"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Florence Bayard Hilles

This portrait of Florence Bayard Hilles (1865-1954) by Betsy Graves Reyneau hangs in the Belmont-Paul National Historic Monument in Washington, DC.
"Florence Bayard Hilles, of Newcastle, Del., was the daughter of Thomas Bayard, American ambassador to Great Britain and secretary of state under President Grover Cleveland. She became involved in the suffrage movement after hearing Mabel Vernon speak. She realized that Vernon was saying what she believed in – yet she was doing nothing about it. They quickly became good friends. Hilles gave her time, her money and her car – the “Votes for Women Flyer” to the cause. She was chairman of the Delaware Branch of the National Women’s Party and member of the national executive committee. One of the “Silent Sentinels” who picketed the White House, she was arrested on July 13, 1917, and sentenced to 60 days in Occoquan Workhouse. She was pardoned by President Wilson after serving three days of her term. The library at the Sewall-Belmont House, is named after her." -- excerpted from Doris Stevens, Jailed for Freedom, 1920, by the NWP.
Betsy Graves painting seems to be based on this NWP Photo:

 Florence Bayard Hilles - NWP

Betsy Graves Reyneau was herself a NWP member.

 Betsy Graves

During WWI, Mrs. Hilles went to work in the press-room at Bethlehem  Steel.

Suffrage Leader is Shell Maker
  "Liberty Day" was celebrated in a most unusual and patriotic manner by Mrs. Florence Bayard Hilles, suffrage leader and daughter of the late Ambassador Thomas F. Bayard. Considering it a patriotic duty for Women physically fit to replace men for service in the Army and Navy and make America's part in the ward doubly effective, Mrs. Hilles began working on "Liberty Day" in, the press room of the shell loading department of the Bethlehem Steel Company at Newcastle. According to her statements she will continue her Liberty loan and suffrage campaigns in the evenings after eight-hour day is over. -- The Arizona Republican May 11, 1918.
The Seattle Star, May 21, 1918,  reports that she was temporarily laid off.
Mrs. Hilles Works in Munitions Plant

Mrs. Florence Bayard Hilles daughter of the former American ambassador to Great Britain, has lost her Job at the munitions plant. She has been laid off with the rest of the help.

"I had a week of It." she explained, "but we were all laid off because the material gave out. The girls average about $4 a day which is not much, considering the high cost of living.  I liked the work, but the end of the week found me with a cold and every bone and muscle in my, body aching. I shall go back to my Job as soon as we get the material."

Mrs. Hilles was one of the women who was sent to the work house for picketing the White House.

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