Reviews & Media
Speaking Engagement Reviews
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN (the list is long)
"Barbara’s talk was the kick-off for a day-long statewide conference and immediately focused everyone’s attention on the role of Massachusetts women as change makers. Her themes of “perseverance, patience, and pressure” resonated with the activists in the audience. As she spoke, people were riveted, either nodding in agreement or taking copious notes. Barbara’s talk was pitch-perfect and helped set the stage for the rest of the day by emphasizing the strategies that the suffragists employed, the obstacles they faced, and the value of the “long view.” Her words and her book will provide good reading for women who are engaged in making a difference today."
Meryl Kessler, Executive Director, League of Women Voters of Massachusetts
"Barbara Berenson is a fantastic speaker on women’s suffrage, she is engaging, enthusiastic, and remarkably knowledgeable. Her talk gave an overview of the history, spanning the antebellum period all the way to the passage of the 19th Amendment, and was able to give everyone in the room a solid foundation for understanding the long arch of the story. Also, the question and answer session was really great, in answering she was able to show the depth of her knowledge and I think that even the best informed people in the room walked away with new information."
Gavin Kleespies, Director of Programs, Massachusetts Historical Society
Barbara was recommended to the library as a great speaker for our local history series. I’m very pleased we invited her. Her talk was wonderful. It was informative and wonderfully illustrated. She deftly provided a national context to the fight for the vote in Massachusetts, and explored why much of this part of our history has been ignored or forgotten. The audience asked many questions. We have already asked her back to do another program.
Gail Fithian, Assistant Manager, Research Services, Boston Public Library
"Barbara F. Berenson, Esq. delivered a detail-filled and incredibly researched history of the Women’s Suffrage movement through the lens of Massachusetts organizers to the Fall Conference of the Delta Kappa Gamma International Society for Key Woman Educators.
Attendees learned that Lucy Stone, often noted as a secondary contributor to the progress of votes for women, buoyed by the work of Angelina and Sarah Grimke, was the engine behind the first National Women’s Rights Convention. Held in Worcester MA in 1850, this gathering launched an organized national women’s rights movement following the Seneca Falls Convention.
Utilizing primary sources harking back to an 1837 letter from New Rowley MA, Angelina Grimke wrote 'The whole land seems roused to discussion on the province of woman, & I am glad of it.' Berenson described the development of two organizations: the American Women’s Suffrage Association, led by Lucy Stone and Boston based, and the National Women’s Suffrage Association, organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, in New York. The two associations had differing policy goals in their efforts to bring voting rights to women, but ultimately in 1890 they merged to form the National American Women’s Suffrage Association. The dedicated, passionate work of these women did result in the passage of the 19th Amendment, but the starts and stops, small successes and political acumen required to stay the course provided a stimulating historical perspective for our gathering.
Berenson is an engaging lecturer, providing original sources, illustrations, and the historical perspective of the women who used their 'obligation of opportunity,' as stated by Maud Wood Park. We know their work is not complete, and discovering that the National American Women’s Suffrage Association became the League of Women Voters is challenge enough to continue their work. We should feel obligated to step up, speak up and show up as we lift up each other."
State Literacy Chair
Delta Kappa Gamma International Society for Key Women Educators
"Barbara Berenson gave a very successful talk on Massachusetts Leadership in the Women Suffrage Movement at the Newton Free Library in June 2018. With close to 50 in attendance, Barbara gave a well-researched and expertly presented lecture. The Q and A was robust with lots of audience interest in the topic. Barbara is a stellar historian who, through careful attention to detail, enlightens those who attend her presentations in an approachable, accurate and technically detailed fashion. I highly recommend her as a public speaker."
Ellen Meyers, Director of Programs, Newton Free Library
"Berenson's presentation is well-organized and deeply researched. Her lively style and copious Power Point images clarify the complicated history of how women, women of Massachusetts in particular, fought for the right to vote. She clearly parses the political in-fighting that led to the creation of separate and sometimes opposing groups within the movement . As she draws a timeline of the progress of the franchise for women across the nation, one is shocked to learn how slowly the movement in, of all places, Massachusetts, finally achieved victory."
