People of Hypatia

Bequest from Alta (Sunny) Hughes

Last year, we lost a staunch supporter of Hypatia, Alta (Sunny) Hughes.  She left us a bequest, a lovely gesture which helps us toward financial security. We will remember her with the publication of her last collection of poems in a chapbook later this year.

Pope Press Olympia

Photo of Elspeth Pope, founder of Hypatia-in-the-Woods

Elspeth Pope

Elspeth Pope’s legacy lives on in the dreams of those she has mentored. She shared her love of printing with inspired artists and now Pope Press Olympia will be opening soon in her honor.

We honor our mentors that have come before us by continuing to breath new life into the legacies that they have created.


Last winter. Jennifer Hukee began helping Elspeth with her basement printing press, organizing the studio and printing together. Elspeth shared her vision with Jennifer for using the studio to teach others letterpress and providing the space and equipment for aspiring artists. After Elspeth passed in May 2013, Jennifer approached her family about buying Elspeth’s printing equipment with the intent of opening a printing press studio in honor of Elspeth Pope.

popepressolympiaLess than a month from opening on March 15, 2014 Pope Press Olympia  is in the final stages of fundraising. Just $500 shy of their goal, Pope Press Olympia has an active fund-raising campaign on

Pope Press Olympia will house a haven of print artists. In addition to housing the Elspeth’s letterpress, the printing studio will include classroom space as well as exhibition space. It is designed for the beginner as well as the advanced printer. Jennifer has years of teaching printing classes but has lined up a very special guest instructor for the first class at Pope Press Olympia. Catherine Alice Michaelis, owner and letterpress printer of May Day Press and Elspeth’s neighbor and dear friend will teach a pressure printing class on Sunday March 16th, 2014

Pope Press Olympia – 2014 from Pope Press Olympia on Vimeo.

Jeanne Lohmann Poetry Trail finds a new home

The poetry trail adjacent to Hypatia-in-the-Woods’ Holly House residence has found a new home on the wooded grounds of Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia.
With the death of Hypatia’s founder/director, Elspeth Pope, her large property above Hammersley Inlet went on the market. The poetry trail circled an area of cedar woods on that property, and because there remained the possibility that Hypatia’s property where Holly House is located may have to be sold as well (the two properties share a water system, septic system and easement) the board determined that the poetry trail should be removed to a more public venue. The issue: where could it be enjoyed by more people, yet be secure?
Several locations were deemed possible. In mid-July, poet Jeanne, her daughter Karen Lohmann and friend Shelley Kirk-Rudeen, who was advisor to the installation, drove to Shelton to walk the path. En route home, they came up with the inspiration: St. Peter Hospital’s award-winning wooded and gardened grounds.

Jeanne's beautiful poems have new locations on St. Peter Hospital grounds

Jeanne’s beautiful poems have new locations on St. Peter Hospital grounds

Karen proposed the project to the hospital administration. Now, just over a month later, the six installations have been removed from Elspeth’s property and installed at locations on the Olympia hospital campus:
• Sunshine House interior outdoor patio
• Two on the Trillium trail – parallel to Lilly Road (trail shared by Thurston County Health Department)
• In the Cedar Circle- to the North East of the main paver walkway
• Overlooking the egg-shaped stacked-stone sculptures near the North Entrance/Surgery Critical care/ and Family Birth areas
• On the walkway between the back (west entry near the parking garage) and Emilie Gamelin Pavilion.
A huge thank you to Karen for shepherding this project. Jeanne’s wise, beautiful and calm poetry will bless staff and visitors alike, and friends of Hypatia-in-the-Woods can visit the installations any time.

Holly House resident teaches blogging

It wasn’t only Timberland Regional Library patrons who benefited from a blogging workshop by Kelly Wallace, a writer and entrepreneur from Portland spending part of August in a residency at Holly House.

Kelly Wallace shows board member Colleen Keoski how to add a photo to her blog entry.

Kelly Wallace shows board member Colleen Keoski how to add a photo to her blog entry.

Several board members learned how to navigate the complexities of blogging via WordPress in an evening workshop with Kelly. Working with the Hypatia-in-the-Woods website, board members learned how blogs should feature regular postings, include current events for Holly House and the organization as a whole, and focus on aspects of Holly House and Hypatia-in-the-Woods as well as the local community. They learned about keywords and tags, which are ways to draw traffic. They learned how to insert photos (and how not to), and discovered the uses of links.

