about john

John Simmons (1796-1870) came from Little Compton, RI to Boston 200 years ago; he trained as a tailor thirty years before the sewing machine was invented. An energetic businessman, he capitalized on the emerging early industrial market of customers seeking new city style clothing and made a fortune as an early manufacturer of “ready-to-wear”. A man of public success and private sorrow, Simmons became a large investor in downtown Boston real estate. In 1870, when no college in New England would admit women, he made a radical bequest: the bulk of his estate would be awarded to found a women’s college so that its graduates could gain an independent livelihood.


measure of a man

(Click the first image to enlarge.)

Artwork by Eileen Kenneally of Kenneally Creative