Ann Marie Shea, Ph.D., Worcester Women's History Project
Barbara Berenson gave a talk to the Dorchester Historical Society. Our audience was full of praise, saying that Barbara made a complex topic understandable and left them with a desire to learn more. She moved through the story of the Woman Suffrage Movement while providing the context of other events and trends were happening at the same time. She is an engaging speaker, and the audience raised many questions and offered their comments about honoring women leaders in the suffrage movement. They were exhilarated by her talk.
Earl Taylor, President, Dorchester Historical Society
One patron told me, "Excellent speaker. Could have listened for 3 hours. Bought the book and I’ve already started it. Definitely bring her back!!" Another wrote "I Loved it. I was hoping to gain some insight about the Suffrage Movement that I didn't already know and the author knocked me off my feet with the info on the Massachusetts contribution. It is more than interesting to learn of the minimizing of Lucy Stone's input. Just another reason to be proud of Massachusetts. I brought 3 friends and they appreciated it as well. It was well presented, congrats to the author. Now I also know where the League of Women's Voter's came from. Thank you Tewksbury Library."
Robert Hayes, Tewksbury Public Library
"Your talk last night was excellent. The audience learned a lot from it, and your presentation was very engaging. Your topic is timely, but what I found particularly interesting were the added nuances of cultural context you provided and the expansions/amendments made to the simple summary version of the suffrage movement that most of us have floating in our heads from survey history courses. Very interesting."
Harvard Club of Boston
"Thank you so much for your talk about your latest book at Regis College Lifelong Learning speakers’ series. You are such an engaging speaker, the visuals are well chosen, the content interestingly presented; it was an altogether delightful presentation. The audience has been very enthusiastic about your depth of knowledge, engaging delivery, and charming manner. We look forward to your next presentation!"
Regis College Lifelong Learning Speakers' Series
"Barbara presented her "Women's Suffrage" program to the West Boylston Historical Society on Oct. 3, 2018. What a wonderful program full of so much history. She is well prepared and very knowledgeable which shows her passion for women's suffrage and how important it is today in the current political climate. Her power point is well thought out with great pictures that show the timeline of the progress these important women made so that we can enjoy the rights we have today. This was our kickoff program with a full house. The audience was very attentive and after questions, were excited to go home with her book."
Carol Parker, President, West Boylston Historical Society
"Barbara Berenson has extensive knowledge of the American women’s suffrage movement. Not only is Barbara an extremely engaging speaker, but her talk was also inspiring and delightful. She also has an superb ability to answer questions, including ones that focus on parallels between the suffrage movement and contemporary challenges. What an important, relevant, and fascinating area of history! Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement: Revolutionary Reformers is a must-read for all!"
Melissa Nawrocki, Executive Director, Flaschner Judicial Institute
"As one of the two headliner speakers at the 2018 League of Women Voters of the Worcester Area (LWVWA) annual meeting, Bridging the Divide: Acknowledging our Past/Building Our Future, Barbara Berenson expertly described the history of the woman suffrage movement in Massachusetts from the mid-19th century until the passage of the 19th Amendment, with a particular focus on race. Ms. Berenson uplifted the work of women of color in the suffrage movement, highlighting women of color leaders such as Sarah Parker Remond, Frances Watkins Harper, and Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, and described the denial of access to women’s organizations that women of color faced due to racism. Since the League of Women Voters traces its origins to these earlier organizations, Ms. Berenson’s talk was timely and has provided the LWVWA a starting point from which to begin dialogues on the intersection of race and gender within our organization."
League of Women Voters of the Worcester Area
"Your book and your talk inspire us to keep working for women’s and all human rights.Though many of us know that we owe much to these early pioneers for suffrage, your energized way of sharing their stories makes us hopeful for continued progress. We owe much to the courageous women in our past and to the voice you give them. As a passionate author and speaker, you engage us in history and help our journey onward. Thank you Barbara!"
Laurie Rose Schloff
President, Partners in Communication
Media Appearances and Reviews