Swazey - Helen Clark (Swazey) Sears (1860-1944)


Swazey - Helen Clark (Swazey) Sears (1860-1944)

Helen Clark Swazey (1860-1944) was born on April 18, 1860 to Dr. George Washington and Sarah Ann (Clark) Swazey in Springfield, Massachusetts. Her father was a doctor of homœopathic medicine, born in Bucksport, Maine.

Helen, like her father, was a serious student and an ardent free thinker as can be seen from this quote:

“It may be noted that an anaemic, or low, condition of the blood is seldom found where there is an established habit of full, deep breathing with the mouth closed” – Helen Clark Swazey, St. Nicholas Magazine, 1886.

She wrote “Suggestions for Gymnastic Exercises for Schools” in 1889.

Helen married Edmund Hamilton Sears, Jr. on June 19, 1895 in Springfield. Edmund, son of Rev. Edmund Hamilton and Ellen (Bacon) Sears, attended Boston Latin School and graduated from Harvard 1874. He was a teacher of Latin, Greek and political science. Helen and Edmund lived in St. Louis, Missouri. Helen Clark (Swazey) Sears died on July 8, 1944 in Los Angeles, California.

When researchers began to investigate the “Helen C. Swazey” in photographer Henry L. Rand’s notes it became apparent immediately that she was the author described above. It took a little more time to find that her father, Dr. George Washington Swazey graduated from Bowdoin Medical School in 1837 – in the same small class as Dr. Benjamin Edward Sawyer, the father of Southwest Harbor Public Library founder and Southwest Harbor summer resident, Annie Sawyer Downs. Henry Lathrop Rand knew the Downs and Helen fits exactly into the world he photographed.


“Swazey - Helen Clark (Swazey) Sears (1860-1944),” Southwest Harbor Public Library Digital Archive, accessed February 20, 2019, https://swhplibrary.net/digitalarchive/items/show/10806.Item 14756