Biographical Database of Militant Woman Suffragists, 1913-1920
Biography of Helena Hill Weed, 1875-1958
By Kevyn Rodriguez, Undergraduate Student, Central Connecticut State University
Suffragist, social justice advocate
Helena Hill (later Weed) was born in Norwalk, Connecticut on August 16, 1875. Her father was Congressman Ebenezer J Hill of Connecticut and Mary E Mossman of Amherst, Massachusetts. Helena was the third of four children in the marriage. She married Walter Harvey Weed in South Norwalk in May 1896. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1914,
Helena Hill graduated from Vassar College in 1896 and obtained a master's degree in economy and geology at the University of Montana School of Mines. Mrs. Weed served as vice-president of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). She was a founder of the National Women's Press Club and prominent member of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage.
In order to defend the rights of women, she was arrested in July 4, 1917 and served a three-day jail sentence because she was picketing the White House with a suffragist banner which expressed, "Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed." In January 1918, she was arrested for applauding in court and sentenced to 24 hours in prison, and again in August 1918 she was arrested for participation in the Lafayette Square meeting, and sentenced to 15 days.
Mrs. Weed fought for the right for women to vote and also worked for such issues as child labor, world peace, and the Equal Rights Amendment. In 1927 she ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Norwalk. After her efforts to seek equality in the United States, Mrs. Weed became interested in achieving equality and social justice in Haiti after visiting the country with her husband Walter Harvey Weed. She returned to Haiti in 1930 accompanied by the Haitian Commission to the island. After returning from Haiti, her efforts to combat government injustices domestically continued and in 1941 she was a member of the "fearless forty" women who fought for what was called the "battle of Du Pont Circle" in Washington, D.C. Forty women held a strike in front of their apartment building where the government wanted to tear down in order to create office space for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other federal agencies.
Her ceaseless efforts to achieve social, economic and gender equality ended upon her death on Sunday April, 20, 1958 in San Jacinto, California at 83.
Helena Hill Weed's contributions to the women's suffrage movement and her political career are reported in the newspapers The New York Times, and Boston Daily Globe. Biographical information can be found through the U.S. Census and Ancestry.com. Weed's death is reported in "Mrs. Weed dies, Active in Politics, Hartford Courant, 26 April 1958, and "Helena H. Weed, A Suffragist, 83" New York Times, 26 April 1958. "Municipal Housekeeping Job Sought by Mrs. Weed," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sept. 18, 1927, p. 22.