Not forgotten: Keeping the legacy of the West End alive
Eva Whiting White, one of the first professional social workers in the United States, spent much of her career in Boston’s vibrant, multi-ethnic West End neighborhood. She served as the director of the Elizabeth Peabody House for 35 years, and the records of her life and work kept in archives around Boston show just how closely her story intertwined with that of the West End.
Since February, a number of students from the team have been publishing blog posts with the Boston City Archives, covering topics that range from Eva Whiting White to urban renewal, the Elizabeth Peabody House to community protests, public schooling and healthcare to bowling on Sundays. These posts provide a glimpse into the communities and experiences that existed in the West End prior to the 1960s and prove that the story of the neighborhood is more than just its destruction.
The demolition of the West End began in 1958, and although preserved buildings from the neighborhood are few and far between, its legacy lives on through the work of institutions like the Boston City Archives and the West End Museum — and through the Simmons University 2019-2020 History 380 Fieldwork class, as well.
We’re looking forward to sharing our planned physical exhibits with the public as soon as it’s safe to do so, but in the meantime, our permanent digital exhibit is live! If you’d like to learn more about Eva Whiting White, the Elizabeth Peabody House, and their West End neighbors, check out our website: Learned from Our Neighbors: Stories from The Elizabeth Peabody House.
Did you miss any of the previous posts in the series? Check them out here:
- Remembering the West End: An introduction to a Boston City Archives blog series - Laura R. Prieto
- Meet Eva Whiting White, the West End's pioneering social worker - Jordan Ziese
- More than meets the eye: The Elizabeth Peabody House and Boston’s West End - Lilli Thorne
- The West End's Washington School: A look at Boston's Public Schools, past and present - Katie Mccarver
- Bowling on the Lord's Day: The West End's bowling alleys - Madeline Short
- Through the viewfinder: Urban photography in the 1950s - Chloe Feuerstein
- The demolition of the West End - Anna Boyles
- The West End: Slum or bustling urban neighborhood? - Noah Cabral
- Early steps towards universal children’s healthcare - Mavis Reardon
- After the West End: The fight for Barry's Corner - Sarah Carlon
This post was written by Maddie Gosselin, a student in the History 380 (Fieldwork) Class at Simmons University. For more information about this class's work studying the history of the West End and urban renewal, see our introductory post to this blog series.