Archive for May, 2014

  • 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.



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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!


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