Speaking Engagement Reviews
"Author Barbara Berenson delivered a wonderfully insightful talk based on her excellent book, Massachusetts in the Women Suffrage Movement: Revolutionary Reformers to an audience of Marblehead League of Women Voters members and the general public. She was so well-versed in her subject matter that she was able to adjust on the fly, upon learning that the group had previously heard a speaker on Lucy Stone. She displayed a vast knowledge of the long struggle for woman’s suffrage, with a focus on the accomplishments of women in Massachusetts in relationship with the nation-wide suffrage effort. Her knowledge extended to the racism in the suffrage movement and she did not shy away from this negative aspect of the story. Her talk was accompanied by a PowerPoint which included short quotations, photographs and cartoons that captured the tenor of the age. Attendees lingered after the talk to continue the conversation with Ms. Berenson, finding her approachable and pleased to speak further. Feedback was all very positive. I would highly recommend her to other groups seeking a balanced in depth presentation by an articulate interesting author." Kathy Leonardson, Marblehead League of Women Voters.
"Barbara Berenson presented a wonderful talk on the history of the woman suffrage movement at our Annual Meeting. She captivated an audience of 65 for an hour, highlighting the role of Massachusetts leaders and the complicated and sometimes confrontational relationships between supporters of women's rights. Throughout the presentation Ms. Berenson was informative and entertaining. She masterfully balanced content and context while maintaining an engaging pace. Our members responded enthusiastically; they were inspired to learn more about this topic, which is especially timely as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 2020." - Anne Mason, Executive Director, Plymouth Antiquarian Society.
"For our recent annual meeting, Weston Historical Society members were treated to a lecture by Barbara Berenson on the history of women’s suffrage in Massachusetts. I use the word “treated” because Barbara’s talk was thoroughly enjoyable as well as being well organized, informative, lively, and thought provoking. Barbara has done in-depth research on this subject for her recent book. In her lecture, she not only gives a chronology of events beginning with the 19th century origins of the movement but also provides insight into the rivalries between suffrage groups. Among other insights, we are reminded that our view of history depends on who does a better job of recording and promoting their version of events. I sent Barbara some information on women’s suffrage activities in Weston, and she was able to work it into her PowerPoint presentation. The variety of images included cartoons depicting the social evils that would ensue if women were allowed to vote. Women’s right to vote was the issue in the 19th and early 20th century, but women’s rights continues to be an issue in our time, making Barbara’s talk even more relevant. My only regret is that our library closes at 9 pm and we did not have time for everyone’s questions, as many in our audience were eager to engage further with our speaker." Pam Fox, President, Weston Historical Society
"Barbara presented an incisive and entertaining overview of the role the Commonwealth of Massachusetts played in the evolution of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. She was thorough, entertaining, insightful and interactive, engaging the audience with tasteful snippets of our past. She answered questions thoughtfully and in an engaged manner, and people were very complimentary of the material presented. I would very much recommend Barbara for discussion groups and panels as she has great command of her subject matter." - Mark Schmidt, Executive Director, Falmouth Historical Society and Museums on the Green
"I’ve just been to a great talk by Barbara. While focusing on Massachusetts, we got a through overview of the suffrage process. What an eye opener to see how much conflict there was over purpose and method in the struggle. “Marching shoulder to shoulder”? Not quite. But Barbara showed how the very differences ended up helping the ultimate success. I recommend both Barbara’s scholarship and presentation skills." - Professor Anne Skinner, Williams College
"Barbara Berenson’s talk, as usual, was wonderful. She’s a fantastic speaker who has a very interesting and important story to tell: the significant role that women activists from Massachusetts played in the Woman’s Suffrage Movement.
