By Beth Brosnan
As the daughter of a career military officer, Rep. Niki Tsongas moved frequently as a child, hopscotching between military bases in the U.S., Germany and Japan. In fact, she has called Lowell — the city where she settled, raised her family and represented in Congress from 2007 to 2019 — “the only hometown I’ve ever known.”
Now her congressional papers will have a permanent home at UMass Lowell, where they’ll join the extensive archives of her late husband, Paul Tsongas, the former congressman, senator and presidential candidate. Rep. Tsongas has donated both her papers and digital archives to UML, where they are being processed and preserved by the Center for Lowell History.
When she was elected, Tsongas became the first Massachusetts woman to serve in Congress in 25 years. Her archives will provide a valuable record of her congressional career, including her role as a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, where she championed the prevention of sexual assault in the military, authored legislation to provide modern resources to the armed forces and worked to support veterans transitioning to civilian life.
The archives also include her correspondence, speeches, campaign materials, photographs and various artifacts. Her official social media archive is already available online, and the balance of the archives will become available in 2021.
Tsongas recently made a second significant gift to UML: She endowed a new scholarship that will benefit veterans, with a preference for students from Essex, Middlesex or Worcester counties or who have attended Middlesex Community College.
“Niki and Paul have always been committed to helping the people of the Commonwealth and the country,” says Chancellor Jacquie Moloney. “Her generous donations to UMass Lowell will have long-lasting benefits that extend beyond the boundaries of our campus.”