Peggy Herring Presentation

Hypatia, in conjunction with the Mason County Historical Society, talks about her research for her novel, “Anna, Like Thunder.” At the Mason County Historical Museum, 2:00-3:30

It’s Spring again in the cedar woods at Hypatia’s Holly House

And it’s National Poetry Month! Hypatia-in-the-Woods is planning two events, both at the lovely Brilliant Moon bookstore in downtown Shelton ( Mariano Plaza at First Street and Railroad Avenue).

CELEBRATE WITH A READING at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 9, with poet Ann Batchelor Hursey of Seattle.  A graduate of the Rainier Writing Workshop, Ann holds an MFA in poetry and will read from her first collection, A Certain Hold. Ann read and spoke about her Holly House residency at our Meet Hypatia! event in February and her book is on sale at Brilliant Moon. Also reading will be Carolyn Maddux, a Hypatia board member, who received her MA in poetry and the environment from the McGregor School of Antioch University. Her book, Voluntary on a Flight of Angels, is available from Hypatia Press for $15 including mailing; e-mail to order a copy.

There will be munchies and Brilliant Moon’s special teas, and pocket poems for attenders to take away. The reading will include an open-mic opportunity for three-minute readings.

GREAT OLD BROADS FOR WILDERNESS and Hypatia-in-the-Woods join forces starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 22, to celebrate Earth Day and National Poetry Month with poetry, music and munchies at Brilliant Moon.  Great Old Broads for Wilderness will describe environmental activism, channel some of the great nature poets, and host a visit from Henry David Thoreau.

Northwest poets Holly Hughes and Bill Yake will read from their work.

Holly Hughes, a resident alumna of Hypatia-in-the-Woods, is the author of the newly published chapbook Passings (Expedition Press, 2016), Sailing by Ravens (University of Alaska Press, 2014), and coauthor of The Pen and The Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World (Skinner House Press, 2012).

Bill Yake is author of  Unfurl, Kite, and Veer (Radiolarian Press, 2010), This Old Riddle: Cormorants and Rain, Poems 1970-2003 (Radiolarian Press, 2004). His latest chapbook is a collection of poems from travels in Mongolia.

The event will also honor poets and trailbuilders from CHOICE High School. Their work, including poetry banners, can be seen in the Teresa Johnson Community Trail which follows Shelton Creek from the reservoir at Seventh and Laurel streets in Shelton to North 13th Street near Mason General Hospital.

Passings–from Dodos to O’os

Poet Holly Hughes, Hypatia 2013, has been working with Myrna Keliher at Expedition Press on a chapbook of poems about extinct birds, Passings. Holly began the collection years ago with a poem for Martha, the last passenger pigeon. That led to another and another… now the collection brings together poems about fifteen extinct birds, from the dodo to the O’o.  Holly has added a preface to provide context and an afterword with information on what we can do to protect the species that remain.

The chapbook will be published in two limited editions:  a trade copy bound by hand with a letterpress cover on recycled paper and a deluxe copy with covers of handmade paper and an archival slip case.  You can check these out (and pre-order) at:  The official book launch is at 7 p.m. March 24 at Elliot Bay Books in Seattle. She’s also reading at 7:30 p.m. April 14 at Eagle Harbor Books in Winslow and at 7 p.m. April 21 at Northwind Gallery in Port Townsend with poet Linda Bierds.

Holly will be a featured reader at the Earth Day/National Poetry Month celebration co-sponsored by Hypatia and Great Old Broads for Wilderness at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 22, at Brilliant Moon Bookstore in Shelton. Holly will be reading with Bill Yake.
As she schedules more readings this spring, she’ll post on

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…)

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