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Helen Tufts Bailie papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00009

Scope and Contents

The Helen Tufts Bailie Papers consists of two linear feet of journals and other writings; correspondence; miscellaneous clippings, pamphlets and publications. The material documents Helen's life from the time she began her journal in 1886 at age twelve until 1959, when she wrote her last entry at the age of seventy-five.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1864 - 1959


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Helen Matilda Tufts was born in Newark, New Jersey, January 9, 1874. The family moved to Massachusetts in 1875 and Helen graduated from Cotting High School in Lexington, Massachusetts, in 1892. She worked in a printing office where she learned to set type, as a proofreader at the Riverside Press, and did secretarial work at Houghton Mifflin Company in Boston.

In April 1895 Helen met labor organizer, anarchist and writer Helena Born, who became a close and influential friend. It was through Helena's influence that Helen became interested in vegetarianism, socialism, communism, anarchism, dress reform, and Walt Whitman. It was also through Helena that she met William Bailie, who lived in and ran a cooperative vegetarian restaurant with her. In January 1901, Helena Born was diagnosed with cancer of the uterus and died later that month. Helen Tufts and William Bailie lived together from the fall of 1901 and were legally married in October 1908. William Bailie owned and operated a basketweaving business until his retirement in 1946. Their daughter, Helena Isabel was born in 1914. A son Terrill (nicknamed Sonny), born in 1916, died of spinal meningitis at the age of three.

Helen Tufts Bailie joined the Anne Adams Tufts chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in 1915. In 1927 she discovered that the society's officers maintained lists of "doubtful speakers," which included individuals and organizations such as Mary Woolley, Jane Addams, William Allen White, The National Federation of Women's Clubs, and the American Peace Society. After investigating the blacklists, Bailie made them public in February 1928. In March she wrote a pamphlet entitled "Our Threatened Heritage" protesting the blacklist. The pamphlet was signed by fifteen other DAR members (known as the "Committee on Protest") and distributed nationally. At the annual DAR Congress in Washington, DC, Helen and others continued to press for an explanation of the lists. Helen was charged with disturbing the harmony of the DAR and injuring its reputation, and after a hearing was held to consider the charges, she was promptly expelled. At the following year's DAR Congress, she unsuccessfully appealed for reinstatement. Bailie continued to be active in various causes, including a letter writing campaign to legalize birth control and another in 1935 against legislation requiring Massachusetts teachers to take an oath affirming the United States and state constitutions.

Helen and William Bailie moved to Nantucket in 1947. With Helen's failing eyesight and William's Alzheimer-like symptoms increasing, they moved to Yellow Springs, Ohio, in 1954 to live with their daughter Helena and her husband, Walter Jolly. Helen's book Darling Daughter: A Satirical Novel about the DAR blacklists and the "Red Scare" was published in 1956.

William Bailie died at a nursing home in May 1957. Helen Tufts Bailie moved to Miami, Florida, in 1958, and later to Ft. Lauderdale. She died in 1962. Helen Tufts Bailie Papers


4.313 linear feet (9 containers)

Language of Materials



Social reformer and radical. Bailie's extensive journals document her experimentation with anarchism, vegetarianism, companionate marriage and daily life during two World Wars. The collection also documents the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) blacklisting controversies; the ''Red Scare'' of the 1920s; the fight to repeal the Teacher's Loyalty Oath in Massachusetts; and the W.B. Shearer controversy on naval disarmament. Individuals represented in the collection include DAR president, Grace Brosseau; Carrie Chapman Catt; Elaine Goodale Eastman; Florence Luscomb; professor Jeannette Marks; and ACLU secretary Lucille B. Milner. Writings include copies of a novel, a short story, and a play.


This collection is organized into three series:

  1. I. Biographical Material
  2. II. Professional Activities
  3. III. Speeches and Writings


This collection has been added to over time in multiple "accessions." An accession is a group of materials received from the same source at approximately the same time.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Helen Tufts Bailie was introduced to the Sophia Smith Collection by donor, Elaine Goodale Eastman. Bailie donated her papers in 1949 and 1957. The initial donation was transferred from the Labadie Collection at the University of Michigan Library.

In 1949 Eastman donated additional letters related to the local Northampton Chapter's involvement in the DAR controversy. Additional donations were made in 2008 by Christine A. Orlandi and Judy A. Hinds.

Related Material

Additional papers are located at the Tamiment Library, New York, New York.

Processing Information

Processed by Susan Boone, 2001.

Processing Information

Between September 2022 and February 2023, Smith College Special Collections renumbered many boxes to eliminate duplicate numbers within collections in order to improve researcher experience. The following changes were made in this collection: Accession 2008-S-0018, Boxes 1-3 renumbered as Boxes 6-8

Helen Tufts Bailie papers
Finding Aid
Susan Boone
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2005-09-23: mnsss130 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:11-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2021-07-01: Content description added from accession inventories
  • 2022-03-03: Integrated description of oversized materials

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063