Actions
Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Douglasses in:
 • Mount Hope Cemetery
 • Rochester
 • Monroe County
 • New York
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Discussion Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Helen Pitts Douglass
Birth: 1838
Honeoye
Ontario County
New York, USA
Death: 1903
District Of Columbia, USA

Suffragist, Abolitionist. Founder of the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association. Born in Honeoye, NY, Helen was the daughter of Gideon Pitts, Jr. and Jane Wells. She attended school at the Genesee Wesleyan Seminary in Lima, NY and graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1859. She taught for several years at the Hampton Institute in Virginia until controversy and bad health forced her to return home. She moved to Washington, DC in 1882, where she co-edited the feminist publication "The Alpha" with Caroline Winslow. She was hired by Frederick Douglass, who had recently been appointed Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia, to be his clerk. After Douglass' first wife Anna died in 1882, it was Helen that brought new meaning to the depressed Douglass' life. They were married in 1884. The marriage was surrounded by controversy; Helen Pitts was not only white, but also 20 years younger than her husband. Despite the fact that her family were ardent abolitionists and colleagues of Douglass, they were outraged at the marriage and refused to speak to Helen. Douglass' children also scorned the marriage. Helen defended herself saying, "Love came to me, and I was not afraid to marry the man I loved because of his color." Douglass said ""This proves I am impartial. My first wife was the color of my mother and the second, the color of my father." Their happy marriage lasted for 11 years. After Douglass' death in 1895, Helen asked for this children's support in turning their home, Cedar Hills, into a memorial. They declined, wishing to sell the home and divide the proceeds. Helen borrowed money and bought the house, dedicating herself to the establishment of the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association. Up until the last year of her life, Helen toured the country, lecturing and tirelessly raising money for the Association. Helen Pitts Douglas died at the age of 65, and her wish was to be buried on the grounds of Cedar Hill. Unfortunately laws prevented this. There was no funeral service, and she was quietly buried beside her husband in Rochester. (bio by: Kristen Conrad) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Gideon Pitts (____ - 1888)
  Jane Wells Pitts (1811 - 1892)
 
 Spouse:
  Frederick Douglass (1818 - 1895)*
 
 Sibling:
  Helen Pitts Douglass (1838 - 1903)
  Gideon W. Pitts (1851 - 1937)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Mount Hope Cemetery
Rochester
Monroe County
New York, USA
Plot: Section T Lot 26
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: May 02, 2003
Find A Grave Memorial# 7407772
Helen <i>Pitts</i> Douglass
Added by: Mount Hope NY
 
Helen <i>Pitts</i> Douglass
Added by: Ryan David Schweitzer
 
Helen <i>Pitts</i> Douglass
Added by: Curtis Jackson
 
There are 3 more photos not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

Remembering you and your beloved husband, Frederick today, Helen...
- Mary
 Added: Nov. 14, 2014

- Trisha W.
 Added: Aug. 20, 2013
Blessings and peace always.
- Ghost Town Gal
 Added: Jul. 2, 2013
There are 54 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
Do you have a photo to add? Click here
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (3.9 after 33 votes)
 

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service