Helene Hathaway Britton

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Helene Hathaway Robison Britton
Helene Hathaway Britton in 1915.jpg
Britton in 1915
Owner of the St. Louis Cardinals
In office
Preceded byFrank Robison and Stanley Robison
Succeeded bySam Breadon
Personal details
Born(1879-01-30)January 30, 1879
Cleveland, Ohio
DiedJanuary 8, 1950(1950-01-08) (aged 70)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
ParentsFrank DeHass Robison
Sarah Carver Hathaway

Helene Hathaway Robison Britton (January 30, 1879 – January 8, 1950) was the owner of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team of the National League from 1911 through 1916. She inherited the franchise upon the death of her father, Frank, and uncle, Stanley Robison. Britton was the first woman to own a Major League Baseball franchise.


She was born on January 30, 1879 in Cleveland, Ohio to Frank DeHass Robison and Sarah Carver Hathaway. Britton's father owned the Cleveland Spiders until the team folded after the 1899 season. She married Cardinals president Schuyler Pearson Britton on October 29, 1901 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and they divorced in 1916. She inherited ownership of the St. Louis Cardinals on the death of her uncle, Stanley Robison, in 1911, prior to women even being able to vote. Britton attended National League owner meetings where other owners spent time trying to persuade her to sell the team because she was a woman.[1] She sold the team in 1917. She remarried on August 19, 1918. She died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 8, 1950 at the age of 71.[2]


Mrs. Britton as sketched by Marguerite Martyn, 1911

She was interviewed and sketched in her home at Bratenahl, Ohio, in April 1911 by reporter-artist Marguerite Martyn of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,[3] who said of her:

She is small and round and trim, with decided chic. Her mourning costume [for her uncle] failed to subdue certain lively touches that indicate a love of life and gayety. . . . her attitude is ever alert.[3]

Martyn asked her: "Don't you think being a woman will handicap you in accomplishing anything in this particular field, so thoroughly monopolized by men?"[3]

The response:

On the contrary, I think there are some ways in which I can take a positive stand and actually aid the prosperity and popularity of baseball by very reason of my sex. My uncle before he died saw the advisability of making concessions to attract feminine patronage to the game.[3]

She said that her uncle had removed the profitable alcoholic bar from the baseball stadium and that "Part of his idea was to make the grand stand more pleasant and attractive to women."[3]

She added:

I shall feel it my duty as well as my pleasure and advantage not to shrink from doing everything in my power to further the interests of the Cardinals. And the team is not for sale.[3]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Mrs. Bigsby, Owned Baseball Club, 71. First Woman to Head Major Team, St. Louis Cardinals, Dies. Sold Out in 1917". New York Times. January 10, 1950. Retrieved 2009-08-26. Mrs. Helene H.R. Bigsby, the first woman to own a major league baseball club, died last night at her daughter's home in West Philadelphia after an illness of three months. Her age was 71 [sic].
  3. ^ a b c d e f Marguerite Martyn, "Mrs. Schuyler Britton New Owner of the Cardinals Tells Marguerite Martyn," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 9, 1911, Page 1, Editorial Section

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