Helen Tufts Bailie Papers
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