Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: A/H6521

Papers of Elizabeth McShane Hilles, 1909-1989


Biographical information and photographs and a diary documenting Elizabeth McShane Hilles's suffrage activities.


  • Creation: 1909-1989

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Elizabeth McShane Hilles is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


2 folders

The papers of Elizabeth McShane Hilles contain reproductions of high school and Vassar photographs as well as pages from the Vassarion, 1909-1913; photographs of Hilles's Pennsylvania suffrage campaign in 1915; a typed copy of her diary kept while in jail, November 1917; typed notes on her life, 1971; and an excerpt from Women Win the Vote by Betsy Covington Smith, 1989.


Suffragist Elizabeth McShane Hilles, daughter of Anna Dixon Vail and William McShane, was born November 9, 1891, on a farm in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Uniontown (Pennsylvania) High School and from Vassar College in 1913. After teaching in Indianapolis, Indiana, Hilles joined the campaign for women's suffrage, traveling with college classmate Louise Hall throughout Pennsylvania during the summer of 1915 with a replica of the Liberty Bell mounted on a truck. She later moved to Philadelphia, working as an assistant to Mary H. Ingham, a board member of the Equal Franchise Society. Hilles joined the Congressional Union and was jailed in 1917 for picketing the White House. In 1924 she married William Hilles; they had two daughters before divorcing in 1938. Hilles taught high school in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania, and was active in several organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, the League of Women Voters, and the Bucks County Homemaker Service. She died August 13, 1976.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2006-M150

The papers of Elizabeth McShane Hilles were given to the Schlesinger Library by her daughter, Margaret H. Meiklejohn, in 2006.

Processing Information

Processed: August 2006

By: Anne Engelhart

Updated with additional description: June 2020

By: Johanna Carll

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Jeannette Ward Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA