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Wistariahurst Museum, Sisters for Social Change

March 14 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

On Wednesday March 14, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm, Wistariahurst will host Sisters for Social Change: Belle and Katharine Skinner and the Creation of the Skinner Coffee House. Join scholar and Skinner descendant Sarah S. Kilborne, author of American Phoenix, as she illuminates the story of the Skinner Coffee House.

Inspired by their father’s legacy, Belle and Katharine Skinner used their wealth and social standing to improve the lives of working women in Holyoke, creating a settlement house that provided recreation and development for generations of girls and women. Established in 1902 and originally used by women employed at the William Skinner & Sons Silk Mill for educational, social, and service activities, the Skinner Coffee House served the Holyoke Community for over 100 years. The Coffee House was one of many institutions established throughout the country around the turn of the 20th century to serve the needs of recent immigrants who worked in mills and factories.

This program is open to all. Donations at the door are welcomed and help keep historical programming at Wistariahurst free and accessible.

Sarah S. Kilborne is an author, equal rights activist and performer. Her most recent book, American Phoenix (Simon & Schuster, 2012), was the biography of silk industrialist William Skinner, her great-great grandfather, and the father of Belle and Katharine Skinner. She writes for several online publications including Slate, The Huffington Post, Curve Magazine and the Advocate. She is also the writer and creator of The Lavender Blues, a new musical theater piece which tells the story of queer music before World War II and which she currently performs around the country.


March 14
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Wistariahurst Museum
238 Cabot Street
Holyoke, MA 01040
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(413) 322 5660