Florence Bayard Hilles

Florence Bayard Hilles (1865–1954) was an American suffragist, one of the founders of the National Woman's Party.

Florence Bayard Hilles
F B Hilles152007v.jpg
Hilles, ca. 1916
Florence Bayard

1865 (1865)
Died1954 (aged 88–89)
Spouse(s)William S. Hilles


Florence Hilles was born in 1865, the daughter of Thomas Francis Bayard. She was a munitions worker in World War I, and assisted in the reconstruction effort that followed it.[1] After hearing Mabel Vernon speak, she joined the suffrage movement.[2] On a 1916 suffrage tour, she was the principal speaker, and in Seattle scattered flyers from a seaplane. In 1917, she was elected to the national board of the National Woman's party.[3] Though descended from a Democratic family, she often switched parties, sometimes supporting Democrats, other times campaigning against them. Hilles served as a Silent Sentinel, picketing the White House, leading 1,000 women in a "Grand Picket" on March 4, 1917. She was the chairwoman of the Delaware branch of the National Woman's Party, and jailed with Dora Lewis, sent to Occoquan Virginia Workhouse.[4]

In 1919, she was prominent at the "Watchfire demonstrations". An advocate of the Equal Rights Amendment, she was viewed as one of the most prominent supporters of the amendment.[5] From 1933-1936, she served as the National Chairman of the National Woman's Party. She married William S. Hilles, a lawyer.[6] The Sewall–Belmont House and Museum's library, the Florence Bayard Hilles Research Library (also the oldest Feminist library in the United States) was founded by her. Hilles died in 1954.[5]


  1. ^ "F[lorence] B[ayard] Hilles". The Library of Congress. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  2. ^ "Florence Bayard Hilles (1865 – 1954)". Turning Point Suffragist Memorial. Retrieved 2019-06-24.
  3. ^ "Florence Bayard Hilles | National Woman's Party". nationalwomansparty.org. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  4. ^ "Florence Bayard Hilles". Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  5. ^ a b "Florence Bayard Hilles | National Woman's Party". nationalwomansparty.org. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  6. ^ "Hilles, Florence Bayard, 1865-1954". nationalwomansparty.pastperfectonline.com. Retrieved 2017-11-12.