About the BCAE

The Boston Center for Adult Education was founded in 1933 by Dorothy Hewitt, who envisioned a place where “small groups of men and women would meet together in living room settings to learn, discuss, and create for the sheer pleasure of doing so.”

Until March 2009, most BCAE classes were held in the historic Gamble Mansion at 5 Commonwealth Avenue. Built in 1904, the mansion was the home of Mr. And Mrs. Walter Baylies and their six children until 1936. The opulent Louis XV style ballroom was built for Charlotte Baylies’s 16th birthday. In 1941, the building was purchased by the BCAE. In 2007 the building was sold to a private buyer, and the BCAE was able to renovate a second property at 122 Arlington Street, which is where most of its classes and administrative offices currently reside.

Throughout its history, the BCAE has remained responsive to the demands of a diverse community, as well as to the evolving demands of the individual. Whether serving as a site for volunteer wartime efforts in the 1940s, a haven for social policy debate in the 1960s, or a resource for personal and professional growth as one navigates through the new millennium, the BCAE meets the challenges of a thriving urban community.

Our Mission

The Boston Center for Adult Education seeks to provide educational opportunities for adults that foster personal and professional development, enhance a sense of community, and encourage social responsibility. In pursuit of these goals, the BCAE:

  • Offers classes and programs responsive to adults’ emerging needs;
  • Foster cross-cultural understanding through classes, collaborations, and other outreach efforts;
  • Provides access to information and ideas that help create an enlightened and involved citizenry;
  • Enlists the support of well-qualified leaders, staff, and volunteers who share our mission; and,
  • Offers attractive, accessible facilities, appropriate for learning and sharing ideas as a low-cost alternative to other educational programs so as to merit the continuing respect, cooperation, and support of Boston’s educational and neighborhood communities.
BCAE • 122 Arlington St., Boston, MA 02116 • 617-267-4430 © 2016 Boston Center for Adult Education