For more than 30 years, the Jamaica Plain Historical Society has helped to preserve the histo-ry of the neighborhood through community events, walks, and a band of volunteers and con-tributors.
The Gazette spoke with JP Historical Society president Gretchen Grozier to find out what events the organization has planned for the next few months.
On March 15, a Women’s History event will be held at the Forsyth Chapel at the Forest Hills cemetery to celebrate Anna Eliot Ticknor, who founded the first correspondence school in America in 1873, called “the Society to Encourage Studies at Home.” Grozier said the school allowed women to take courses through letters exchanged with female teachers. Speakers Marie Oedel and Cheryl Mariolis of the Ticknor Society will talk about Ticknor’s work and how it affected the lives of women in the Boston area. The event is free, and will be from 2:00-4:00pm on March 15.
In April, an event featuring photos from JP photographer Leon Abdalian will be held any the JP Library. Grozier said that Abdalian was born in what used to be Cilician Armenia and came to the United States with his family in the late 1800s. Grozier said that Abdalian spent his life working for the MBTA, but his hobby was photography and he was published in several newspapers as well as National Geographic magazine. Abdalian’s photographs will be dis-cussed and presented by Aaron Schmidt of the Boston Public Library’s Prints Department on April 4 from 2:00-4:00pm at the JP Library.
On April 26, a lecture on the China Traders will be delivered by Professor Dane Morrison of Sa-lem State University. One of the traders discussed will be John Murray Forbes, who was born in JP, and his mother was a Perkins—Grozier said that one of the Historical Society members pointed out that a lot o JP streets are named for China Traders, so they decided a talk would be in order to provide more context for those who might be interested in learning the history behind the street names. “I think it will be interesting,” Grozier said. “There’s a whole oopium component that people will think is fascinating.”
In May, a talk will be held on the Italian Home for Children, which just celebrated its 100th an-niversary. Grozier also said the former director retried last year and has written some small history books as well. More details will be provided as the event gets closer on the Jamaica Plain Historical Society website.
Then, in mid-May, the Historical Society’s weekly walking tour series will start up for the sea-son. The walking tours are free, and are held every Saturday from mid-May to the end of Sep-tember. Grozier said that following the success of a few Spanish-speaking tours last year, they hope to hold even more tours in Spanish this year and are looking for Spanish-speaking guides to lead them.
“That’s our plan,” Grozier said. “We try and do events every month.” She added that they are also constantly adding new information to the website, and welcome articles and photos from residents that can reveal more about JP’s rich history.