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Billie (Helen) Hill political memorabilia collection

 Collection
Identifier: RG069_165

Scope and Content

The papers were arranged into four series which reflect the political connections and interests of Billie Hill.

Series 1. Personal and Political Papers, 1951-2013, undated, consists of various campaign materials, clippings, commemorative prints, correspondence, event invitations, and event programs that are either personally from or related to a variety of Democratic politicians. Campaign materials include bumper stickers, fliers, newsletters, and signs. This series also contains an oral history interview with Billie Hill, an award she received from the Disabled American Veterans Commanders Club, materials relating to NASA's Space Shuttle Mission STS-133, and medal certificates honoring her son Thomas Hill's military service. Papers are arranged alphabetically by politician where possible, with oversize documents stored together in a separate box.

Series 2. Publications, 1948-2009, contains books, oversize event programs, magazines, and newspapers. Several books are autographed or include personal notes addressed to Billie Hill. Newspapers are arranged chronologically by date, with some documenting important historical events such as President John F. Kennedy's assassination and President Richard Nixon's resignation.

Series 3. Photographs, 1943-circa 2011, undated, consists of color and black-and-white portraits, candid photographs, and commemorative photographs of a variety of Democratic politicians, including Abe Ribicoff, John F. Kennedy, Ella Grasso, William O'Neill, Jimmy Carter, Christopher Dodd, and Barack Obama. Some of these photographs are autographed or include personal notes to Billie Hill. This series also includes Billie Hill's engagement photograph, as well as photographs of her son Thomas Hill.

Series 4. Artifacts, circa 1960-2012, undated, includes campaign buttons and stickers, bags, hats, t-shirts, license plates, oversize signs, and other unique ephemera such as a cardboard fan, desk name plate, and a painting purported to be by Thomas Grasso (husband of Ella Grasso). This series also contains a framed inaugural address of President John F. Kennedy that was signed by Abe Ribicoff. Campaign buttons and stickers are arranged alphabetically by politician.

Dates

  • 1943-2013
  • Majority of material found within 1943-1988

Language of Materials

The records are in English.

Restrictions on Access

These records are stored at an off-site facility and therefore may not be available on a same-day basis.

See the Rules and Procedures for Researchers Using Archival Records and Secured Collections policy.

Biographical Note

Helen "Billie" (Sarr) Hill was born in Hartford on April 23, 1924. She was named for both of her parents, Helen and William. She grew up in West Hartford and graduated from William Hall High School in 1941. After she subsequently attended Hartford Secretarial School and graduated in 1942, she took a job with the State Department of Aeronautics as secretary to the Civil Air Patrol Wing Commander. In 1944, she married Arthur T. Hill after he came back from serving overseas in World War II.

After the war ended, Hill became involved in politics. A life-long Democrat, she worked for the Democratic National Chairman John M. Bailey and for the Clerk of State Senate and Governor Chester Bowles. She also worked on the John F. Kennedy presidential campaign and belonged to the "Kennedy's Girls" fundraising group. Later, she served as personal secretary to the Secretary of the State Ella Grasso. She was also secretary to Governor Abraham Ribicoff, especially assisting him with his American Dream speech in 1954, and then became executive assistant to U.S. Senator Ribicoff, where she worked in Washington, D.C. and Connecticut. Upon retirement from the federal government, Hill worked for the State Department on Aging. In March 2015, she was a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal for her work with the Civil Air Patrol during World War II.

Hill spent most of her life in West Hartford, moving to Glastonbury in 1998. She and her husband had two children, Barbara (Hill) Coffey and Thomas Hill. Thomas Hill served in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot and, after being killed in action in 1969, posthumously received the Air Medal, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart medals. Billie Hill passed away on November 17, 2015.

Extent

10 cubic feet

Abstract

This collection is comprised of papers and materials relating to Billie Hill's career working for several Democratic politicians, as well as her personal interests in and relationships with various political candidates. The collection contains personal and political papers, clippings, correspondence, photographs, publications, and artifacts.

Arrangement

Series 1. Personal and Political Papers, 1951-2013, undated

Series 2. Publications, 1948-2009

Series 3. Photographs, 1943-circa 2011, undated

Series 4. Artifacts, circa 1960-2012, undated

Provenance

The materials in this collection were donated by Billie (Helen) Hill to the Connecticut State Library in 2013.

Related Material

RG 005:031, Office of the Governor: Chester Bowles, 1949-1951, Connecticut State Library.

RG 005:033, Office of the Governor: Abraham Ribicoff, 1955-1961, Connecticut State Library.

RG 005:034, Office of the Governor: John Dempsey, 1961-1971, Connecticut State Library.

RG 005:036, Office of the Governor: Ella Grasso, 1971-1982, bulk 1975-1980, Connecticut State Library.

RG 005:037, Office of the Governor: William A. O'Neill, 1980-1991, Connecticut State Library.

RG 069:059, Ribicoff (Abraham) Newspaper Clipping Collection, 1954-1979, Connecticut State Library.

RG 069:160, Robert Satter Collection, 1926-1993, bulk 1952-1980, Connecticut State Library.

RG 069:175, Betty Hudson Papers, 1961-2006, Connecticut State Library.

Billie Hill Oral History, Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library.

John M. Bailey Papers, Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library.

Chester Bowles Papers (MS 628), Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Dorothy Stebbins Bowles Papers, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Bibliography

Connecticut Obituaries, Funeral.com. Hill, Billie (Helen): Obituary
Weeks, D. Helen Billie Hill Interview, RG 069:165, Billie (Helen) Hill Political Memorabilia Collection, Box 1, Folder 19. Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT, August 8, 2013.
  • Weeks, D. Helen Billie Hill Interview, RG 069:165, Billie (Helen) Hill Political Memorabilia Collection, Box 1, Folder 19. Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT, August 8, 2013.

Processing Information

Sarah Morin processed this collection from September-October 2019.

Title
RG 069:165, Billie (Helen) Hill Political Memorabilia Collection
Subtitle
Inventory
Author
Finding aid prepared by Sarah Morin.
Date
2019
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Connecticut State Library Repository

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