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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 615: Vt-171

Records of the Rockport Lodge, 1906-2007 (inclusive), 1952-1995 (bulk)


Records of Rockport Lodge, a vacation resort for low-income women.


  • 1906-2007
  • Majority of material found within 1952-1995

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted, except that #8.8-8.9 are closed until January 1, 2042, #18.5 is closed until January 1, 2050, #21.10 is closed til January 1, 2060, and #22.7-22.8, #23.1-23.2, #30.3-30.15, #49FB.1, and #554OB.9 are closed until January 1, 2052. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Rockport Lodge is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


19.8 linear feet ((47 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 1 card file box, 2 folio boxes, 3 folio+ boxes, 1 oversize box, 2 supersize folders, 25 photograph folders, 3 folio photograph folders, 2 videotapes)

This collection documents operations and activities at Rockport Lodge and includes minutes and by-laws; correspondence; financial records; lodger's reservation records and membership cards; flyers, program announcements, and brochures; scrapbooks, photographs, and videotapes. The bulk of the folder titles were created by the processor; those created by Rockport Lodge appear in quotation marks. Newsletters were transferred to the Schlesinger Library's periodicals collection. Records received in 2011 from David Wise (#55.1-55.6, SD.2) were added to the collection in 2012. Listed in the finding aid where they belong intellectually, they are boxed separately.

Series I, HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION, 1906-2007 (#1.1-5.12, 55.1-55.3), contains two subseries.

Subseries A, History, 1906-2007 (#1.1-1.9), includes certificates of organization and name change (documenting the 1919 change of name from Massachusetts Association of Women Workers' Corporation to the Massachusetts League of Women Workers Corporation, and the 1946 change from the Massachusetts League of Girls' Clubs, Incorporated, to Rockport Lodge, Inc.); articles of incorporation and amendment; by-laws; and clippings, including articles on the Lodge's closure and future plans for the property. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries B, Minutes and related, 1955-2003 (#1.10-5.12, 55.1-55.3), contains meeting minutes of the board of trustees and executive committee; financial, annual, and director's reports; budget information; minutes of the advisory committee; and by-laws and minutes of the Rockport Lodge committee alumnae, former members of the Rockport Lodge (advisory) committee, who counseled the advisory committee regarding the aims, purposes, and policies of Rockport Lodge; and material re: meetings of the New Friends of Rockport Lodge, which sought ways to keep the Lodge open as its economic status became increasingly strained. Topics discussed at board and executive committee meetings include fundraising efforts; staffing; program planning; and the decision not to open the Lodge for the summer of 1989 and lodgers' reactions. Reflecting the Lodge's troubled economic situation, meetings from 1999 through 2003 increasingly focused on the sale of parcels of land and the possible sale of the Lodge. (See also Series III and V.) The subseries is arranged chronologically, with the Rockport Lodge committee alumnae material appearing last.

Series II, HOUSE ADMINISTRATION, 1966-2002, (#6.1-10.4) consists of three subseries, described below.

Subseries A, House operation, 1966-2002, (#6.1-8.3), documents day-to-day administration of Rockport Lodge and includes lists of daily tasks; repair estimates; menus and a cookbook; food orders; instructions for preparing rooms for lodgers; permits; check-in sheets; and other tallies and statistics. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries B, Personnel, 1977-2000 (#8.4-8.11), includes job descriptions and applications, staff salaries and schedules, and notes to staff regarding daily tasks. It is arranged chronologically.

Subseries C, Insurance, 1976-1995 (#8.12-10.4), includes property, fire, general liability, and workers' compensation insurance policies and related correspondence. It is arranged chronologically.

Series III, LEGAL, 1971-2004 (#10.5-12.1, 55.4), consists primarily of court filings, correspondence, and background material related to attempts to close Rockport Lodge, or to lease or sell the Lodge or portions of its property. (Plans to close the Lodge were first announced--and met with vigorous protest--in 1975. A subsequent plan to close the Lodge for the summer of 1989 also resulted in legal action, as did a proposed land sale.) Legal documents concerning the transfer of the Lodge to Wellspring House are also included here, as well as documents pertaining to other lawsuits involving the Lodge. For additional correspondence regarding the closure of Rockport Lodge, see #19.4-19.10, 20.9-20.12, 21.6-21.7, and 21.12-21.14). The series is arranged chronologically.

Series IV, FUNDRAISING, 1921-2004 (#12.2-15.7, 55.5-55.6, 48CB), consists of two subseries.

