Florence Bayard Hilles and Delaware's Activism
Thursday, March 15, 2018  6:00 PM
Delaware History Museum - Wilmington
2018 Contemporary History Series


Contemporary History_Activism

Florence Bayard Hilles_1916_Delaware Historical Society

Delaware has an activist history when it comes to securing women’s rights, with many notable women championing the cause. Among them was Florence Bayard Hilles, who was born into the most prominent family in Delaware politics in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She worked as an advocate for the People's Settlement, S.P.C.A., Children's Bureau, birth control, Foreign Policy Association, and the Wilmington Society of Fine Arts. She is best remembered however, for her work as a suffragist. Mrs. Hilles continued to be outspoken on political topics throughout her life, openly supporting Governor Alfred E. Smith in the 1928 presidential campaign because of his stand against religious bigotry in the country. She became an advocate of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, worked for the National Committee for Planned Parenthood, the World Woman's Party in the 1940 election, and served on the American Council for Equal Legal Status. The library at the headquarters of the National Woman's Party in Washington, D.C. is named in her honor.

Join the Delaware Historical Society as we explore Florence Bayard Hilles’ legacy of activism and discuss contemporary issues affecting women’s health, particularly in regards to reproduction. Dr. Anne Boylan, Professor Emerita of History at the University of Delaware, will provide a biographical sketch of Florence Bayard Hilles, while Dr. Ann Bell, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Sociology and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Delaware, will discuss race, class, and gender as it relates to reproduction, family, and health, including an evaluation of an initiative started by then-Governor Jack Markell to reduce unintended pregnancies.

This program is offered in collaboration with The Department of Women & Gender Studies at the University of Delaware.

Reservations requested - click here to reserve.

FREE PARKING is available courtesy of Colonial Parking on the corner of 6th and Shipley streets.




Delaware History Museum
504 N. Market Street


The Delaware History Museum (1940) was originally a Woolworth's Department Store. It has been transformed into the Delaware History Museum and the Jane and Littleton Mitchell Center for African American Heritage. It features permanent and rotating exhibitions, classrooms, and meeting space.

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The Delaware Historical Society is the statewide, non-profit organization that explores, preserves, shares, and promotes Delaware history, heritage, and culture to strengthen our community.