Betsy Shure Gross

b. 1940

Betsy Shure Gross’s love of nature and open spaces led her to restore a local treasure: the last surviving linear park designed by Frederick Law Olmstead. Shure Gross began her career in nature conservancy by helping restore Edgewood Park, which she had loved as a child growing up in New Haven. When Shure Gross and her husband relocated to Brookline, Massachusetts, she turned her energies to the Emerald Necklace, a chain of parks and waterways from Boston Common to Franklin Park, organizing residents and city government to take responsibility for restoring it. She helped found the National Association for Olmsted Parks, coordinating a national conference that brought together environmental activists and historic preservation professionals. Their joint efforts resulted in a massive restoration program in Massachusetts. Shure Gross also helped pass the Community Preservation Act of 2000, which helps communities protect open space, historic sites, and affordable housing. Betsy Shure Gross’s was honored at the 2001 Women Who Dared event in Boston.

Scope and Content Note

Betsy shares stories about her childhood in New Haven, Connecticut, her immediate family, her familial roots, and their connection to Judaism. She traces her involvement in community restoration and environmental justice issues, including her work with the National Association for Olmsted Parks, the Urban Heritage State Park Program, and Historic Massachusetts. Betsy explains how her activism work goes hand in hand with her identity as a woman. Finally, she says what she finds to be her most valuable contributions and how her community restoration and environmental work have affected others.


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How to cite this page

Oral History of Betsy Shure Gross. Interviewed by Judith Rosenbaum. 31 July 2001. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on May 20, 2024) <>.

Oral History of Betsy Shure Gross by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at