and Work. Liz will speak about Margaret Welch and read from her recently published book about Margaret’s life and legacy. Copies of the book will be available for sale at the event.