Wilcox, Ella Wheeler, 1850-1919

Alternative names
Birth 1850-11-05
Death 1919-10-30

Biographical notes:

American journalist and poet.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : "Home" [Johnstown Center, Wisconsin], to "Dear Hattie", 1872? Mar. 26. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270587512

From the description of Papers of Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1884-1919. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 31083828

Popular poet and Theosophist. Wilcox was born in Wisconsin and began writing poetry at an early age. Among her best-known works are "Poems of passion," "Poems of cheer," and her autobiography, "The worlds and I."

From the description of The world's need / Ella Wheeler Wilcox. [ca. 1896?] (University of South Florida). WorldCat record id: 71328957

American poet.

From the description of Correspondence, 1887-1919. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122515187

Wilcox was an American poet and journalist.

From the description of Ella Wheeler Wilcox letters, 1888-1917, n.d. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 37290453

Poet and journalist, Wilcox was born in Johnstown Center, near Janesville, Wis. Her poems, although popular with the general public, were judged facile and sentimental by critics. She also wrote plays and newspaper articles. In 1884 she married Robert Marius Wilcox and settled successively in Meriden, Conn., New York City, and Short Beach, Conn. In later life she became interested in spiritualism. For biographical information, see Notable American Women (1971).

From the description of Papers, 1843-1989 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 122506610

Ella Wheeler Wilcox was an American poet and journalist.

From the description of Ella Wheeler Wilcox collection of papers, 1881-1919. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 144652062

From the guide to the Ella Wheeler Wilcox collection of papers, 1881-1919, (The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.)


From the description of Letters to Ethelyn Bryant Chapman, 1873-1918. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 145435056

From the guide to the Letters to Ethelyn Bryant Chapman, 1873-1918, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Wilcox was a poet and journalist. For biographical information, see Notable American Women, 1607-1950 (1971).

From the description of Papers, n.d. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 232007363

American poet and journalist.

From the description of Papers, 1887-1911. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 36005244

Elizabeth Garver Jordan, journalist and suffragist, was born on May 9, 1865 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the elder of two daughters of William Frank Jordan and Margaretta Garver. Shortly after graduating from St. Mary's High School, Jordan entered business school to learn shorthand. She secured her first job editing the women's page of Peck's Sun, owned and operated by George W. Peck. She held her next position as secretary to the Milwaukee superintendent of schools while concurrently reporting for The St. Paul Globe and the Chicago Tribune .

In 1890, Jordan moved to New York City and joined the staff of The World . Her first major interview was with Caroline Scott Harrison, wife of President Benjamin Harrison. This interview was considered a major scoop because Mrs. Harrison rarely gave interviews. Impressed with her performance, The World sent Jordan to the mountain regions of Virginia and Tennessee to write an account of the inhabitants. The result was a series of sympathetic articles. Besides these accomplishments, Jordan was well known for her column True Stories of the News that chronicled everyday life in the city. She also covered the Lizzie Borden murder trial and in that same year wrote a series of articles on tenement conditions in New York City, published under the title The Submerged Tenth (1893).

While in her thirties, Jordan was chosen to be the editor of Harper's Bazar (1900-1913). After William Randolph Hearst acquired the magazine in 1913, Jordan remained with its former publisher, Harper and Brothers as literary advisor. In this capacity she was credited with accepting Sinclair Lewis' first novel Our Mr. Wrenn (1914) for publication. She was also responsible for bringing the work of women novelists to the public, including the works of Zona Gale and Dorothy Canfield Fisher.

Jordan campaigned for the women's suffrage movement as a speaker, writer and editor of The Sturdy Oak, a composite novel by fourteen American writers who supported women's rights. She solicited the authors and contributors who included Fannie Hurst, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Mary Heaton Vorse, Alice Duer Miller, Ethel Watts Mumford, and William Allen White. The novel was published by Henry Holt & Co. (1917) and later sold to Collier's Weekly for serial publication (1917).

Jordan eventually left Harper and Brothers to work as an editorial director for Goldwyn Pictures. She held this position briefly. During her entire life Jordan remained very active and continued to write novels. Her memoir Three Rousing Cheers (1938), outlined her rich and varied life. Jordan died on February 24, 1947 in her home at 36 Gramercy Park in New York City. Never married, she was survived by her only immediate relative, Mrs. Edward Beyer. Jordan was buried in Florence, Massachusetts, her favorite summer retreat.

From the guide to the Elizabeth Garver Jordan papers, 1891-1945, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

Ella Wheeler Wilcox, poet and journalist, was born November 5, 1850, in Johnstown Center, Wisconsin, the daughter of Sarah Pratt Wheeler and Marcus Hartwell Wheeler. Her father taught violin, dancing, and deportment; her mother, an avid reader, encouraged EWW's interest in writing. By the age of fourteen, EWW regularly contributed poems to Waverly's Magazine and Leslie's Weekly.

She attended the University of Wisconsin for one year in 1867. Her first major publication was Maurine (1876), a sentimental verse narrative. She became notorious in 1883 when a Chicago publisher refused to publish her love poems. Poems of Passion, published later that year by another Chicago publisher, was a popular success.

On May 2, 1884, EWW married Robert Marius Wilcox, an executive of the International Silver Company. They settled first in Meriden, Conn., and later divided their time between New York City and Short Beach, Conn. Their only child died a few hours after birth in 1887. RMW died in 1916.

EWW wrote poems, plays (with collaborators), and newspaper articles. In 1901, EWW covered Queen Victoria's funeral for the New York Journal, and in 1902, Cosmopolitan hired her to write on women and women's suffrage. During World War I, she toured army camps in France to read her poems and lecture on sexual conduct. Her poems, while popular with the general public, were judged by critics to be facile and sentimental. However, her poetry appeared in magazines along with Edward Markham's and Rudyard Kipling's.

EWW and her husband became interested in spiritualism after the death of their son, and she was honorary president of the International New Thought Alliance. She claimed to communicate with the spirits of her husband and son after their deaths. In 1906, she organized a village improvement society, called White Wings, to beautify Short Beach, Conn. She was an enthusiastic hostess and made Short Beach a center of literary life. She died in 1919 of cancer.

For further biographical information see Notable American Women, 1607-1950 (1971), vol.3.

From the guide to the Papers, 1843-1989, (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)


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  • Psychics
  • Prostitution--Algeria
  • Reprints (Publications)
  • American literature--20th century
  • Censorship
  • Marriage
  • Material Types
  • World War, 1914-1918--Personal narratives, American
  • American poetry--Women authors
  • Censorship--United States
  • Courtship
  • Spiritualism
  • Poets, American
  • American literature--19th century
  • Book reviewing
  • Journalists, American--20th century
  • Popular culture--History--20th century
  • Voyages and travels
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  • Forgery of manuscripts
  • Poets, Women
  • American literature--Women authors
  • Poetry
  • Women authors, American--19th century
  • Authors, American
  • Authors and publishers
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  • Poets, American--20th century
  • Drama--Collections
  • World War, 1914-1918--Women
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  • World War, 1914-1918--United States--Women
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  • Dressmaking
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  • Women authors, American
  • Prostitution--Tunisia
  • American poetry--19th century
  • World War, 1914-1918
  • Dramatists, American--20th century


  • Authors
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  • United States (as recorded)
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  • Europe (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
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  • Short Beach (Conn.) (as recorded)
  • New York (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York City (N.Y.) (as recorded)
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