Barbara’s talk is well-researched. She is a thoughtful, impressively knowledgable speaker who is able to bring the story to life. We were delighted that she was able to speak to our group and look forward to her next talk." - Robin Tapper, President, Harvard Club in Concord
"We were delighted to have Barbara Berenson as the guest speaker for the Annual Meeting of Quincy Historical Society on June 6, 2019. From the moment Barbara took to the podium she had the audience’s full attention as she guided us through the history of Woman Suffrage, with special focus on Massachusetts’ role. Her presentation (as well as the book that it is based off of) is well researched and well-illustrated. Barbara presents the story confidently and in a thoroughly engaging manner. Within the span of an hour she had covered everything from Seneca Falls and the First National Woman’s Rights Convention in Worcester, to the 1915 Massachusetts Referendum and the winning strategy that finally passed the 19th Amendment. When the scripted presentation ended, Barbara opened the floor to questions and was easily able to handle everything that the audience could throw at her. The hour flew by and Barbara capped off the evening by further engaging our members with a book signing where they were able to ask her yet more questions. Many members of the audience came up to us after the presentation and divulged how much they had enjoyed it, and how happy they were to have attended. We cannot recommend her strongly enough. We’d have her back again in a heartbeat." - Alexandra Elliott, Quincy Historical Society
"Barbara Berenson presented a wonderful talk on “Massachusetts and the Woman Suffrage Movement” for the Lexington Historical Society and Lexington League of Women Voters. Her meticulously researched and illustrated presentation expanded the story of the women’s suffrage movement from the singular mythology of Seneca Falls, to Worcester, greater New England, and the far reaches of the West. Her untold histories touched upon the complicated nature of the movement made even messier by aspects of politics, class, and race. Even better, her ability to have a conversational and in-depth discussion with the crowd following the talk allowed everyone in the room to share knowledge and curiosity. Barbara’s talk was a perfect introduction for Lexingtonians to the suffrage story as we gear up for the centennial of the 19th Amendment next year." - Sarah McDonough, Public Programs Manager, Lexington Historical Society
"Barbara provided an inspirational Keynote Address at the 49th Annual Northeast Regional Conference for the Social Studies and provided the audience with new information and helped them “remember” things they already knew. She personalized the talk to include personalities from the states represented at the conference. The timely talk on Women’s Suffrage provided a spark for teachers to think about how to incorporate this important content into their instruction, not only during Women’s History Month, but planning for the upcoming anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. Thank you, Barbara, for sharing your time and expertise with many grateful teachers! - Kathleen Babini, Ed.D. Executive Director Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies
“Barbara Berenson was the featured speaker at our Women’s History Month celebration at the Cambridge Public Library. Barbara is a dynamic, engaging, and thoughtful presenter. In the audience were both seasoned scholars of women’s history as well as those just learning about woman’s struggle for suffrage– and remarkably, Barbara connected with both of these groups in a meaningful and impactful way. The hour flew by as we were taken on a captivating journey through the Massachusetts woman suffrage movement with excellent use of stories, illustrations, photos, and historical context.” - Emily Shield, Program Director, Cambridge Women’s Commission
"Barbara Berenson gave a two-part presentation on Votes for Woman at North Hill Senior living in May of 2019. Her first talk so fully engaged our audience that every single person came back for part two and brought friends along with them. Barbara speaks in entire paragraphs, without a word wasted or a conversational pause. Her content is thoroughly researched, and embellished with anecdotes and authorial commentary that enriched the audience’s experience and made it possible for all present to imagine and appreciate the grit, courage and endurance of early suffragists. North Hill’s audience of residents and visitors is sophisticated, well-informed and propelled by intellectual curiosity. It’s a testament to the quality of Barbara’s work and her intellectual stature that residents and guests at North Hill alike are already clamoring for her return." - Linda McConchie, Marketing Manager, North Hill Communities, Inc.
