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Ella Higginson Papers, 1870-1940

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Higginson, Ella
Title
Ella Higginson Papers
Dates
1870-1940 (inclusive)
1880-1940 (bulk)
Quantity
12 linear feet
Collection Number
XOE_CPNWS0007higginson (collection)
Summary
The collection contains correspondence, writings, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, photographs and artifacts documenting the life and work of Northwest writer and poet Ella Higginson. Records include drafts and copies of Higginson’s published and unpublished novels, screenplays, short stories and poems. Newspaper Clippings and Scrapbooks also include copies of articles, short stories and poems written by Higginson, reviews and articles regarding Higginson and her work.
Repository
Western Washington University, Western Libraries Heritage Resources
516 High St
Bellingham WA
98225-9103
Telephone: 360-650-7534
Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.

Languages
English


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Northwest poet and writer Ella Higginson (1861-1940) was born Ella Rhoads in Council Grove, Kansas. She moved to Oregon with her parents as an infant, spending her youth in Portland and Oregon City. She attended public school in Oregon, and also received private lessons from Oxford trained S.D. Pope, then one of the most renowned educators on the West coast. In 1885, Ella married Russell C. Higginson (1852-1909) in Portland Oregon. The couple moved to Bellingham, Washington (then the town of Sehome) in 1888, where they opened a drug store on Elk Street. It was during this period that Higginson's writing career began to flourish, with her poetry and short stories published nationally by journals including McClures, Harper's Monthly, and Colliers. Her best known work, a poem entitled "Four Leaf Clover," was first published by West Shore Magazine in 1890. Higginson’s novels and collections of short stories include Mariella-Of-Out-West, Alaska the Great Country, The Flower that Grew in the Sand, From the Land of Snow Pearls, and The Forest Orchid and Other Stories. In June 1931, she was made poet laureate of Washington State.

Higginson was actively involved in community and civic affairs. She helped establish Bellingham’s first public reading room and library (of which she became a long-time board member), and also retained an active interest in Whatcom County Normal School (later Western Washington University). Higginson was deeply concerned with issues affecting women, including female education and the institution of marriage. In a 1889 article in West Shore, she argued that the "real evil was not that divorce was too easy, but that marriage was too easy, and that there should be a law preventing marriage before the age of thirty, especially if the woman was homeless."* She was an honorary member of societies including the Progressive Literary and Fraternal Club, the Bellingham Soroptimists and the Washington State Federation of Women’s Clubs. Higginson was also the campaign manager for Mrs Frances C. Axtell, elected as the first female member of Washington State's House of Representatives in 1912. Higginson died in Bellingham, Wash. on December 27, 1940.

*Cited in Koert, Dorothy.The Lyric Singer: A Biography of Ella Higginson. Bellingham, Washington:Center for Pacific Northwest Studies & Fourth Corner Registry,1985.page 52.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Higginson papers contain correspondence, manuscripts, clippings, scrapbooks, photographs and artifacts documenting the life and work of Northwest writer and poet Ella Higginson. Records in the collection span the period circa 1870s-1940, with the bulk of material dated from 1880 onwards. Correspondence includes letters from publishers and contemporary writers including Lloyd Mifflin regarding Higginson’s work and its publication. Higginson’s writings include drafts of her published and unpublished novels, screenplays, short stories and poetry, including manuscripts of Mariella Of Out-West, and Alaska the Great Country. Researchers should note that many of these drafts are partial or incomplete. The collection also contains a small number of short stories and poems written by Higginson’s sister, Carrie Blake Morgan.

Newspaper clippings dated circa 1880-1920 include copies of short stories, poems and articles written by Higginson, and also reviews and articles about her life and work. Scrapbooks compiled by Higginson (1897 – 1909) also contain similar clippings, and copies of her poems. The collection also contains photographic prints and negatives of Ella Higginson, family and friends. Artifacts include printing blocks with images of Ella, her signature stamp, and copies of the words and music for her Four Leaf Clover poem.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

Ella Higginson Papers, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Heritage Resources, Western Washington University, Bellingham WA 98225-9123.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Series I:   Correspondence , circa 1890-1940Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Incoming
Box/Folder
1/1
General
1890-1910
1/2
General
1911-1940
1/3
General
undated
1/4
MacMillan Co. Publishers
1897-1910; 1940
1/5
Mifflin, Lloyd
1898; 1905
Box/Folder
1/6
Outgoing
1893-1939; undated

Series II:   Higginson's Writings, UndatedReturn to Top

Contain drafts and copies of novels, screenplays, short stories and poetry written by Ella Higginson. Researchers should note drafts of Higginson’s works are often partial and incomplete. Almost all of these writings are undated

