Helen Pitts Douglass: Reminiscences

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Helen Pitts Douglass

In the coming months, the Frederick Douglass family plot at Mount Hope Cemetery will have two new headstones—one for his wife, Anna Murray Douglass, and one for his ten-year old daughter Annie. For those who have already visited his grave and for those who have yet to do so, you might be wondering about the headstone in the plot for Helen Pitts Douglass. Who was she and how did she come to be buried next to him? Helen was born in Honeoye, New York, educated at Mount Holyoke College, and married Douglass less than two years after Anna’s death. In his article, Helen’s Monument, writer and historian, Michael J. Nighan, relates Helen’s story as a series of reminiscences as she navigates the contested will, control of his legacy, and controversial burial arrangements in the Douglass family plot. 

Helen Pitts Douglass
Illustration by Pierre Mornet.