Gloria Cordes Larson Picks Her Best Bostonians of All Time

The Bentley University president shares her top picks, from Susan B. Anthony to Doris Kearns Goodwin.

We’re asking prominent locals who they think are the Best Bostonians of all time. Below, Gloria Cordes Larson shares her picks. Play along by voting in our online game.

Gloria Cordes Larson

Gloria Cordes Larson / Photograph by David Yellen for “Boston’s 50 Most Powerful People

Abigail Adams

“One of the first biographies I read as a young girl featured this former First Lady. She turned convention on its head when it came to supporting education and greater rights for women—so much so that President John Adams’ rivals referred to her as ‘Mrs. President.’ Abigail’s marriage was one of equals, and her husband, children, and the country were better for it.”

Susan B. Anthony

“How could you not admire a woman who fought to end slavery as a young woman and made it her life’s work to give women the right to vote? While it saddens me that she did not live to see the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, she surely knew it would happen.”

Margaret Marshall

“A role model for me and so many others, she was appointed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, by Governor Bill Weld, and then elevated to chief justice by Governor Paul Cellucci. Born in South Africa where she worked to end Apartheid, Margie is a true intellectual who happens to have an equally large heart.”

Doris Kearns Goodwin

“Referred to as ‘America’s historian-in-chief,’ her always-engaging, fact-filled biographies range from Teddy Roosevelt to the Fitzgeralds and Kennedys to Lyndon Johnson. My favorite is Team of Rivals, the story of Abraham Lincoln’s brilliant efforts to forge a bi-partisan cabinet of his political rivals. I could listen to Doris for hours as she connects US political history to current politics.”

Kip Tiernan

“Kip is my hero! She founded Rosie’s Place more than 40 years ago to give homeless women shelter after seeing them disguise themselves to get into all-male facilities. Former Massachusetts Lt. Governor Evelyn Murphy introduced me to Kip in the 1990’s and she remains a source of personal inspiration today.”


Whom would you choose? Help us pick the Best Bostonians of all time.