[This report of the women's role in the Concord, Massachusetts centennial celebration is by Louisa May Alcott. It originally appeared in The Women's Journal of May 1, 1875 with the subtitle, "Unofficial Incidents Overlooked by the Reporters." We offer it in celebration of the American Bicentennial.]
Being frequently asked "what part women took in the Concord centennial celebration?" I give herewith a brief account of our share on that occasion.
We had no place in the procession, but such women as wished to hear the oration were directed to meet in the Town Hall at half-past nine, and wait there until certain persons, detailed for the service, should come to lead them to the tent, where a limited number of seats had been reserved for the weaker vessels.
This seemed a sensible plan, and as a large proportion of ladies chose the intellectual part of the feast, the hall was filled with a goodly crowd at the appointed hour. No one seemed to know what to do except wait, and that we did with the patience born of long practice. But it was very trying to the women of Concord to see invited guests wandering forlornly about or sitting in chilly corners, meekly wondering why the hospitalities of the town were not extended to them as well as to their "men folks" who were absorbed into the pageant in one way or another.