Helen Keep Otis was born on October 1st, 1874 in Chicago, Illinois. Her father George Livingston Otis was a prominent in the banking and business circles of Chicago. George had married Helen’s mother Mary W. née Keep in November 1872 and Helen was the couple’s only child. In 1880, the family was living at 1710 Michigan Avenue in Chicago. I suppose this photo of Helen was taken in her teens in the late 1880s. The shorter skirt suggests that she was at school-girl age.
Helen’s father died unexpectedly in March 1899 when she was 14. According to his obituary in the Chicago Tribune on March 30th, 1899, he died while sitting in bed and reading a newspaper, just having returned from a short family vacation trip to New York. The year before, Mr. And Mrs. Otis and their daughter Helen had been travelling abroad for 15 months. Mother Mary and daughter Helen did some more travelling after father’s passing, they applied for passports in September 1899. Looks like Helen’s mother continued the family realty business. I read many mentions of Helen’s mother Mary K. Otis in deeds, testaments and gifts involving real estate in and around Chicago.
On January 15, 1901, Helen married Elijah Kent Hubbard in Chicago.
Elijah was a man of wealth and prominence in Hartford, Connecticut. The couple moved to Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut after their honeymoon. The 1920 Census has them living in Middletown with their four children – Otis, Channery, Helen and Mildred, and a list of servants and a cook.
Looks like Helen loved travelling all her life. Just like her mother and father travelled with her in the late 1890s, she travelled with her own children in the 1920s and 1930s. She took them to see France, Italy, Switzerland, Great Britain, Belgium, Cuba, Bermuda. Her 1923 passport application for international travels also includes her photo with daughter Helen (oh, how I wish the quality was any better!):
Helen passed away unexpectedly on January 1941 while on vacation in Florida. She was buried at the Graceland Cemetery in Chicago. Her obituaries published in the Hartford Courant and Chicago Tribune in January 1941 reveal many details about Helen’s life. She graduated from the University of Chicago. She loved books and music. She was active in Middletown community, engaging in playground and musical activities. She was a director of the Hartford Symphony Society and Symphony Society of Connecticut.
Helen’s husband Elijah Kent Hubbard passed away in the same year, just 8 months later in August 1941. The surname Hubbard is a household name in Middletown and in Hartford, Connecticut. Elijah’s career was very impressive and his obituaries in the many newspapers spread on pages and pages. Just to give you an idea what kind of a man Helen’s husband was, here’s an obituary from the Hartford Courant from August 8th, 1941:
I also came across a blogpost about the Hubbards’ mansion in Middletown that you can read HERE:
I hope to find a family history lover among the Hubbard descendants so that I can return this photo to the family photo archive.