Subseries A, Grants, 1981-1999 (#12.2-13.18), contains grant proposals, correspondence regarding accepted proposals, and an application for placement on the National Register of Historic Places. It is arranged chronologically.

Subseries B, General, 1921-2004 (#13.19-15.7, 55.5-55.6, 48CB), includes cards for individual lodgers (in several alphabetical groupings), listing their contributions, followed by a chronological arrangement of forms filed with the Division of Public Charities; correspondence regarding fundraising ideas; requests for donations; and donation forms, including room dedication forms.

Series V, CORRESPONDENCE, 1930-2006 (#15.8-22.5, PD.1) contains correspondence with women who played prominent roles in activities at the Lodge, including directors Lois Eddy, Chris Czernik, and Jane Forte, and board member Gladys Shapiro; requests for brochures and information; letters from dissatisfied guests; arrangements to rent the Lodge's barn and summer house; and a wooden plaque inscribed to Eddy (#17.8m). In addition, a considerable portion of the correspondence concerns plans to close the Lodge and the resulting protests (#20.9-20.12, 21.6-21.7, and 21.12-21.14). Also included is correspondence regarding the sale of parts of the Lodge's property, and correspondence with and background material on Wellspring House, which ultimately took over the Lodge. The series is arranged with folders of general correspondence appearing first, followed by chronologically arranged folders of correspondence on particular topics or with individuals, and then mailing lists. Additional material received on floppy disk will be reformatted at some future date for inclusion in this series.

Series VI, FINANCIAL, 1943, 1971-2004 (#22.6-32.1, 49FB.1, 51F+B.1-52F+B.7, 54OB.1-54OB.9), includes account books; materials compiled for audits; cancelled checks, check registers, and other banking records; budget material; income and expense spreadsheets; payroll books; and tax records. The series is arranged alphabetically by subject and then chronologically.

Series VII, RESERVATIONS, 1948-2001 (#32.2-43.9), includes room rates and rules for conduct in Lodge bedrooms and dining rooms, reservation forms completed by lodgers, and guest logs compiled by Rockport staff. The bulk of the reservation forms and logs are arranged in alphabetical groups, which are listed chronologically, followed by other reservation records, including reservations by week and group reservations.

Series VIII, PROGRAMS, EVENTS, AND CLUBS, 1929-1938, 1966-2004 (#43.10-45.1, 52F+B.8, PD.2), includes information on Rockport Lodge's Outing Club and other groups, as well as reunions, anniversary celebrations, open houses, raffles, auctions, and other events organized by the Lodge. Program planning and material on proposed programs, such as concerts, is also included here, as well as songbooks and reports on recreation activities. The series is arranged chronologically.

Series IX, PUBLICITY, 1916-2002 (scattered) (#45.2-47.2), includes brochures, flyers, press releases, and advertisements placed by Rockport Lodge. The brochures document the evolving activities available at the Lodge over the years. Correspondence with publicists, contact lists, and material on brochure and flyer design are also included here. The series is arranged with the Rockport Lodge flyers, brochures, press releases, and advertisements, followed by an alphabetical arrangement.

Series X, SCRAPBOOKS, 1935-1956 (#47.3-47.22, 49FB.2-50FB.10, 52F+B.9-53F+B.6, 54OB.10, PD.3-PD.15), provides a vivid look at life at Rockport Lodge from the 1930s to the 1950s. The books contain poems and notes written by lodgers to commemorate their stays. Drawings, photographs (many with explanatory captions), program announcements, and clippings are also included. The series is arranged chronologically.

Series XI, PHOTOGRAPHS, VIDEOTAPES, AND OVERSIZED, 1925-1992 (#PD.16-PD.28, Vt-171.1 - Vt-171.2, 49FB.1-50FB.11, 51F+B.1-53F+B.8, 54OB.1-54OB.8, SD.1-SD.2), includes three subseries.

Subseries A, Photographs, 1925-1966, 1985 (#PD.16-PD.28), consists of photographs of lodgers engaged in various activities, including hiking, picnicking, and performing theatrical skits, as well as some photographs of the Lodge itself. One album is devoted to a boat trip lodgers took from Gloucester, Massachusetts to Rockland, Maine in 1938, while others document day-to-day activities at the Lodge. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries B, Videotapes, 1980-1992 (#Vt-171.1 - Vt-171.2), consists of two videotapes (one with several different events in 1980 and 1985) of concerts and stage productions.

