Reynolds Rap  

By on April 13, 2015 with 9 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Come meet a remarkable woman: Holly Reynolds, a 96-year-young resident of Baton Rouge, La.  Holly has so much to commend her as a stalwart animal advocate, but there’s one part of her biography that is absolutely startling: she attended the first HSUS annual meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1955.

She’s probably the only surviving member from that original meeting, where board chairman Robert Chenoweth and CEO Fred Myers rolled out their vision for the National Humane Society, which would soon be renamed The Humane Society of the United States.

She was in on the original idea that the nation needed a group that would not only professionalize the field of animal protection, but also work to tackle the large-scale problems beyond the reach and resources of local organizations. We’ve worked to abide by that original mission for six decades, and to give it more power and resonance now than ever before.

Holly’s been an unfailing advocate of The HSUS and the larger cause of helping all animals. I had a chance to sit down with her and speak at our Animal Care Expo about that first annual meeting, about her work for animals, and her work with The HSUS.

Holly’s a living bridge to the founders of the organization, and a reminder that the ideals that animate us today found their origin in great women and men working tirelessly and selflessly for our cause in a collective way in the 1950s. Those founders, and the people who’ve carried on their work, remain heroes to me, and no one more so than Holly, who still gets up every day thinking about how she’s going to make the world a better place.

Companion Animals

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  1. Clova Abrahamson says:

    How wonderful to see this article and video about somebody who has seen HSUS history made. I have been onboard since 1974. Wish I had known about the HSUS earlier, but glad for all the HSUS history that I have personally witnessed!

  2. Suzana Megles says:

    How wonderful to be reminded of the pioneers who started this wonderful humane society for the animals. Indeed she looks like a 96 “young” remarkable woman as she is characterized here. God bless her and all who made this society possible.

  3. MaryJo Luu says:

    Holly Reynolds at 96 seems to be in great shape.I thank her for all she did in her life for the animals.
    Why does the Humane Farming Association hate the Humane Society of the United Sates so much. You should be working together instead of fighting for the good of the animals.
    The farm animals raised for food live a short life of suffering. If only everyone on this earth could become a vegetarian. I do not even look at the meat aisle. I wish the frozen section in the supermarkets would only sell a big variety of vegetarian TV Dinners. Not everybody has the time to cook a good balanced dinner from scratch.

  4. K. Karaba says:

    Bless you, Holly. That is a great picture of you and Wayne. It must be all the love you give to others to keep you so young. You are an inspiration to me.

    Thanks again for all you do.

  5. Annoula Wylderich says:

    Holly is a true inspiration and a hero to animals. We need more like her!

  6. Nicky Ratliff says:

    whst a great ole Gal. So glad you interviewed her Wayne.

  7. Nicky Ratliff says:

    what a great olé Gal

  8. James Riopelle says:

    Holly has been the very hands-on guiding spirit for Louisiana’s humane society coalition ( since she founded our group in 1981. She also founded two major regional Louisiana humane societies: Capital Area Animal Welfare Association in Baton Rouge ( and St. Tammany Parish Humane Society in the area across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans ( She remains an inspiration to all of us working to improve the lives of companion animals, farm animals, and free-living animals in Louisiana.

    • Leslie Roberts Stanga says:

      I remember my mother knowing Holly Reynolds way back in the early 60s. My mom, Claire Roberts, began volunteering with Holly at the animal shelter (what we called it back then) and I think served on the board for years. I still remember Arthur, the wonderful caretaker back then, The unfortunate thing was that, through no fault of their own, the shelter had to euthaniize some animals. They simply didn’t have the space or funds to avoid doing that. I am so glad that STHS evolved into a no-kill organization. Ms Reynolds was ahead of her time when she started the humane societies and is a hero in my book.

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