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Lowell Stories: Women's History

Florence Luscomb (1887 – 1985)

 Photograph of Florence Luscomb

Florence Luscomb, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University

Florence Luscomb (1887-1985) was born in Lowell, daughter of Otis Luscomb and Hannah Skinner Knox. Her father was an unsuccessful artist. Her mother was a dedicated suffragist and women's rights activist. When Luscomb was a young child, her parents separated and she moved with her mother to Boston. As a child in Boston, she went with her mother to women's suffrage events, seeing Susan B. Anthony at Boston Horticultural Hall in 1892. She became an ardent suffragist, starting by selling a pro-suffrage newspaper on the streets.

She was one of the first ten women to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in architecture. Luscomb became a partner in an early woman-owned architectural firm before work in the field became scarce during World War I. She then dedicated herself fully to activism in the women's suffrage movement, becoming a prominent leader of the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association.