CAIRE, Helen “Ellie” (1905-2002), granddaughter of Justinian Caire, daughter of Frederic and Lillian Caire, and prolific Santa Cruz Island author. Helen spent much of her youth on Santa Cruz Island. As an adult she lived in Los Angeles for a number of years and taught at Hollywood High, and then lived in Oakland where she taught at Oakland High until she retired in her 50s to live with her three unmarried sisters. After their father, Fred, died in 1950, they moved from Oakland to a home they purchased in the Marina District of San Francisco.
Although her family sold their interests in Santa Cruz Island in 1937, Helen vividly remembered much of her island childhood. In 1943 she published her first book, Señor Castillo, Cock of Santa Cruz Island, a children's story based upon a real island rooster. It was reprinted as Santa Cruz Island Foundation Occasional Paper #3, 1990. A collection of eight of Caire’s writings appears in Occasional Paper #1, 1989.
The Caires attended the "French" Catholic church in San Francisco, Notre Dame des Victoires, 564-566 Bush Street between Stockton and Grant. It was built in 1913 after the old church was destroyed by the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. An elaborate cibore was given to the church by Delphine, Arthur and Frederick Caire in memory of Justinian Caire, in memory of him.
In 1996 the three ummarried Caire sisters all moved to Mercy Retirement Center in Oakland, CA, where they lived until their respective deaths: Delphine "Didi" Caire died in 2000; Helen Caire and Vivienne Caire Chiles (married) died in 2002; and Marie "Mimi" Caire died in 2003, just shy of her 100th birthday.
- 1933. Caire, Helen Christmas at the Island Santa Cruz Island Foundation Occasional Paper No. 1. Santa Barbara: Santa Cruz Island Foundation, 1989, (1994).
- 1982. Caire, Helen A Brief History of Santa Cruz Island from 1880 to 1937 The Ventura County Historical Society Quarterly 27(4):1-33, Summer 1982
- 1986. Caire, Helen The Last Vaqueros The Californians 4(5):41-45, September-October 1986
- [original in SCIF archives]
- 1988. Caire, Helen The Islands Remembered, John Barrymore’s Visits to Santa Cruz Island Noticias 34(3):44-63, Autumn, 1988
- [original in SCIF archives] [Santa Cruz Island]
- 1989. Caire, Helen The Last Vaquero Pp. 107-120. In: M. Daily (ed.). Santa Cruz Island Anthology. Santa Cruz Island Foundation Occasional Paper No. 1.
- 1990. Caire, Helen Señor Castillo, Cock of Santa Cruz Island, Santa Barbara: Santa Cruz Island Foundation, 1990
- 1993. Caire, Helen Santa Cruz Island. A History and Recollections of an Old California Rancho Washington: Arthur H. Clark Company. 1993
- APRIL 17, 1993. INTERVIEW WITH HELEN CAIRE. Caire was interviewed by Marla Daily in her home in San Francisco, CA.
|Interview with Helen Caire |
April 17, 1993
In the News~
November 27, 1927 [OT]: “A number of smart teas have brightened the social calendar during Thanksgiving week. The younger set foregathered Tuesday afternoon for tea at the home of Mrs. Frederic F. Caire of Lee Street who with her daughters, Miss Helen and Miss Delphine Caire, entertained in compliment to the two elder daughters of the household, Miss Albina and Miss Marie Caire, who have been in Europe for some length of time. A number of the younger set with Miss Vivienne Caire assisted in receiving.”
August 20, 1935 [SBNP]: “Owner of Santa Cruz Island reveals lore of picturesque island. Helene Caire communes with elfin folk who guard legendary secrets of the rugged mountainous chain... Miss Caire, who makes her home on the island, has sent to the news two manuscripts, The Island Brook and The Lost Conquistador, which are being printed today. The News believes them to be among the most delightful and fascinating which have been written about Santa Cruz...”