• A program on Civil War Women:

The Civil War Round Table of Greater Boston will hold its regular monthly meeting on
Friday, May 23 at 7:00 p.m. at The Waltham Community Room in the ground floor of The Waltham Government Building at 119 School Street in Waltham. The speaker will be David Dockett doing a program on “Civil War Women.” Refreshments will be served and it is FREE admission. For more information visit our website www.cwrtgb.com

  • Waltham Women in Business offers networking breakfasts with featured guest speakers. Events are held monthly at 7:30 AM in varying locations around Waltham. WSRC Scholars are welcome to attend at a special Brandeis discount.


Visiting Waltham

DSCN2972Sally Collura and the WSRC tour group at the entrance to the Lyman Estate

On a rainy morning in late April, a group of WSRC scholars, staff and guests boarded the Waltham Trolley on a tour around town. The tour was expertly guided by Waltham native Sally Collura, a former City Councilor, TV host of Around Town, and owner of The Tea Leaf teahouse. Accompanied by the the Waltham Chamber of Commerce executive director John Peacock (who was behind the generous donation of the Waltham Trolley by Waltham Tourism Council), we headed to our first stop at Gore Place, the historic house and estate of Massachusetts Governor Christopher Gore.

We then continued to the studio of WCAC-TV to a refreshment reception, cordially hosted by Maria Sheehan, the station’s executive director and a long time Rotary Club member. There, with the cameras rolling at the WCAC-TV studio, we were introduced to some of Waltham’s most accomplished women leaders – philanthropists, activists, and businesswomen. We were treated to a huge goody bag full of mementos from our hosts, coupons to local businesses and information about the Waltham community.

Moving along, we boarded the shuttle and continued to Girl Scout Camp Cedar Hill, where we were introduced to some of the women behind the place – among them Cornelia Lyman Warren whose 75 acres estate was donated to Cedar Hill, and Patricia Ross who handed out to us signed copies of her book Cedar Hill Memories. Next, we went back in time to the historic galore of the Paine House and the Lyman Estate. Owned by two of the wealthiest and most powerful families at the time, these estates are recognized as historic national landmarks and are open to the public year round, offering educational, touristic and private event venues. It was especially fascinating to learn about the women behind the Gore, Lyman and Paine families, who in their own ways, were able to influence, shape and leave a lasting mark on the community.

Our last stop was at Sondra Celli Design studio at the heart of downtown Waltham. Daughter of bridal fashion icon Yolanda Celucci, Sondra blazed her own trail into popular wedding fashion with pouffy , long train bridal gowns, with bling, glitter and sequins to delight the hearts of (often under-age ) young brides from the American Gypsy community. Her successful venture is featured on TLC’s reality show My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding, which offers an unusual, albeit dramatized, glimpse into the life of the American Gypsy community, whether Romanichal or Irish Travelers. Our fast-paced tour of Waltham ended with a short ride back to WSRC, just in time for Amelia LeClair’s superb presentation Illuminating History.

On behalf of the Waltham Committee and the WSRC community we would like to express our gratitude to Sally Collura, John Peacock and Maria Sheehan and to the many women of Waltham who welcomed us on the tour for bringing WSRC closer to Waltham, one woman at a time.

Selected photos and feedback from participating scholars:


The tour was wonderful -

  • I loved seeing the old estates.
  • The brief intro by all the professional women- very impressive.
  • Discovering that Brandeis can use the TV studios.
  • Sandra Celli was amazing + fascinating insight into American Gypsy Culture I’m very impressed by all the work that went into this.

Thank you, Waltham Committee and also Sally Collora for her informative guidance as tour leader.


I was amazed by the mansions – the Gore place I knew, but Lyman and Paine I did not. And fascinated (shocked) by the Celli wedding place.Thanks so much.


My favorite thing was the TV station, because I pitched a TV program!


The whole tour was fascinating. I have lived in Waltham for only a few months, and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to see so many fascinating places which, I suspect, a lot of Waltham permanent residents unfortunately do not know.My favorite part was probably the visiting of these old mansions, The Gore Estate, the Paine House, and the Lyman Estate. How exhilarating for someone who’s passionate about American history! I also felt inspired by the Waltham women whose work and achievements are so impressive. An amazing tour!


The Waltham Committee is pleased to invite you to an exciting tour around Waltham, introducing our community to “Waltham Women, Past and Present.” Former city councilor Sally Collura will guide the tour to Waltham’s historic gems, introducing us to women who helped shape the city. Highlights include Gore Place, Lyman Estate and Paine’s Stonehurst Estate. We will stop at WCAC-TV, where the station’s executive director Maria Sheehan will host a reception with Waltham women who combine their passion for business, art and activism to drive change and make a difference in the city. On our way back we will visit the Watch Factory Museum for a glimpse at the photo exhibit of the factory women workers. Transportation via the Waltham Trolley is generously provided by John Peacock, executive director of Waltham Chamber of Commerce.


Marybeth Duffy, director of Waltham Council on Aging:

I want to thank everyone for the donation to our Meals on Wheels program. It was very kind and generous of you. The senior center has benefited greatly from our relationship with the Women’s Research Center. We have enjoyed all things you have done here.

Words of thanks (CDC)

Marilyn Lee-Tom, Executive Director of the Community Day Center of Waltham:

Thank you, the Waltham Committee and the Scholars for thinking of us during the Giving Season. During the winter we see more people whose primary night-time residence is in a homeless shelter, a warming center, a domestic-violence shelter or other insecure housing situation, Donations like yours help keep our doors open.

CDC_fundraiser_Thank You_PhotoExhibit

Holiday Fund Drive

We would like to thank everyone who participated in Waltham Committee’s 2013 Holiday Fund Drive by donating to Waltham’s Community Day Center and the Council on Aging! As in previous years, the Waltham Committee continued its efforts to support not-for-profit community aid services in Waltham.  In its 2013 fund drive, the Waltham Committee collected $163 in donations. Scholars contributions were directed to Community Day Center of Waltham which provides day shelter and access to services to homeless in the metro-west area, and to Waltham CoA’s Emergency Fund in support of the Meals on Wheels program, where Waltham citizens and retired citizens can volunteer to help prepare or deliver meals to the city’s home bound elders.

Odgerel (Oge) Dashzeveg, Visiting Scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center (WSRC), Brandeis University and member of the Waltham Committee presented her talk, “A Beautiful woman by their culture”, at the Waltham Senior Center on Monday, November 4, 2013.Image

Oge, Visting Scholar, WSRC (standing 4th from L)

Oge talked about women’s beauty practices and rituals that define womanhood across different cultures. Many cultures around the world have beauty traditions that have been forcing women to make physical changes to their bodies and appearance in order to be considered “beautiful” in her culture. These cultural beauty practices reflect values and beliefs about women exist for the benefit of men’s delight. Many of the harmful practices are performed on girls on achieving puberty and they symbolize entrance into womenhood and readiness for marriage. Some practices begin as young as for 3-4 years old girls and lasts until a girl reaches puberty and beyond to adulthood.

In her talk, Oge illustrates how a woman’s body becomes a beauty instrument from head to toe, including traditions of wearing heavy head pieces, shaving the head, etc. and ending with foot binding. A woman who fails to follow these physically and emotionally painful beauty traditions can be seen as unmarriageable, unattractive and dishonored by own community. Women’s beauty practices are unspoken traditions that never been questioned in the context of human morality, women’s human rights and dignity.  Many of these traditions are diminishing, however, the existing beauty practices are shifting into global money making business that shows woman as cultural beauty exhibitions.


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