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Gannett, Kathleen : Papers, 1969-2001


9 cartons, 1 box of posters and banners, 1 box of photographs


Kathleen Gannett donated her papers to the University of Massachusetts Boston, Healey Library, Archives and Special Collections Department in 2002.


Kathleen (Kathy) Barbara Gannett was born in Boston, Massachusetts and grew up in the Columbia Point Housing Project, where she lived with her mother and sister on A.F.D.C.  She attended Cornell University, receiving her B.A. in 1972.  Although she would work as an activist for welfare rights, she would ultimately be far more involved with fair housing issues than welfare rights. Gannett moved to Washington, DC after graduation from Cornell, she moved back to Boston in 1977, where she lived until moving to Vieques, PR in 2001.

At Cornell, Gannett was involved with a local welfare rights organization, the Movement for a New Congress, voter registration drives, and also helped establish the Central New York PIRG.  After graduation she went to work with the DC PIRG, and continued to work for welfare rights and reform.  While living in DC, Gannett began to be involved with fair housing issues, both as a member of tenants unions and also as the Executive Director of the Citywide Housing Foundation. 

After returning to Boston, Gannett worked for several non-profit organizations, generally housing related.  By 1990 she had become adept at database management and construction, and Gannett went to work at Elderhostel.  After working at Elderhostel for nearly 6 years, Gannett began doing database development on a contract/consulting basis in both corporate and non-profit settings, until moving to Vieques.  Gannett moved to Vieques to protest the US Navy bombing.

While living in Boston, Gannett was generally involved with several different community organizations simultaneously, both as staff and as a member.  She also worked on the campaigns of several different Rainbow Coalition members.  Gannett’s longest running involvement was with the Lindsey Street Neighborhood Association (she lived on Lindsey Street from 1978 to 2001).

Scope and Content

This collection includes papers and publications related to Gannett’s involvement as an activist with a variety of different activist organizations, mostly focusing on fair housing issues. While the time period covered extends from her college days through her move to Vieques, PR in 2002, the bulk of the materials here are from the late 70’s through the early 80’s, with special emphasis on her involvement with Mel King’s 1983 mayoral campaign, as well as the campaigns of other Rainbow Coalition members.

The Gannett collection was originally in 17 boxes of assorted size, and included 2 boxes of monograph and serial publications, as well as additional publications interspersed with the papers.  The bulk of these publications related to housing in general and in Boston and Boston history.  There was no apparent order to the boxes, and different boxes often included materials from the same time period and from the same organizations.   Each box was given an arbitrary number, and the order within each box was maintained as the boxes were repacked.