"On March 19, 2019, the Westborough Public Library hosted Barbara Berenson, author of Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement: Revolutionary Reformers. As part of her talk, Barbara talked about some of the women from Worcester County who played an important role in the Suffrage movement and since Westborough is a part of Worcester County, the audience was excited to learn about those local women who played important roles in the movement. Barbara is an excellent speaker and was well prepared and was able to answer all of the questions from the audience. All of the audience members remarked that Barbara gave a wonderful and informative program." - Donna Martel, Westborough Public Library
"Barbara's lecture on the role of Massachusetts activists in the women's suffrage movement was energetic, engaging, and intellectually compelling. Her work is an important lesson, not only on a forgotten dimension of U.S. women's suffrage movement, but in the ways that taken-for-granted histories are so often shaped by dynamics of power and marginalization. The content of Barbara's work is outstanding. That she brings such vibrancy and organization to her public speaking makes her an excellent guest speaker in any number of venues. We look forward to having her back!" - Ara Francis, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology, Director of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester
"Barbara's lecture on the little known impact of Massachusetts’ women on the Woman’s Suffrage Movement was a treat to all who attended. Her topic was very well researched and dynamically presented. In the short hour, she set context of the entire suffrage movement before focusing on Massachusetts. Barbara is an engaging, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable speaker. Her interest in the topic was clear; she could have fielded audience questions all night. I look forward to having Barbara back to speak to the Society at a future date." - Hilda Wong-Doo, Program Chair, Winchester Historical Society
"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 was the featured speaker at the 60th Anniversary celebration of the League of Women Voters of Cape Cod Area. Her presentation based on her book about the role Massachusetts played in the struggle for women's right to vote was both enlightening and engaging. The talk was well organized, comprehensive and delivered in an animated and inviting style. She covered a lot of ground and stuck closely to the time allotted to her. More than one member of the audience said afterwards that they wished she could have spoken longer because they learned far more than they thought they would and enjoyed every minute of her presentation. I wish we had time for a question and answer period because Ms. Berenson had so much more she could have shared with us. And she had the audience with her throughout her excellent presentation." - Florence Seldin, Chair-LWVCCA 60th Anniversary Committee
"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
"Dear Barbara: We are grateful for your time, generosity and expertise! Your lecture provided another side of the complicated and fascinating story of the struggle for woman's suffrage! Who gets remembered is as much a function of the present as it is the past. Lucy Stone deserves to be recognized as one of the most affective and charismatic leaders of the suffrage movement. Thank you for bringing her story to readers and our guests! By portraying the political and personal conflicts between Stone on one side, and Anthony and Stanton on the other, you provided lessons for us today. Can change happen without compromising principles? The audience was intrigued and the conversations about your lecture lively!" - Linda Lopata, Director of interpretation & Visitor Services, The National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, Rochester NY
"It was an absolute pleasure to host Barbara here at the Concord Museum in November to discuss her book Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement. Her talk was both compelling and comprehensive, and offered new insights into the fascinating history of the women’s movement in the United States in the 19th and 20th century – particularly as it relates to not only the history of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, but to the history of Concord. It was an incredibly timely and relevant topic, as we held the event the day before the election day of 2018, and the post-talk discussion gave attendees the opportunity to make connections between historical and current events. We would happily host Barbara again in the future!" - Suzi Fonda, Director of Education and Public Programs, Concord Museum
"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 Berenson reviewed the history of the Woman Suffrage Movement during a talk at the Wellesley Free Library on March 14, 2019. Her talk was co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Wellesley and the Wellesley Free Library. Based on the careful research Barbara undertook, she has written a fascinating new book: Massachusetts and the Woman Suffrage Movement: Revolutionary Reformers. She deftly steered the audience through more than 80 years of history of the suffragists beginning with the earliest efforts of the Grimké sisters, Angelina and Sarah, speaking out against slavery and at the same time speaking up for women’s rights. Barbara introduced her audience to many other early suffragists such as Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She spoke about the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society ‘s first convention in 1837 and the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 and its “Declaration of Sentiments.” And there was much more history to be covered until the adoption of the 19th Amendment as part of the US Constitution on August 26, 1920. Barbara presented her material in a clear and gripping style. She used photographs, cartoons and charts to support her points. With her extensive knowledge of the suffragist movement and its history she kept the audience riveted to their chairs. An excellent story teller, Barbara captivated her audience and left them certainly more informed and wishing they could have heard even more about this important movement in US history." - Anne Rippy Turtle, President, League of Women Voters of Wellesley
