The Swan Boats in the Boston Public Garden have been the setting for The Women’s Suffrage Celebration Coalition (formerly Committee) program for Women’s Equality Day, August 26 for the past several years. The giant swans wear replica “Votes for Women” sashes, as do many of the speakers and attendees.
Why the Swan Boats?
In 2011, the City of Boston, the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail, and the WSCC joined together for the first Swan Boats event. Celebrations of Women’s Equality Day at the Swan Boats continued on August 26 of 2012, 2013, and 2014.
The story of Swan Boats early owner Julia Paget is fitting for Women’s Equality Day. Julia ran the family business from 1878 through the early 1900’s. Because she was a woman, she was required for many years to gather signatures from local business owners in the Back Bay to provide testimony to her ability to run her business.
Her husband Robert conceived of and built the first swan boat, but lived only one year after he launched the first boat in 1877. He died a year later at the age of 42 and his wife Julia, a young widow with four children, assumed full management of the new enterprise.
Today, the fourth generation of the Paget family, Lyn Paget and her cousin Phil Paget, continues to operate this Boston landmark.