In Memory

Helen Hill (Raitt) - Class Of 1923

Helen Hill (Raitt)

Helen Hill Raitt

March 28, 1905 - March 26, 1976


Helen Hill Raitt of La Jolla, author of an account of a scientific voyage in which she was the only woman to take part, died yesterday at Scripps Memorial Hospital. She was 70.

Mrs Raitt also was the coauthor, with Beatrice Moulton of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the First 50 Years, published in 1967. Her husband, Russell W Raitt (SPHS '25) is professor emeritus of geophysics at Scripps. 

It was because she wanted to spend Christmas with her husband that she managed to take part in the last leg of Scripps' Capricorn Expedition to the far Pacific in 1952-53. Raitt was a member of the expedition, which mapped the ocean floor.

Mrs Raitt described her experiences and impressions of the life scientists lead at sea in Exploring the Deep Pacific, published in 1956. 

Dr William Nierenberg, director of Scripps, said last night that "the passing of Helen Raitt will be mourned by hundreds of friends and associates at Scripps who knew her almost as an institution herself."

Mrs Raitt was editor-owner of Tofua Press in Sorrento Valley, which in 1974 published We Three Came West, a volume of letters written in 1876-1880 by her great-aunts and an uncle who had migrated from Iowa and Illinois. She and a cousin, Mary Collier Wayne, edited the book.

One reason she published the letters, Mrs Raitt said at the time, was that she wanted her grandchildren "to know about life in California in those days."

Mrs Raitt was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Pasadena, where she found the letters in an attic. She was a graduate of Pomona College.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by two sons, Charles Biddle Jr of La Jolla and Craig Biddle of Sacramento; two daughters, Mrs Alison Gist of Sacramento and Mrs Martha Harrison of Coconut Grove, Florida.

San Diego Union, March 27, 1976