While at this point the main mission of Hypatia-in-the-Woods is maintaining Holly House as a place for women in the arts, academia and entrepreneurship to spend time apart to finish (or begin) a project away from the distractions of everyday life, another of its goals is to enrich the local community with workshops, classes and programs. In the past year, Hypatia and the Shelton Timberland Library have enjoyed a cooperative project offering readings, workshops and programs by Holly House residents to the wider community. But this time around, the board enjoyed its own workshop. Thanks, Kelly!

Photo of the back side of the Holly House at Hypatia-in-the-Woods

Rest In Peace – Elspeth Pope

Hypatia-in-the-Woods’ beloved founder and director, Dr. Elspeth Pope, died peacefully, surrounded by loving family members, on Saturday, May 18. She underwent emergency surgery two weeks earlier for an intestinal blockage and made a brave attempt at recovery but found that she simply did not have the strength to fight her way back as she had several years earlier after a debilitating stroke. She leaves a startling vacancy in the world she inhabited.

Elspeth 2-242x235

A gathering to celebrate her beautiful life will be held Saturday, June 8, 2pm at St. David’s Church, 324 W. Cedar, Shelton, Washington.  The gathering includes a reception in St. David’s Hall.

The board and volunteers of Hypatia are committed to continuing the program and vision to which Elspeth dedicated so much of her energy and her resources. Holly House remains a tribute to Elspeth’s beloved husband, Jim Holly; women will continue to come for their residencies in that place set apart for them to work uninterrupted.

Elspeth’s life was an inspiration. She put herself through her university studies, leaving her home province of Montreal, Quebec, to come to the U.S. in 1951. She worked in medical and university libraries before turning to teaching library and information science, frequently bumping into the “glass curtain” encountered by women in her profession. In 1983, she retired from the University of South Carolina, married Jim Holly, and moved to Olympia, Washington. The two built their home near Shelton in 1991, using windfall cedar trees from the extensive property.

Both letterpress enthusiasts, Jim and Elspeth planned to create a print shop in the cedar building that Jim had used as a workshop during their house-building project. That same year, at a book arts event in England, Elspeth met Dr. Melissa Hardie. Later, Dr. Hardie and her husband, Dr. Phil Budden, visited Jim and Elspeth and the dream of developing a U.S. branch of Hypatia Trust, which Melissa founded In Cornwall, was born.

In 1998, after Jim’s death, Elspeth decided to leave her press and printing equipment in the basement and to turn Jim’s workshop building into a cottage for residencies. She formed a board, establishing Hypatia-in-the-Woods as a nonprofit organization, and donated a portion of her property with the workshop building to the new organization. Her vision was a resource center and residency program for women in the arts, academia and business, and she knew well the need these women have to be able to complete creative or academic projects in a space away from the demands of home, work and family. She took delight in seeing a labyrinth created in memory of Melissa Hardie’s mother and a poetry trail featuring the work of Olympia poet Jeanne Lohmann, both constructed adjacent to the Holly House property.
Photo of the side of the Holly House at Hypatia-in-the-Woods showing the ramp entrance.
Photo of the back side of the Holly House at Hypatia-in-the-Woods
After her retirement, Elspeth still kept her hand in the library and information world as a freelance indexer, later teaching the profession through an online university.  The local Pacific Northwest chapter of the American Society for Indexing recognizes her as the “mother” of their chapter.   She also travelled to the Republic of Mauritius as a consultant to assist the island nation in establishing its national library system.
She was an expert knitter, and loved reading and music.  She supported literacy tirelessly, and until quite recently headed the Mason Orchard Bees team in Mason County Literacy/Sound Literacy’s annual spelling-bee frundraiser.  She loved music and played the recorder with a small consort in the Olympia area, attended the symphony and Harlequin Productions live theatre, and enjoyed an extensive collection recorded music including numerous Willie Nelson recordings.   Elspeth was a book artist, and taught letterpress arts and created a number of cards, poetry broadsides and books, many of them marketed to benefit Hypatia-in-the-Woods.  She adored her dogs and cats, all adopted through various rescue organizations, and all named after type fonts.
Jim and Elspeth

Jim and Elspeth

Photo of Melissa Harding and Elspeth Pope. Melissa and her husband founded the Hypatia Trust in Cornwall, England.

