County Clerk Kendall Commemorates Centennial of Women’s Suffrage

Pictured Helen Wilkinson Reynolds in 1915, courtesy of the Poughkeepsie Public Library District


POUGHKEEPSIE, NEW YORK:       In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote in federal elections, communities across the country are remembering and honoring the achievements of outstanding women residents throughout history. Dutchess County Clerk Bradford H. Kendall highlights one of the many remarkable women who called Dutchess County home, whose accomplishments and indominable spirit continue to inspire us today.


Local historian Helen Wilkinson Reynolds (December 9, 1875- January 3, 1943) was a member of the prominent Reynolds Family of Poughkeepsie and a prodigious historian of Dutchess County. In a career spanning 32 years, she conducted research into practically every aspect of county history, publishing numerous articles and books. Though best known for her two groundbreaking works on local architecture (Dutch Houses in the Hudson Valley before 1776  and Dutchess County Doorways), her writings spanned the spectrum between studies of local plants to the records of churches and municipalities.


She joined the Dutchess County Historical Society soon after its founding in 1914, becoming editor of the annual Dutchess County Historical Society Yearbook in 1921. In partnership with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, she launched the society’s long-running publication series, which documented details ranging from gravestone inscriptions to early colonial municipal records.  She confronted difficult challenges including inaccessible and decaying historical records, vanishing local landmarks, limited publication opportunities for local historical research, and the tendency by some scholars to dismiss the importance of local history.