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Mon, 12.16.1844

Helen Villard, Activist, and Suffragist born

Helen Villard

*Helen Villard was born on this date in 1844.  She was a white-American women's suffrage campaigner, pacifist, and racial activist.  

Born in Boston, MA., Helen Frances Garrison, known to family and friends as "Fanny," was the only surviving daughter of five sons and two daughters born to Helen Eliza Benson and William Lloyd Garrison. Her brother, William Lloyd Garrison Jr., was a prominent advocate of the single tax, free trade, women's suffrage, and the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Another brother, Wendell Phillips Garrison, was literary editor of The Nation from 1865 to 1906. Her other two brothers were George Thompson Garrison and Francis Jackson Garrison, who wrote a biography of their father and was named after abolitionist Francis Jackson. 

In January 1866, she married Henry Villard, whom she had met during the American Civil War when he was a war correspondent. He later became the President of the Northern Pacific Railway. While raising her children, she led a life fairly typical life of a woman in a traditional upper-class marriage. After her children were grown and her husband died in 1900, Villard became more active in peace groups and women's rights.  She joined the American Woman Suffrage Association with Anna Shaw and Carrie Chapman Catt.  Along with her son Oswald Garrison Villard, she was a co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  

In 1914, she marched against the First World War in New York City.  After winning suffrage, she founded the Women's Peace Society on September 12, 1919. She was a delegate to The Hague in 1907 and in 1921, a fraternal delegate to the conference of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.   Helen 'Fanny' Garrison Villard, the daughter of a publisher and abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and wife of railroad tycoon Henry Villard, died on July 5, 1928, aged 83, at her home in Dobbs Ferry, New York.   

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