Brookline Historical Society
Upcoming Event: The Annual Fall Program
Florida Ruffin Ridley of Brookline: Gender, Race, Class, and Politics Among Boston's Black Elite
Speaker: Dolita Cathcart
Date: Postponed.
The November 24th program about Florida Ruffin Ridley at the Brookline Library has been postponed. We plan to hold the program after the New Year. Details about a new date and time will be made available once they have been confirmed."
Florida Ridley Ruffin
Brookline’s Town Meeting will vote in late November on a new name for the Coolidge Corner School (the former Edward Devotion School). The name recommended by the School Committee – following a process led by students at the school – is Florida Ruffin Ridley. (Hers is one of three proposed names that Town Meeting will vote on.)

Ridley, who lived in Brookline with her family from the 1890s to the 1920s was an educator – the second African American teacher in the Boston schools. She was also a writer, an editor, an organizer, and an activist who fought for civil rights and women’s rights. This presentation by Dolita Cathcart, Associate Professor of History at Wheaton College, will offer a look at the evolution of black political participation and protest in Boston and nationally and the role played by Ridley, her mother, Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, and others from Reconstruction to the Great Depression.

Dolita Cathcart
Dolita Cathcart
courtesy Wheaton College
Professor Cathcart received her PhD in history from Boston College in 2004. Her teaching and research interests focus on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century African American women’s political and social history. She has written on the civil rights movement and immigrant women in the United States. Her research has been published in The Historical Journal of Massachusetts, History: Review of New Books, and The Journal of Southern History. Professor Cathcart has appeared as an on-camera scholar for the National Geographic series Origins: The Journey of Humankind and the PBS documentary Birth of a Movement.

Space is limited. Doors open at 1:30. Refreshments will be served.
President Ken Liss Blogs on Brookline Past & Present
Ghosts & Shadows of Automobile Row
If you missed my 9/15 conversation with WBUR’s Sharon Brody about Commonwealth Avenue’s Automobile Row in Boston and Brookline, the talk/slideshow is now available on the station's YouTube channel:
See the full blog at
Welcome to the Brookline Historical Society
The Brookline Historical Society is a non-profit community organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Brookline's diverse history. The society's headquarters are located in the heart of Coolidge Corner at the Edward Devotion House, one of Brookline's oldest colonial period structures. The Society also maintains the circa 1780 Widow Harris House as well as the Putterham School located in Larz Anderson Park. Our membership program is active and volunteers are welcome.
Brookline Village, Harvard Sq.

We invite you to browse our growing online collection of over 700 historic photos, postcards, atlases and more.
Virtual Walking Tour
Click to Start Tour
Brookline's rich history can now take a virtual walking tour of the town via our new online map. The map presents pictures and descriptions (with links for more information) about homes, commercial buildings, churches and synagogues, schools, neighborhoods, parks, and other parts of the town.

Most of the sites marked on the map are in Brookline Village, Coolidge Corner, Longwood, and the area around the First Parish Church and the old Village Green. Other sites and other areas of Brookline are being added, helping to bring to light stories behind familiar and not-so-familiar places in town.