Londa Loleta Stebbins was born to Alfred Stebbins and Edith Large Stebbins of the Stebbins Ancestry on 30 May 1872.

She lived through at least 1951.  Records show she attended High School in Oakland, resided at 29 St. James Ave. in Boston in 1889 (probably while attending MIT), resided at 6517 Harwood Avenue in 1935, at 1204 Jackson Street in San Francisco 1937 and at 1030 Parkinson in  Palo Alto California in 1951 and owned property in La Honda, California.

Documents show Londa graduated from MIT in 1893, the same year as her brother Elwyn. This would be especially challenging at the time:

It wasn’t until 1882 that MIT formally began admitting female students. Still, the number of women remained small—approximately 1% or less of the student body—until World War II.   -Spectrum, “The Women of MIT” Mar 18, 2014

Londa campaigned for women’s suffrage in the early 1900’s, volunteered for humanitarian aid in the 40s and in 1951 wrote to Albert E. Kahn and  contributed to the  National Committee to Defend Dr. Du Bois.  The committee published Albert E. Kahn’s “Agent of Peace”, a five-cent pamphlet printed by the Hour Publishers in defense of William Edward Burghardt “W. E. B.” Du Bois.    Her occupation was listed as 1935, Children’s Agency, San Francisco.

It is suggested that Londa traveled to Europe with her father Alfred Stebbins,  based on a poem that Alfred wrote.

From the Peninsula Funeral Society newsletter “In Touch” in 2013.

Last fall’s In Touch listed the first 30 members of the Peninsula Funeral Society, forerunner of Funeral Consumers Alliance. Member number 1, who started it all in 1952, was Londa Stebbins Fletcher of Palo Alto.

We learned that Londa Stebbins was born 1872 in Alameda, CA. She married Harris Fletcher in 1903 and divorced him in 1909 for “failure to provide.“ She studied at Stanford, Berkeley, and MIT and had a remarkable career, working as a social worker, probation office and writer, living in various Bay Area and Los Angeles locations. Londa used her life to advance social causes, becoming an experienced leader in rallying people to join causes; she affiliated with American Red Cross to do relief work after WWI in France and Syria. She returned home in time to become a suffragette, working to raise interest and funds all over the nation for women’s right to vote. After that success in 1921, Londa turned her interest to European relief work again, where, during the Spanish Civil War she helped a pregnant Seville war widow escape to Tangiers. The widow gratefully named her girl child Londa, after the courageous woman who helped rescue them.

In 1952, Londa Fletcher became concerned about her inability to find any funeral home to give her the plain and simple funeral she wanted for her mother (she was a long-time Quaker), so Londa and her friends went around to churches to start a “memorial society” here, the first of its kind in California. The California Avenue Co-op Grocery store gave them advertising and office space. And that is how our organization began.

We also received a picture of Londa from Enid Pearson, former Palo Alto City Council member. She wrote, “Londa was a dear friend of mine and she took part in our lawsuit to force the city to adopt its General Plan. I am forwarding a picture of her, myself and Eldrid Tubbs on a ladder. It is 1962 and we had won our lawsuit. We are in my garden at 1200 Bryant, about to have a fund-raising party to pay our attorney (Pete McCloskey).

Londa also helped me and two others with a very important initiative to dedicate all parks, open space and conservation land. This initiative was passed by the voters, 7-1 in 1965. I was really saddened when Londa died in 1965 and did not get to celebrate our victory.” Unfortunately, Londa did not ever have any children, and close relatives had already passed on when she died at age 93.

 

From “Always Loving: A Life in Five Worlds Unknown” Chronicling the life and adventures of Mildred Hunter Thiermann, By Stephen Thiermann, (c)  2012 ISBN: 978-1-105-61857-4

Then on a crisp and sunny October afternoon, we arrived in triumph in Menlo Park, just south of Palo Alto at our temporary quarters, arranged by Josephine, at the home of Londa Fletcher. Londa, though not herself a Quaker, was an enthusiastic supporter of Quaker work. A single lady of uncertain age in her late 50s or early 60s, Londa proved an imposing presence. WIrey, tanned and fit she seemed In perpetual motion, possessed of a keen mind, a sharp tongue and a warm heart. On a visit to her at age 80, I found her with a basket over her arm climbing a favorite apple tree to bring in the harvest. At this early stage, it was the warm heart that we would be relying on. There was going to be, if not for the first time a toddler in the house, a lively, inquisitive four-year-old everywhere under foot.

From July 9, 1918 Santa Cruz Evening News from Santa Cruz, California · Page 2

UNIVERSITY WOMEN READY TO SAIL FOR FRANCE

Thirteen women, members of the Stanford unit, who were selected to go to France to work among the women and children of the reoccupied portion of that country, have left Palo Alto and are now en route to New York and expect to sail at a nearly date for France, where they will proceed with the civilian relief work that has been planned. The requisite $30,000 has been subscribed or pledged, a sum sufficient to permit of the great work being prosecuted with vigor for a period of one year. Two women, Mrs. Londa S. Fletcher and Miss Dorothea Smith, have gone ahead.

July 10, 1918 Oxnard Courier from Oxnard, California · Page 3

The Stanford University unit of women, organized for work among the women and children of reoccupied France, arrived in New York today and will sail at an early date. There are 15 women in the unit, two of whom arrived in advance of the main party. They were Mrs. Londa S. Fletcher and Miss Dorethea Smith. Those in today’s contingent: Miss Sue Byer, Miss Elizabeth Woolbridge, Miss Velona Picher, Miss Anne Scott, Miss Laura Emory, Miss Margaret Lothrop, Miss Beatrice Flynn, Miss Margaret Horine, Miss Ruth Deeley, Miss Edith Merrielies, Dr. Plactda Gerdner, Miss Vera Gerdner, and Mrs. Elizabeth Andrews. (Names may be garbled due to OCR translation)

Stanford Alumni

Alumni Directory and Ten-year Book, Volume 3 By Stanford University

Stebbins, Londa Loleta 1894-98
m Apr 9, 1903, Harris F. Fletcher (divorced 1909.), War service, A.R. C. France and Syria.  Social service.  Residence, 56 Eucalyptus Road, Berkeley, Calif.