Rose Garden PhotographsAlice Oliver (Butterfield) Hewins was born on May 26, 1878, the daughter of William and Nora (Seeley) Butterfield, in Sacramento, California. After graduating from Stanford University in 1901 with a degree in library science, she joined her mother in the Arizona Territory. Nora had remarried W. F. Nichols, who was the Arizona territorial secretary and interim governor when Territorial Governor William Brodie retired from office in 1905. Alice was very fond of W. F. Nichols and referred to him as her dad.

Alice had taught at Stanford and took a teaching position at the University of Arizona. During university breaks and summers, she stayed with her parents in Phoenix. While living in Phoenix, she met two people who became very important in her life.  Her mother attended an Arizona Federation of Women’s Clubs meeting in 1904 and met Sharlot Hall.  She invited Sharlot to visit her home, and Alice greatly enjoyed her.  From that time on, Sharlot made the Nichols' home her headquarters whenever she was in Phoenix, and Alice and Sharlot became lifelong friends.

Alice also met Levi Edwin Hewins in Phoenix. Levi had come to the Arizona Territory in 1885 and settled in the Salt River Valley where he developed mining and water interests. He elegantly courted Alice for many months, and the couple married July 17, 1907, in Phoenix.  Then the Hewins’ home became Sharlot’s port of call whenever she was in Phoenix.

Alice and Levi also frequently visited Orchard Ranch (Sharlot’s home outside of Prescott). They would hire a driver to take them out to the ranch, and later when they had their own car, they would drive up from Phoenix.

Alice helped organize the Phoenix Library and was later assistant librarian there. She also contributed to the community in other ways as an organizer of the Phoenix Musicians Club and as a member of the Trinity Cathedral Episcopal Church, the Phoenix Women’s Club, Order of the Eastern Star, Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Selective Service Board during World War II.

Alice and Levi had no children, but Levi’s niece lived with them for a time. When Levi became ill, Sharlot came to stay with Alice before his death in 1936. When Alice learned of Sharlot’s death in 1943, she felt as if a close relative had died because Sharlot had been so closely associated with her young womanhood and married life. 

In 1963, Alice became a resident of the Arizona Pioneers' Home where she died on October 3, 1963. She was buried in Greenwood Memorial Cemetery in Phoenix.

Donor: Frances (Hewins) Olmstead Ackerman and Norma (Merwin) Orr
Photo Located: Sharlot M. Hall Collection MS-12, Box 18, F-9, Item-1928-001-117
Updated: 7/12/2015, D. Sue Kissel