"Thank you so much for your interesting and insightful talk today at the Rotary Club of Newton. We had a full house, and everyone was engaged, as evidenced by the numerous and targeted questions that were asked following your presentation. I truly appreciated your speaking style as you were able to hold everyone’s attention while passing on such fascinating facts and anecdotes. Thank you, also, for tailoring your remarks so expertly for the shorter time allotted: I am glad that you kept the excess slides in your visuals as they whetted my appetite to purchase and read your book! You crafted a wonderful presentation, and we appreciate your joining us. Come back any time." - Susan M. Paley, President, Rotary Club of Newton
"Last week, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Tufts University was lucky enough to have Barbara Berenson talk to us about her newest book, Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement: Revolutionary Reformers, and I can't recommend her highly enough as a speaker. Barbara didn't just grab the attention of our members, she maintained it throughout her talk, which was as engaging as it was informative. Truth be told, I never expected less, as Barbara had given an equally fascinating talk for us several years ago about her previous book. Both times, she not only conveyed an extraordinary amount of information in a relatively short time, but also managed to make the audience feel that she was talking "with" them, not "at" them—a knack that not many speakers have mastered. I only hope that she writes another book soon so that I'll have an excuse to ask her to speak for my program one more time. There an old expression that the "third time's a charm." In Barbara's case, every time's a charm! If you have a chance to hear her, take it. If you have a chance to have her speak for your program, grab it. In either case, you won't regret it." - David A. Fechtor, Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Tufts University
"Barbara’s presentation on Massachusetts leaders in the woman suffrage movement was very interesting and informative. The audience appreciated accompanying photographs and humor which Barbara wove into her talk. She was well prepared and easy to communicate with as details of the arrangements were being formalized. Having Barbara as our speaker proved to be the perfect selection for the LWV Hingham kickoff of the centennial celebration." Elizabeth Danis, Centennial Celebration Committee
Review of Virtual Talk
"In her talk, “After Suffrage: The Campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment, 1920 – 2020”, historian, teacher and author Barbara Berenson presented an informative and thought-provoking presentation on milestone moments throughout the past 100 years. Our guests responded enthusiastically to Barbara’s lecture and accompanying slides of engaging photos and stories. One guest shared how much she and her husband (who was mesmerized and drawn away from his puzzle) enjoyed the presentation and both expressed thanks for enlightening them. The talk was especially timely as Worcester Historical Museum plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in programming leading to its major exhibition PRETTY POWERFUL: 100 Years of Voting & Style."
Anne Sadick, Director of Development, Worcester Historical Museum.
Review of Virtual Talk
"Barbara delighted our group of 51 women with her professional and informative presentation on the story of the suffrage movement leading to the 19th Amendment. It
is a very relevant topic and we especially enjoyed the format of learning about particular historical episodes coupled with the lessons learned.
Barbara answered our questions with facts, interesting tidbits and examples. It was clear that her knowledge was extensive and we were just barely scratching the surface. Very clear,
extremely interesting and thoroughly enjoyable.
We will be inviting her back for more. Here are just a few of the many comments made by our attendees: "Must come back!" "She's Fabulous!" "Thoroughly enjoyed" "Terrific
interesting eloquent presentation" "Such a timely topic."
Excellent!" Ginny Kiefer, Chairman, Boston Chapter of The Transition Network
Review of Virtual Talk
Upon popular demand, Barbara Berenson returned for a second time to speak to our women's organization about ERA 1920-2020. The talk was immediately sold out, with 98 members immediately signing up. The talk was professional and captivating. Barbara has a knack of distilling the most important and interesting facts from an enormous mountain of information and presenting it with clarity. It is obvious her knowledge is extensive. The feedback from members was universally positive. We will look for opportunities to bring Barbara back to speak with us again.
Ginny Kiefer, Chairman, Boston Chapter of The Transition Network
Review of Virtual Talk
"Barbara’s talk “After Suffrage: The Campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment, 1920 – 2020” was the final of four virtual events we hosted as part of our 100th birthday celebration. I had been to Barbara’s “live” talk about the Massachusetts leaders of the suffrage movement and this was the perfect bookend to that. Her presentation was dynamic and thoughtful and the photos she used to illustrate her words really brought the audience into the milestone moments throughout the past 100 years. Barbara’s delivery of such interesting content was nothing short of brilliant – which is no small feat when your audience is virtual!"
Pattye Comfort, Executive Director
League of Women Voters of Massachusetts
Review of Virtual Talk
"Barbara’s historical review of the ERA and ratification, was illuminating. Her succinct presentation was both informative and energizing. The journey she describes is important for everyone. She makes this important subject come alive!"
LWV Worcester Area Board Member
"It has been my pleasure to work with Barbara Berenson on multiple occasions, most recently when she spoke at the Newton Free Library on Wednesday, October 30, 2019. The program title was After Suffrage: A 20/20 Perspective on Women’s Rights, 1920 – 2020. Over fifty people attended this extremely well-researched talk. Barbara is a consummate professional whose presentation style is factual, entertaining and always relevant. She has a unique way of tying history to the present moment, providing many learning opportunities for all in attendance. Her expertly prepared PowerPoint presentations always include interesting graphics which enhance her talks. I will look forward to having more opportunities to work with her and give her my highest recommendation!" - Ellen Meyers, Program and Communications Director, Newton Public Library.
