Director’s Message – November 4, 2022

Dear Friends,

109 years ago, in November 1913, the English suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst arrived in Hartford to give her “Freedom or Death” speech. Our founder Theodate picked her up at the train station and in typical take-action fashion drove her to Hill-Stead for a welcoming lunch. Later that day, Theodate also publicly pledged $100 for Pankhurst’s cause when the hat was passed in the theater post-speech. All these years later, Theodate has made it easy to honor her legacy: all we need to do is get ourselves to the polls on Tuesday, November 8th, and exercise our right to vote!

Emmeline Pankhurst (center) in Hartford, Connecticut, 1913. Library of Congress.

On the topic of change-making women, Hill-Stead would like to salute the artist Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011). Her foundation has created a vehicle, the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative, to catalyze climate change action in the visual arts. It helps museums like Hill-Stead reduce their environmental footprint while pursuing a mission and preserving artistic treasures. Together with 26 other institutions, including The Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim, Hill-Stead was awarded an implementation grant from this Initiative this year. We will use these funds to complete the replacement of a failed HVAC chiller, installed back in 2001, and its associated pumps and climate controls for the 1901 historic house. These funds will also help us maximize energy savings measures, such as retrofitting all existing parking lot and exterior property lights with new LED lamps for “dusk to dawn” operation. To learn more click here.

Helen Frankenthaler in her East Eighty-Third Street studio, New York, in front of Hybrid Vigor (1973), 1973. Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Archives, New York. Photograph by Edward Youkilis. Artwork © 2022 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

We are immensely grateful to the Foundation for this support, and to these women who serve as excellent role models for working to improve our world.

See you at the party!


Dr. Anna Swinbourne
Executive Director & CEO