Scope and Contents
Papers of Helen (Froelich) Holt, wife of West Virginia Senator Rush D. Holt, Sr. who later become involved with state and national politics. Contains a scrapbook of material documenting Holt's work with the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) regarding nursing home reform. Scrapbook includes newspaper clippings, photographs, pamphlets, programs, and other material (1960-1963). Also contains items regarding the National Park Seminary at Forest Glen, where Holt had taught at the National Park College for Women (2008-2013); schools attended by Holt, including an autograph book, scrapbook, and yearbook (1927-1932); a congressional directory (1938); and an album of photographs from Rush and Helen Holt's wedding (1941).
Box 1; Folder 1; FHA scrapbook items 1-25; 1960-1961
Box 1; Folder 2; FHA scrapbook items 26-52; 1960-1961
Box 1; Folder 3; FHA scrapbook items 53-75; 1960-1962
Box 1; Folder 4; FHA scrapbook items 76-100; 1962
Box 1; Folder 5; FHA scrapbook items 101-125; 1962-1963
Box 1; Folder 6; FHA scrapbook items 126-150; 1961-1963
Box 1; Folder 7; FHA scrapbook items 151-165; 1961-1963
Box 1; Folder 8; FHA scrapbook item 166; 1961
Box 1; Folder 9; FHA scrapbook items 167-172; 1961
Box 1; Folder 10; FHA scrapbook item 173; undated
Box 1; Folder 11; FHA scrapbook items 174-189; 1962-1963
Box 1; Folder 12; "Enchanted Forest Glen: The Endangered Legacy of National Park Seminary Historic District"; 2004
Box 1; Folder 13; Publications, DVD, and photocopy regarding National Park College for Women; 2008-2013
Box 1; Folder 14; Autograph book kept by Holt; 1927-1928
Box 2; Folder 1; "The Girl Graduate's Journal" scrapbook kept by Holt regarding Gridley High School, Gridley, Illinois (with original cardboard box); 1930
Box 2; Folder 2; "Stephensophia" yearbook of Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri; 1932
Box 2; Folder 3; Congressional Directory; 1938
Box 2; Folder 4; Photograph album of wedding of Rush and Helen Holt; 1941
Majority of material found within 1960-1963
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
No special access restriction applies.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. For more information, please contact the West Virginia and Regional History Center.
Biographical / Historical
Helen Louise Holt was born in Gridley, Illinois, in 1913, the daughter of William and Edna Froelich, a well respected farming family. William Froelich served several terms as mayor of Gridley. Helen graduated from high school in 1930; attended Stephens College, receiving an A.A. degree in 1932; and attended Northwestern University, earning a B.A. in 1934 and a M.S. in Biology in 1938. Later Helen started working toward a doctorate at University of Missouri and University of North Carolina. She was a science librarian and teaching assistant at Stephens College and taught Biology at National Park College near Washington D.C., 1938-1941. In 1940, Helen Froelich was introduced to the junior Senator from West Virginia, Rush Dew Holt by Senator Holt's sister, Jane, after the Senator saw Helen's picture in Life Magazine. The article refuted a letter written by a reader claiming female teachers were 'ugly' by publishing photographs of attractive, intelligent women educators. All the photographs were sent to the magazine by students, including Helen Froelich's. Senator Holt and Helen Froelich were married a year later.
The couple moved to West Virginia after Senator Holt lost his bid for renomination to retain his senate seat. Two children were born to the couple, Helen Jane Holt and Rush Dew Holt, Jr. During this period, Mrs. Holt described herself as a homemaker while Senator Holt worked on restoring his political career and running for office. Helen Holt was involved in the inner circle of her husband's campaigns and during his service in the West Virginia legislature. In 1955, Rush Dew Holt died of cancer, and Helen Holt was appointed by the governor to fulfill her late husband's term in the House of Delegates. In 1957, after the death of the Secretary of State, Governor Cecil Underwood appointed Helen Holt to the office of Secretary of State, making her the first woman to hold that position in West Virginia history. After losing to Joe F. Burdett for election to the office in 1958, Mrs. Holt continued to break the gender barrier: she was the first woman appointed assistant commissioner of public institutions in West Virginia, she was voted to serve as a delegate at large at the Republican Convention, and she was later the first woman to serve as a trustee on the Board of the National Presbyterian Church in Washington. In 1960, Helen Holt received a Presidential appointment as Special Assistant to the Commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration. She was later made the Director of Mortgage Insurance for Nursing Homes, and assistant to Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Helen Froelich Holt retired from government service in 1983, but still remains active in her church, family and public service.
0.8 Linear Feet (Summary: 10 in. (2 document cases, 5 in.))