Olivia Watson Hoffman and her poetry book – The Four Seasons.

Olivia Lyman Watson was only seventeen or eighteen when she served as a corresponding secretary for the Newport County Woman’s Suffrage League in 1918 and 1919. Maud Howe Elliott, Julia Ward Howe’s daughter, had taken over the presidency of the group and Olivia might have joined through her influence. Later newspaper articles mention that Olivia was related to Julia Ward Howe. Olivia was very proud of her deep Rhode Island family roots.  She was a descendent of one of the first Newport founders, Thomas Hazard.  Ancestors William Green Arnold and John Cook served as colonels in the Continental Army.

Early newspaper articles identify her as “Olive” but she seemed to use “Olivia” as she was older.  She thought of herself as a literary woman.  In a newspaper interview she said that her forebears were founders of the Redwood Library in Newport, one of the oldest libraries in the United States.  She was a member of the League of American Pen Women and contributed articles and poetry to a number of publications.  Olivia was a published poet and she said she wrote poetry from childhood.  In an interview she said – “I can’t remember when poetry did not sing itself to me.”

She married a Navy officer, Joseph H. Hoffman, in Newport in 1929 and she moved all over the country as a Navy wife.  She always kept her Newport connections and visited Aquidneck Island frequently.  Later in life she became a song writer and  wrote the words to a “Breaker’s Ball” song and it was performed at the Breakers by the Meyer Davis Orchestra.  She even wrote a campaign song in 1968 for Richard Nixon called “Win with Dick” which was used at campaign rallies.