Woman of the Century/Ellen Russell Emerson

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EMERSON, Mrs. Ellen Russell, author, born in New Sharon, Maine, 16th January, 1837 ELLEN RUSSELL EMERSON.jpgELLEN RUSSELL EMERSON. Her father, Dr. Leonard White Russell, was a man of character and ability. He was a descendant of the Russells of Charlestown, Mass. Dr. Russell had six children, the youngest of whom, Ellen, was born in the later years of his life. She early gave evidence of peculiarities of temperament, shy. dreamy and meditative, with an exceeding love for nature. At seventeen she was sent to Boston, where she entered the Mt. Vernon Seminary, in charge of Rev. Dr. Robert W. Cushman, under whose severe and stimulating guidance the student made rapid progress. There her literary work began to appear in fugitive poems and short essays. Her stay in the seminary was brought to an end by a severe attack of brain fever, caused by over study. In 1862 she became the wife of Edwin R. Emerson, then in the government service in Augusta, Maine. Social duties demanded her attention, but gradually she returned to her study, and then began her interest in Indian history A foundation was laid in systematic research for her book, "Indian Myths, or Legends and Traditions of the American Aborigines, Compared with Other Countries." In all her work she has the cordial interest and sympathy of her husband. Trips to the West, to Colorado and California, brought her in sympathy with the red race, whose history and genius she had studied so earnestly. In 1884 she sailed for Europe, where she worked among the records and monuments in the libraries and museums, using not only the note-book, but the sketch-book and brush of the printer as well. Wherever she went, the scholars of Europe recognized her ability and conscientious work, giving her unusual privileges in the pursuit of her researches and showing cordial interest in her labor. In Paris she was elected a member of the Societé Americaine de France, the first woman to receive that honor. There she completed the object of her European visit, and returned to America to prepare for the publication of her recent work, "Masks, Heads and Faces, with Some Considerations Respecting the Rise and Development of Art" Mrs. Emerson usually spends her winters in Boston, and lives a quiet, studious life with her one daughter.