Melissa and Elspeth


A model for her board and volunteers, Elspeth was our lodestar and our challenger. We will strive to live up to the standard she set.
You are encouraged to add your memories of Elspeth and your comments to this posting.
Her family reqeusts that any gifts go to Hypatia-in-the-Woods to support its mission.   Gifts, cards and remembrances can be sent to
Elspeth Pope
c/o Hypatia-in-the-Woods
P.O. Box 58
Shelton, WA  98584

“Bring on the wine” says author, Hypatia friend Carolyn Maddux

Carolyn Maddux

Carolyn Maddux





It’s almost as if a friend were moving
to the other side of the country
and you said of course you’d stay in touch …


Long-time Hypatia friend and board memberCarolyn Maddux has finished (yesss!) her most recent book project, Care: A Hospital for Mason County.  After sending the manuscript off to the printer her poet’s voice came forward expressing her emotions — (more…)

Hypatia Friends Present Neglected Olympia History

The Café intermezzo, Rita Mae Brown at Evergreen as the Vietnam War ended, Lily Tomlin in Olympia for the 1984 Olympics Women’s Marathon Trials, the 1976 Women’s Music Festival in Olympia produced by Tides of Change, The Janes of All Trades, and much more … local history to revel in!


Highlights of Olympia's Lesbian Gay history

Highlights of Olympia’s Lesbian Gay history

Elspeth and I were in Olympia a couple of days ago for the first SAGE Salon, a presentation by Llyn De Danaan and Carol McKinley, two great, long-time friends and supporters of Hypatia-in-the-Woods. (more…)

Looking forward, looking back — thanks to all who made the Timberland series possible!

As applications for residencies in Holly House for 2013 come in, we begin conversations with these women about sharing their work with our local community. Hypatia is pleased to partner again with the Shelton Timberland Regional Library which hosts readings, workshops, and performances by our residents. We don’t know yet what all the second year of the program might hold — basketry, oil painting, and memoir writing are being planned thus far — but I want to take a moment in this blog to thank again the residents of 2012 who made our first year’s partnership with the library so much fun.  Here’s a recap of the last season; we’ll post news of upcoming events as details are worked out. Hope to see you at the Library!

Photo of Ruby Murray reading from her latest book.

Ruby Murray reading from her work.

Ruby Hansen Murray initiated the Timberland series (and yes, it was 2011, but December, so almost 2012) with an afternoon discussion of researching and telling family stories and reading from The Heart Stays People, the story of an Osage Indian girl who is captured and must find her way home in 1820’s Arkansas.  Since her reading the book received First Place in the Historical Novel category of the 2012 OWFI Annual Writing Content.  Congratulations and thank you for sharing, Ruby! Do I remember your saying you’ve finished it?


Maggie Chula

As Days Get Longer …

Maggie Chula ( who has been a Holly House resident twice, is well known for her haiku, but not exclusively.  Here is an evocative poem she wrote after walking the labyrinth one warm day last summer.

Maggie Chula

Maggie Chula reading at the Timberland Regional Library in Shelton



June. The air smells of rotting logs, wet and fecund
like beginnings and endings, with nothing between.

Buttercups have taken hold on the loamy path,
narrowing the trail of the labyrinth with their runners.

It’s hard to pull up buttercups, their cheerful innocence
and shiny petals that smell of sunshine.


Looking toward next year’s alum gathering …

As I drove the last of the Hypatia resident alums to leave this week’s gathering back to Olympia to catch the Amtrak for Seattle, we chatted about this year’s gathering and looked toward next. The sheltering cedars at Holly House had made even the almost-record high temperatures bearable. Lenore read Thursday evening at the Shelton Timberland Library from her screenplay American Ubuntu. We got just a taste of it — just enough that all of us are looking forward to seeing the entire story play out in movie form. Then Saturday was lunch with all the alums, and afterward they shared bits of their work: Ann’s poems, some of the backstory from Lenore’s screenplay, and stories related to the book Ruby is at the editing stage of — the book she worked on and read from while a resident herself. The gathering thus over, we look forward to having these and other alums return next August.

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