Helen Geary Quayle Collection
- 33 black-and-white copy prints with corresponding 35 mm negatives; one original
- Views include:
- Jerome, Arizona: United Verde Copper Company mine and miners, school children,
waterworks, railroads, and views of the town; Verde Valley: cliff-dwellings,
Native Americans, Helenís Dine and Dance, and the TAPCO building; Montezumaís
Well National Monument; portraits of Helen Geary Quayle
- Biographic Note:
- Helen Marie Geary Quayle lived in Jerome and the Verde Valley area for most
of her long life. She was born in Denver, Colorado in 1894. Her mother, Della,
was a clothing designer and dressmaker, with contracts in New York City and
Chicago. Her father, Patrick Geary, was an Irish immigrant who came to the
United States in 1865 at the age of seven, eventually moving west, first to
Colorado and then to Arizona Territory. He became a general foreman for the
United Verde Smelter in Jerome, although his family still lived in Colorado.
In 1903, after a complicated pregnancy and three-month stay in the hospital,
Della and their four children, Helen, Virginia, Edna, and Thomas, moved to
Jerome as well.
- In 1907, both Virginia and Edna succumbed to a scarlet fever epidemic, dying
within two days of each other. Helen and Thomas were the only two of ten children
borne to the Gearys who survived into adulthood.
- As a child, Helen took piano and voice lessons. In 1910 she went to Tempe
to study music at the Arizona Teachers College. The following year she went
to Pasadena, California to continue her music studies. After her return to
Jerome in 1912, she sang at church and later at the local picture show.
- In 1913, at age 18, Helen married a Mr. Myers, who owned a drug store bearing
his name in Jerome. The couple moved to Texas. Five years later, she left
her husband and returned to Jerome. Over the next two years, Helen and a producer
put on shows throughout northern and central Arizona. With proceeds earned
from the shows, Helen helped start the Verde Valley Red Cross (the Verde Valley
Mining Company put up the other half needed). The money also helped to build
the Verde Valley Catholic Church.
- In 1920, Helen married a music teacher, Lewis Johns. He took her to the
Midwest, where the couple put on shows together. In 1929, while in Illinois,
Helen received a telegram informing her that her mother was ill and to come
home immediately. She did, and never returned to Johns and the Midwest. Della
Geary died in 1930. Patrick Geary fell ill two years later, and Helen supported
him throughout the Depression.
- Searching for a way to survive during the Depression, Helen had purchased
her fathers land holdings between Clarkdale and Cottonwood, known as
Geary Heights, in 1931 (today, Geary Heights consists of a short dirt road).
In 1934, Helen married her third husband, a general foreman at the Jerome
Mine named Quayle. The same year, she sold 120 acres of her land to the Verde
Railroad in order to gain the capital needed to start a restaurant and dance
club. Helens Dine and Dance featured Helens own singing and piano
playing, along with bands that played for a commission at the door. She later
leased out the Dine and Dance and and left the region for parts unknown.
- Helen ultimately returned to the Verde Valley to live out the rest of her
life. She died in 1987 at the age of 93.
Special Collections and Archives Department
Northern Arizona University
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