LHC summer program, "History Alive for Lawrence Youth", is underway!


Thanks to the Betty Beland Greater Lawrence Summer Fund (GLSF), students from the Greater Lawrence Technical High School and YouthBuild are currently participating in the Lawrence History Center summer program, History Alive for Lawrence Youth!

Led by LHC archivist Jennifer Williams with assistance from Lesley University intern Andy Scott, the summer program supports LHC's efforts to link the rich history of Lawrence to current local, regional, and nationally themes in order to create more fulfilling lives for students and residents; to propel them forward toward greater accomplishment.

Students are being supported in documenting their life stories as they relate to the broader history of Lawrence. Their stories will be expressed not only through text, but also artwork. They will do this by writing a timeline of their lives, conducting interviews with family members and research using primary source materials in our archive. They will have the opportunity to take photographs of important people and places in their lives, and create original artwork that they feel represents their story. The result will be a poster detailing their history, as well as a presentation of that poster in front of their families and friends.

Through this program students are gaining valuable knowledge about themselves, their families, their culture, and the city in which they live. As they progress students will analyze this knowledge and integrate it into a coherent narrative of their lives; they will creatively express their interpretations and feelings regarding this knowledge; and they will improve their writing, researching, and public speaking skills.

Nearly half way through the program, students and staff are enthusiastic and engaged. We look forward to hearing about their discoveries!!

ECCFLogo_grantee_web.jpg"History Alive for Lawrence Youth" is partially funded by the ECCF Betty Beland Greater Lawrence Summer Fund (GLSF).

An Evening of Community, Family, and Promise: Benny and Mory Espaillat Receive the 2014 Eartha Dengler History Award


On the evening of June 19, 2014, the Lawrence History Center honored Benny and Mory Espaillat as the recipients of the 2014 Eartha Dengler History Award. Well over 150 people from Lawrence, the Merrimack Valley and as far away as the Dominican Republic gathered at the Lawrence Family Development Charter School, 400 Haverhill Street, Lawrence in support of the deserving honorees.

After a cocktail hour, reception, and a fine musical performance by The Wobbly Boys, Susan Grabski, LHC director, opened the evening program, “Since 1998, the History Center has held the Eartha Dengler History Award Ceremony to spotlight the efforts and accomplishments of outstanding leaders who work to bring development, opportunity and prosperity to Lawrence. Tonight we honor Benny and Mory Espalliat tonight as immigrant entrepreneurs, real estate owners, preservationists, lovers of art and history, social activists and for their efforts to advocate for and empower youth and immigrants in Lawrence and Massachusetts.

Benny and Mory emigrated from the Dominican Republic to the United States in 1983 and 1974 respectively. They met here, fell in love, and built a life and family, while deliberately maintaining their connection to their beloved homeland. In 1989, the Espaillats organized a mission to a poor community in the DR “to surprise the poor” at Christmas with baskets filled with clothing. Two years later Fr. Joachim Lally took notice and Mision Joven Dominicana was founded in order to expand their efforts to educate youth and to help poor communities by building homes and multi-purpose centers for worship, dances, concerts, art, and other community events.

Thank you to participants, sponsors, and volunteers!

We welcomed 173 runners, walkers, and dashers to the 1st Annual Lawrence History Center North Canal Classic 5k Run/Walk on Sunday, May 18, 2014! This was a true community event in a wonderful historic setting along the North Canal, past the Great Stone Dam, around Campagnone Common, past City Hall, and down Common, Essex, Jackson, and Canal Streets -- SUCH great energy, enthusiasm, and pride in the city of Lawrence!

Thank you to our volunteers, sponsors, and the LPD for helping to make the race enjoyable and safe for our participants! Mayor Daniel Rivera is pictured at right with race volunteers from the Lawrence High School Basketball Team.

Click here for event photos!
Click here for race results!

Please send feedback and/or race photos to northcanalclassic@lawrencehistory.org so that we can make next year's race even better!

Race Committee:
Ellen Minzner (Chair), Jim Beauchesne, Susan Grabski, Robert Lussier, Frank O'Connor, and Nelson Ortiz

North-Canal-Classic-Logo (1).jpg

Forging Lawrence's Contemporary Identity: Lawrence History Center Symposium on "New Immigration" into Lawrence a Success!


Click for more Event Photos!

On April 5, 2014, the Lawrence History Center and its sponsors held a one-day symposium on the history of the “new immigration,” into Lawrence, Massachusetts and similar communities at the Everett Mill in Lawrence.

The event was dedicated to LHC founder Eartha Dengler (August 15, 1922 – March 8, 2014), a post Second World War immigrant, and attended by over 175 participants from a myriad of local and regional organizations -- Brown University, Harvard University, the UMass campuses, NECC, Brooks School, Phillips Academy, the National Park Service-Salem and Lowell, Essex Heritage, the Immigrant Learning Center, Project Bootstrap (Lynn), Salem State University, Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School (Lawrence), and many others.

All told there were 16 panel sessions, a morning keynote from Brown University Professor Jose Itzigsohn, a lunch roundtable discussion moderated by UMass Lowell Professor Robert Forrant with panelists Professor Llana Barber (SUNY at Old Westbury ), Victor Martinez (Lawrence CommunityWorks), Eliana Martinez (Lawrence International High School), and Attorney Zoila Gomez (Law Offices of Zoila Marisol Gomez, Lawrence), and other attractions (e.g. photography exhibits, Oliver Partnership School Immigration Storyboards, The Lewis Hine Project: Stories of the Lawrence Children, and the LHC bilingual exhibit, Short Pay! All Out!).

Here's what attendees are saying!

"Thank you for inviting me to this great event … I did not know what to expect and it ended up being one of the best conferences I participated in the last years."
~ Keynote speaker Professor Jose Itzigsohn, Brown University

“A great day! Excellent plenaries and I enjoyed all of the workshops I attended - Dr. Avi Chomsky's, Working Cities' Challenge Program Lawrence CommunityWorks), and Movement City's Guerrilla Society poetry workshop!”
~ Julie Todd, Iliff School of Theology, Affiliate Faculty for Justice and Peace Studies

"What a grand day turning around the retrograde story people have about Lawrence."
~ Professor Robert Forrant, UMass Lowell / LHC board of directors

"Thanks for the invitation. I was honored to be part of such a gathering!"
~ Eliana Martinez, Teacher, Lawrence International High School

“On April 5, Essex Heritage participated in the Lawrence History Center's well attended symposium on "new immigration." Presentations helped participants to make connections between the complex history of immigration in the region and contemporary realities in Lawrence and other cities in the area, while scholars gave research-based insight into these issues and panelists highlighted the voices of Lawrence's immigrants themselves. Essex Heritage Education Coordinator Beth Beringer and NPS Education Specialist Maryann Zujewski, shared lessons learned from the Caribbean Connections program, a project that involved English Language Learning Middle Schoolers discovering ties between Salem and the Caribbean.”
~ Essex National Heritage Area

"In Andover, I've had occasion to speak to high school- and college-level attendees, all of whom were blown away. They'll have occasion to attend other conferences, but they'll remember this one."
~ Adele Carter, Phllips Academy / LHC board of directors


Tue–Fri: 9am-4pm
Sat: By appt
Sun-Mon: Closed

Address & Phone

6 Essex Street
Lawrence, MA 01840

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Founded in 1978 as the Immigrant City Archives, the mission of the Lawrence History Center is to collect, preserve, share, and animate the history and heritage of Lawrence and its people.