"Your talk for our Belmont Woman's Club in September 2019 was just as wonderful as the previous talk you delivered a few years ago. I greatly appreciate the level of depth you bring to your subject matter. The slides you included with your presentation allowed us to really picture the time periods under study, mid-1800's up to and including the early 1900's. In your previous talk, about the role of Massachusetts in the Civil War, you touched upon a topic of interest dear to my heart, the nascent women's right to vote movement and the role of Woman's Clubs in this movement. Having an entire hour talk focused on the role of Massachusetts in the National Suffrage movement at this time in history (near the Centennial of women getting the right to vote!) was perfect. Your conversational tone and ability to allow question and answer during and after the talk allowed you to hold the interest of our excited group throughout the evening." Belmont Women's Club
"Barbara was the featured speaker at a program celebrating the 100 th Anniversary of the passage of the
19 th Amendment and the Founding of the League of Women Voters. The evening was co-sponsored by
Congregation Shalom Sisterhood and the Chelmsford League of Women Voters and was attended by
over 50 women and men. It was a pleasure working with Barbara to plan the event. She responded
quickly to emails, was flexible with our logistical needs, and happily joined us for an early dinner.
Barbara’s presentation of Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement is organized and fact-filled,
but it is not dry as she weaves humorous anecdotes and cartoons into the narrative. Barbara has so
much information that she carefully culls a section for each presentation so that the audience gets an in
depth look at the determination and challenges that went into the eventual passage of the 19 th
Amendment. The response to the program was 100% satisfaction! We hope to have Barbara return
for another program next spring to look at other aspects of the Massachusetts march to Woman
Suffrage. Thank you so much Barbara. We look forward to the next time!" Janet Dubner, 40 year member of Congregation Shalom and the League of Women Voters of Chelmsford
"Barbara Berenson spoke to a packed audience of 65. In an hour, she presented a succinct history of woman suffrage that was informative and entertaining. As she spoke, she was precise, clear, and extremely knowledgeable. After her talk, followed by questions and answers, the room was abuzz with discussion; attendees thanked Ms. Berenson and the DHSM for the presentation, commenting on how much it was enjoyed, appreciated, and timely. We look forward to having Ms. Berenson speak again when she completes her next book." - Johanna McBrien, Executive Director, Dedham Historical Society & Museum (Talk held in collaboration with the Dedham Public Library and Women in Democracy Dedham)
"Many thanks for speaking here last week as part of the State Library's Author Talk series. Your presentation was a perfect way to enhance the new series, and we have heard nothing but very positive things from the people who attended. Every single person I talked to told me how glad they were that they had come, and that they had learned a great deal abut events that they thought they knew well." - Elvernoy Johnson, Massachusetts State Librarian
"After hearing Barbara Berenson talk about her book at the Boston Public Library, I knew right away that she would be a good speaker for the Annual Meeting of the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail. I explained to Barbara that the meeting was a get-together for our Board of Directors and our Advisory Board to review our past activities and describe new ventures but also included guests from organizations that we had worked with over the past year and members of organizations that we hoped to work with in the future. Making a good impression to attract new colleagues was one of our goals. I believe the good turnout was due in part to her presence. Barbara adapted her regular book tour presentation to fit within our time constraints. Since we just celebrated the 15th anniversary of the installation of the Boston Women’s Memorial in Boston’s Back Bay that features Abigail Adams, Lucy Stone, and Phillis Wheatley, I asked Barbara to focus her talk on Lucy Stone. What a fantastic job she did in focusing her comments around Stone while giving enough background of the other suffragists and the complexities of the abolitionist movement. Her passion for illuminating the struggles and successes of the Massachusetts movement was fascinating. Speaking without notes and with accompanying visuals, she deserves all the praise others have noted in these reviews." - Michelle Jenney, President, Boston Women’s Heritage Trail
"We brought Barbara to give a public talk about her newest book, Massachusetts in the Women Suffrage Movement: Revolutionary Reformers. It was a really well organized, informative, and entertaining presentation. She brought great information about how women from our state were on the leading edge of the fight for the right to vote! She can tailor her talk to meet your group's needs, and she was generous with her time regarding questions afterwards. We highly recommend bringing her to speak to your organization or classroom!" - Courtney Rau Rogers, President, LWV Norwood