Subseries C, Oversized, 1939-1954, 1976-1990 (#49FB.1-50FB.11, 51F+B.1-53F+B.8, 54OB.1-54OB.8, SD.1-SD.2), serves as the shelf list for oversized items listed elsewhere in the collection.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square bra ckets [*].


A vacation house for working women of low and moderate income, Rockport Lodge began in 1906 with the purchase of a house and property by the Massachusetts Association of Women Workers. The Lodge opened the following year, offering a week's vacation to twenty club members for four dollars each, and soon expanded, with an annex added in the 1920s, and additional improvements in subsequent years. The Lodge provided a variety of activities for its guests, including tennis, hiking, stunt nights, workshops (ranging from quilt-making and painting to money management), and concerts. After earlier affiliations with the Massachusetts League of Women Workers, and the Massachusetts League of Girls' Clubs, the Lodge became affiliated with the Women's Educational and Industrial Union (Boston, Massachusetts) in 1946. In 1976, believing that the Lodge was no longer performing a necessary function, the Union attempted to close it; this resulted in considerable protest by lodgers, legal action, and, ultimately, the establishment of a new advisory committee overseeing the Lodge. Further legal action resulted following the committee's attempt to close the Lodge for the summer of 1989. After several years of financial difficulties, the Lodge closed in 2002, and the following year the property was donated to Wellspring House, a local non-profit organization serving the needs of women with limited resources. Wellspring intended to build low-income housing on the site, but found this project economically infeasible, and in 2007 put the property on the market.


The collection is arranged in eleven series:

  1. Series I. History and organization, 1906-2007 (#1.1-5.12, 55.1-55.3)
  2. ___Subseries A. History, 1906-2007 (#1.1-1.9)
  3. ___Subseries B. Minutes and related, 1955-2003 (#1.10-5.12, 55.1-55.3)
  4. Series II. House administration, 1966-2002, (#6.1-10.4)
  5. ___Subseries A. House operation, 1966-2002, (#6.1-8.3)
  6. ___Subseries B. Personnel, 1977-2000 (#8.4-8.11)
  7. ___Subseries C. Insurance, 1976-1995 (#8.12-10.4)
  8. Series III. Legal, 1971-2004 (#10.5-12.1, 55.4)
  9. Series IV. Fundraising, 1921-2004 (#12.2-15.7, 55.5-55.6, 48CB)
  10. ___Subseries A. Grants, 1981-1999 (#12.2-13.18)
  11. ___Subseries B. General, 1921-2004 (#13.19-15.7, 55.5-55.6, 48CB)
  12. Series V. Correspondence, 1930-2006 (#15.8-22.5, PD.1)
  13. Series VI. Financial, 1943, 1971-2004 (#22.6-32.1, 49FB.1, 51F+B.1-52F+B.7, 54OB.1-54OB.9)
  14. Series VII. Reservations, 1948-2001 (#32.2-43.9)
  15. Series VIII. Programs, events, and clubs, 1929-1938, 1966-2004 (#43.10-45.1, 52F+B.8, PD.2)
  16. Series IX. Publicity, 1916-2002 (scattered) (#45.2-47.2)
  17. Series X. Scrapbooks, 1935-1956 (#47.3-47.22, 49FB.2-50FB.10, 52F+B.9-53F+B.6, 54OB.10, PD.3-PD.15)
  18. Series XI. Photographs, videotapes, and oversized, 1925-1992 (#PD.16-PD.28, Vt-171.1 - Vt-171.2, 49FB.1-50FB.11, 51F+B.1-53F+B.8, 54OB.1-54OB.8, SD.1-SD.2)
  19. ___Subseries A. Photographs, 1925-1966, 1985 (#PD.16-PD.28)
  20. ___Subseries B. Videotapes, 1980-1992 (#Vt-171.1 - Vt-171.2)
  21. ___Subseries C. Oversized, 1939-1954, 1976-1990 (#49FB.1-50FB.11, 51F+B.1-53F+B.8, 54OB.1-54OB.11, SD.1-SD.2)

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2007-M26, 2007-M93, 2007-M125, 2011-M224

The records of Rockport Lodge were given to the Schlesinger Library by Wellspring House, Inc., via Winifred Schwoyer in February 2007, with additional donations by Deborah Theodore in May and July 2007 and David Wise in November 2011.

Processing Information

Processed: May 2010

By: Susan Earle

Updated: March 2012

By: Susan Earle

Rockport Lodge (Rockport, Mass.). Records of the Rockport Lodge, 1906-2007 (inclusive), 1952-1995 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the generosity of Clara Schiffer.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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