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Muriel S. Snowden

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Title: Muriel S. Snowden  
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Subject: Radcliffe College, MacArthur Fellows Program, Freedom House (Roxbury, Massachusetts)
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Muriel S. Snowden

Muriel Sutherland Snowden (1916–1988) was the founder and co-director of Freedom House, a community improvement center in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Together with her husband, Otto P. Snowden, she is a major figure in Boston history and activism.[1][2]


She was raised in Glen Ridge, New Jersey She was the valedictorian of her high school and graduated in 1934.[3] She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1938. In giving her an alumnae achievement award in 1964, Radcliffe College said of Snowden, "Wise promoter of human happiness for the betterment of mankind, compassionate spirit where human frailties cause human distress, she has long devoted herself to the alleviation of those social ills which have too long crippled mankind's progress."[4] She then worked as a volunteer for a settlement house in Newark and an investigator for the Essex Welfare Board. She also studied at the New York School of Social Work from 1943-1945 and funded her education with the Urban League Fellowship. She was also the executive director of the Cambridge Civic Unity Committee from 1948 to 1950.[3]

She married Otto P. Snowden in 1944, and moved to Boston; they had a daughter Gail Snowden.

Freedom House was founded in 1949; they bought a building on Crawford Street, in 1952. Speaking on Freedom House, Snowden stated "The work of an organization like ours is never done." Snowden felt a deep connection to her and said "We decided long ago we weren't going anywhere, and we were going to stay here," Mrs. Snowden once said. "This is a commitment. You have a direction, a feeling about where you're going."[3] Her daughter Gail, became chairman of the foundation's board.[1]

She was a director of National Shawmut Bank of Boston.[5] She was a trustee of Babson College, and University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Snowden passed away from cancer at the age of 72.[3]

The Snowden International School, near Copley Square, is named for her.[6][7] Her papers are held at Northeastern University.[8]



External links

  • Snowden International School
  • "Reminiscences of Muriel S. Snowden", Columbia University
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