"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." - Jillayne Flanders, 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
"In her talk on “Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement”, Barbara gives nuance and complexity to the different paths followed by organizers on the long road to woman suffrage. Barbara explains with fascinating detail why some women pushed for national legislation and others committed to local and incremental changes, and how these two approaches yielded different results. She recovers a vital part of the hidden history of race in the woman suffrage movement and shares the groundbreaking work of Massachusetts women who were at once committed to racial equality and women’s rights and whose skillful leaders included some of the most influential Black suffragists. Barbara adds an illuminating historical corrective to a part of the story that has not yet been told and she is an eloquent and engaging speaker. Our students remarked she is ‘among the best they have seen at Holy Cross’." - Selina Gallo-Cruz, Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, College of the Holy Cross
"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 a 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
"Barbara gave a wonderful presentation at our library! She explored many of the lesser-known figures of the woman suffrage movement in all their complexity, examining their accomplishments without shying away from their flaws. She packed a lot of information into her talk, but without ever making the event feel rushed. Her program drew a large crowd, and the audience members were engaged and full of questions. We'd definitely have her back!" - Sarah Regan, Head of Reference and Information Services, J.V Fletcher Library, Westford, MA
"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
"On Thursday March 21st the Medford Historical Society hosted Barbara Berenson, author of Massachusetts Women In The Suffrage Movement, as its featured speaker. Barbara gave a scholarly presentation of the local women and their organizations who laid the foundation to make the passage of the 19th amendment a reality. The audience appreciated Barbara's dynamic descriptions of the struggles that women endured to gain the right to vote. A lively discussion followed with everyone eager to learn more about these courageous women." - Nancy White, Medford Historical Society
"Barbara Berenson's presentation based on her book, Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement: Revolutionary Reformers, was engaging and informative. She is well-versed and knowledgeable of her subject matter. I highly recommend attending one of her talks and definitely purchasing her book." - Jeanne Dee, GFWC Auburn Junior Woman’s Club
"The Longmeadow Historical Society and the Richard Salter Storrs Library were very pleased to have Barbara Berenson speak at our Longmeadow Cultural Council Sponsored evening presentation. Barbara is an excellent speaker. She puts the woman suffrage movement into historical context, explains the critical importance of the work done in Massachusetts and explains some of the many social, cultural and political forces that the movement had to face." - Alfred McKee Jr. MD, President, Longmeadow Historical Society
"Barbara addressed our Inn of Court, and was very well received. Her informative and detailed description of the little known politics behind the Suffrage Amendment was both fascinating and highly relevant to today’s ongoing public policy debates." - Susan E. Cohen, President Frank J. Murray Inn of Court
"Teachers and educators had the privilege of listening to Barbara Berenson speak on the history of the woman suffrage movement. Barbara delivered the keynote address at our three workshops titled “Should We Vote?” which reviewed the history of voting rights with the goal of addressing how best to teach these topics. These workshops were created by the Massachusetts Center for Civic Education and supported by grants received from the Edward M. Kennedy Institute. Barbara's remarks were revealing, engaging and compelling. So much so, that some of the participants wished that they could have heard more of her stories. Another commented, that she was "very good, knowledgeable, and organized. The highlight of the day.” Barbara offers a very underreported history that is long overdo in its revelation. Her audience fully supported her erudite research and history. As the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment of the Constitution will be celebrated in 2020, this herstory should be told!" - Roger Desrosiers, President of the Massachusetts Center for Civic Education
"The Groton History Center is celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and we couldn’t have found a better spokeswoman to provide the history than Barbara Berenson. She set us straight on the real background of the movement in Massachusetts and inspired many of the attendees to look back into their family’s past to investigate whether their own grandmothers and great grandmothers had been activists. Barbara’s talk made them very excited about their surprising finds. Our venue was filled to capacity and attracted many people beyond our small town’s boundaries. There was quite a line to purchase books after the illuminating talk because of the thirst to learn more of the details." - Bobbie Spiegelman, Groton History Center