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A Woman of the Century:   A Crowdsourcing Project of the Nineteenth and Twenty-First Centuries

December 10 - December 16

Woman of the Week

 Journalist Helen Morton Smith is this week's Woman of the Week.

  • To learn about her by viewing her item, please click on her image.  

  • To read her biographical sketch in A Woman of the Century, please click on the highlighted page number to the left of her image.


Helen Morton Smith (2).jpg

SMITH, Miss Helen Morton

December 12, 1859


Sullivan Harbor, ME

p. 664

Helen Morton Smith was born in Sullivan Harbor, Maine, on December 12, 1859.  After she was educated at a convent in Michigan, Helen returned to Maine and became a teacher.  By 1888, Helen was teaching at her own private school in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Desiring to become a journalist, she changed her career course. Helen moved to Boston, Massachusetts, and became a reporter for the Bar Harbor Record, as the Boston correspondent, and Boston's Saturday Evening Gazette. She was an early member of the New England Woman's Press Association, serving as the recording secretary until April of 1891. (Lord, 54)  At that time, she returned to Maine to become managing editor of the Bar Harbor Record, but her tenure there came to an end when the new owner fired her.  She moved back to Boston and wrote for the Boston Home Journal (Vandenberg and Shettleworth).  Helen was a determined journalist.  As the Savannah Courier of January  14, 1892, noted: "MISS HELEN SMITH, who edited the Bar Harbor Record last summer, is said to be the only editor who succeeded in procuring an interview with Mr. Blaine" (1).

In 1893, Helen returned to Sullivan Harbor, bought the Bar Harbor Record, and became managing editor of the newspaper (Vandenberg and Shettleworth).  In addition, she was manager of the Bar Harbor Press Co., a  job printing establishment tied to the Bar Harbor Record.  By 1897, Helen was catering to, and making a profit off of, the many wealthy people who flocked to the area during the warm weather by issuing semi-weekly editions of The Society Journal of Mt. Desert Island. Helen retired from the Bar Harbor Record in November of 1904 (Maine Press Association Report, 33).  She became publisher of Bar Harbor Life in 1918, continuing in this position for several years.  While spending the winter in Boston in 1923, Helen wrote “Jottings from Boston” for The Bangor News. Later that year, she was run over while in Boston and suffered serious injuries.  Helen passed away on December 16, 1923, and was buried in Sullivan Harbor’s York Hill Cemetery.