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CLICK HERE to VIEW PHOTOS taken by Steven Perlmutter (Perlmutter Photography) and Sara Morin Barth, LHC board secretary. 

Lawrence History Center celebrates its 45th anniversary; honors 4 key volunteers with the 2023 Eartha Dengler History Award

On Thursday, June 8, 2023, nearly 170 people gathered at Central Catholic High School in Lawrence to celebrate the Lawrence History Center's 45th anniversary and to honor key volunteers Pamela Yameen, Robert Forrant, Kathleen Flynn, and Thomas Walsh with the 2023 Eartha Dengler History Award! Guests were welcomed by a historic slideshow, guitar playing by Richard Cavanaugh, and the beautiful singing of the Central Catholic Concert Choir, ending their performance with "Bread and Roses" for the honorees (listen here). 

During the award ceremony, LHC executive director Susan Grabski emphasized that all four honorees are modest people, not positioning themselves, but rather positioning the organizations they care about for greater success. Because of their efforts collectively across 45 years, staff, students, supporters can proudly say they are a part of the Lawrence History Center.

No One Person 

With an array of talents, interests, and expertise, the collective and consistent contributions of these four individuals have helped propel the Lawrence History Center to its 45th year. From the early days, and across nearly five decades, they have embraced and enlivened Eartha’s vision through their volunteer work — some inspired as children growing up in Lawrence’s neighborhoods, building a sense of family and community; others drawn as educators and researchers by the richness of the immigrant stories and the impact Lawrence history has had on the nation; all with a strong commitment to service and to telling the story of Lawrence. As mentors, they inspire current Lawrencians and historians to continue to grow the archival collections and to preserve the voices of the immigrant city forever.

Grabski proceeded to share brief bios about each honoree, adding more personal sentiments, prior to introducing LHC board member Karen Van Welden-Herman to speak about Pamela Yameen, Lillian Beck to speak about her Aunt Kathy Flynn, Kevin Walsh to speak about his father Thomas Walsh, and Maritza Grooms to speak about 'her personal professor' Robert Forrant. 

Claudia Dengler, daughter of its founder Eartha, presented the 2023 Eartha Dengler History Award to each of the honorees with three additional Dengler family members - Eartha's eldest daughter Anne Cowan and her daughters Melissa Cowan and Stacie Gray -- looking on. Claudia reminded guests of Eartha's own words, voiced in 2013 one year before she passed:

"The story of Lawrence and its people is the story of America — of people pursuing a better life, of families taking care of each other, of hard work, of industry, and of freedom. It's a story that most of us share… the courage and fortitude of the people of Lawrence inspires me. When I started 'the Archives' I had a simple vision that the story of an American mill town and its people had to be captured and told. I am so thrilled to see how many share this vision... we have together collected, preserved, and shared the story of the remarkable people of this community.”

After honorees were presented with and accepted their awards, Lawrence City Council President Marc Laplante presented each with Lawrence Flag pin. 

The Lawrence History Center offers its profound gratitude to the honorees, their families, event sponsors and other contributors, friends, and many others whose contributions made the 2023 Eartha Dengler History Award Ceremony possible.