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Members only: Christmas luncheon and lecture

December 5, 2023 @ 11:00 am - 2:00 pm


Join fellow Dames for a lecture and luncheon at this annual members-only event.

See below to reserve your spot and to learn more about Ken Torino’s lecture, “Deck the Halls: Female Abolitionists and Christmas.” RSVP now, tickets always sell out!



“Deck the Halls: Female Abolitionists and Christmas”

What we think of as the traditional trappings of Christmas celebrations were just beginning in the first half of the nineteenth century. New England’s female abolitionists played a large role in the development of modern American Christmas traditions. In fact they were the leaders. These abolitionists, including Maria Chapman, Lydia Marie Child, and Abby Kelly hosted anti-slavery society Christmas Fairs – one of the earliest traditions associated with Christmas in America. It was at these fairs that most Americans in the first half of the nineteenth century encountered a Christmas tree. The female abolitionists also promoted the idea of gift giving at their fairs, a central part of our traditions today. These woman created strong networks of woman that stretched across the then United States and into Europe. They promoted abolitionism while creating goods for sale and organizing the fairs. All this helped move woman out of the designated domestic sphere of the home (not without controversy) into the economy, changing forever the role of woman in society. These were both white and black woman with organizations like the African American, Female Abolitionist Society of Philadelphia and closer to home Salem, Massachusetts. These societies contributed time and goods to Christmas fairs to raise money for the abolitionist cause. Christmas fairs had a wide-ranging influence on our current customs, including the use of Christmas trees, greenery in decorating, and gift giving in America.


December 5, 2023
11:00 am - 2:00 pm




William Hickling Prescott House
55 Beacon St
Boston, MA 02108 United States
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