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Campers at Camp Munasaka

years, and defended women in their struggle for better working conditions.  The manufacturers looked upon this as a threat to their interests and considered the YWCA a troublemaker.  The International Institute, as an arm of the YWCA, found that without the funding and cooperation of the manufacturers, their work was going to suffer.   Also, because the mission of the Institute had broadened to include men, the International Institute became an independent organization in 1935.

     As an independent agency, the International Institute continued to serve the immigrant population of Lowell as it had in the past.  It became the leader in promoting ethnic pride with cooking demonstrations in the 1940s and 1950s, and international folk festivals in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.  These years also brought to Lowell refugees, war brides, displaced persons and relatives of those already residing in the United States.  With each situation, the International Institute acted to assist immigrants with their problems.

     Today, the International Institute remains an important part of an immigrant's life.  In 
addition to translating documents and providing social service referrals, for many it is the first 
step in becoming an American citizen.  Throughout its 75 years the International Institute has never lost touch with its original mission: to be a friend to a stranger in this country.  And, if each person in Lowell who was affected by the Institute could be counted, it would fill - a city.

Exhibit Staff

Martha Monazynski Welch, Project Director
Daniel W. Gagnon, Researcher
John A. Hadley, Exhibit Designer
Jeannine D. Tardiff, Exhibit Consultant


International Institute of Lowell
Board and Staff:
Dr. Mario Aste, President
Lydia Mattei, Executive Director
Members of the Special Events Committee

Eartha Dengler
Kelly Fellner
Gretchen Sanders Joy
Guy Lefebvre
Martha Mayo
Juliet Mofford
Martha Norkunas
Jeanine Whitcomb
Representative John E Cox and Staff
Congressman Martin Meehan and Staff

Immigrant City Archives
Lowell Historic Preservation Commission
The Lowell Museum
Lowell Museum Cultural Fund
Lowell National Historical Park
Lowell Office of Cultural Affairs
The U.S. Department of Justice:
Immigration and Naturalization Service
University of Massachusetts Lowell Center
for Lowell History 

International Institute

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