Container(s) Description Dates
Subseries 1: Novels
Undated
Mariella; of Out-West
Box/Folder
2/1 - 2/2
Draft I
undated
2/3 - 2/5
Draft II
undated
3/1 - 3/3
Draft II (continued)
undated
3/4
Draft III
undated
3/5 - 3/6
Draft IV
undated
3/7
Draft Fragments
undated
4/1
Galley Proofs
undated
Alaska, the Great Country
Box/Folder
5/1
Handwritten draft
undated
6/1
Handwritten draft (continued)
undated
7/1 - 7/7
Handwritten draft
undated
8/1 - 8/3
Typed draft
undated
8/4 - 8/8
Draft Fragments
undated
9/1
Travel Journal
undated
Orilla
Box/Folder
9/2 - 9/3
Draft Fragments
undated
Subseries 2: Screenplays
Undated
Box/Folder
9/4
Just Like the Men
undated
9/5 - 9/6
A Political Story
undated
9/7
Rose in My Heart
undated
Subseries 3: Short Stories
Undated
Box/Folder
10/1 -10/11
untitled short stories
undated
10/12 - 10/14
untitled short story fragments
undated
11/1
Mr Slover
undated
11/2
The Fiddling Mate of the Santa Anna
undated
11/3
The Little Girl From the Lighthouse
undated
11/4
The Rejuvenation of Mrs. Roop 1
undated
11/5
A Point of Giving In
undated
11/6
The Woman That Came to Karluk
undated
11/7
Avenelle of the Mountains
undated
11/8
A True Story
undated
11/9
A Socialistic Flower
undated
11/10
The Philandress
undated
11/11
The Man Who Stayed
undated
11/12
The Last Furrow
undated
11/13
Extra Pure Woman
undated
11/14
One O Them Still Stubborn Kinds
undated
11/15
A Study in Gossip
undated
11/16
A Case of Municipals
undated
11/17
M'liss's Child
undated
11/18
His Great Hour
undated
11/19
The Candle of God
undated
11/20
The Trembling Heart
undated
11/21
Euphemy
undated
11/22
The Mate of the Santa Anna
undated
11/23
A Perfectly Model Man
undated
11/24
Entertaining the Editor
undated
12/1
The Other Woman
undated
12/2
The Message From God
undated
12/3
For So Much Heaven
undated
12/4
The Wooing of Delisca
undated
12/5
The Supreme Hour
undated
12/6
The Russo-Greek Churches of Alaska
undated
12/7
Alaska: The Dream Voyage
undated
12/8
The Lavender Westward
undated
12/9
Mis' Bunnel's Funeral
undated
12/10
Mandy's Organ
undated
12/11
Mrs. Ousley's Haviland China
undated
12/12
The Anspiker Chickens
undated
12/13
Belindy's One Beau
undated
12/14
Hearts and Hearts
undated
12/15
Stories for Anthology (collection)
undated
13/1
Dove Colored Door
undated
13/2
A Change of Creed
undated
13/3
The Miracle of the North
undated
13/4
A Perfectly Model Man
undated
13/5
The Violin
undated
13/6
The Stubbornness of Uriah Slater
undated
13/7
Clarissa
undated
13/8
The Weaver
undated
13/9
The Message of Anna Laura Sweet
undated
13/10
The Great Birthright
undated
Subseries 4: Poetry
Undated
Box/Folder
13/11 - 13/16
Poems
undated
13/17
Poems (printed copies, labeled “Not in Books”)
undated
13/18
Published and illustrated poems
undated
13/19
Published Poem Book The Vanishing Race and Other Poems
1911

Series III:   Writings by Carrie Blake Morgan, UndatedReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
14/1
Short Stories
undated
14/2
Poems by and from C. Blake Morgan
undated

Series IV:   Newspaper Clippings , circa 1879-1920Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Clippings written by Ella Higginson
Box/Folder
14/3
Articles
circa 1905-1937
14/4
Poems
1906, ; undated
14/5
Short Stories
circa 1879-1888
Oversize Folder
1
Short Stories
circa 1881-1920
Box/Folder
14/6
Short Stories
undated
Box/Folder
14/7
Articles about Ella Higginson
circa 1902-1936
14/8
Reviews
circa 1902-1903,; undated
14/9
Obituaries
1940
14/10
Frank Teck clippings
1903, ; undated

Series V:   Scrapbooks, circa 1897 - 1909Return to Top

Scrapbooks contain clippings and copies of Higginson’s poetry and articles, as well as articles and reviews about Higginson and her work. The first, spanning the period circa 1897-1905 was compiled by Higginson in 1939 for the State Library in Olympia.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
15/1
Scrapbook
circa 1897 -1905
15/2
Scrapbook
circa 1897-1908
15/3
Scrapbook
circa 1899-1937
15/4
Scrapbook
circa 1900-1905
15/5
Scrapbook
circa 1908-1909
15/6
Scrapbook
circa 1908-1909

Series VI:   Photographs , circa 1870-1920sReturn to Top

Photographs of Ella Higginson, family and friends, including one photograph album from which most of the prints have been removed.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
16/1 -16/ 4
Photographic Prints
undated
16/5
Photo album
undated
16/6
Glass plate negatives (14 items)
undated
16/7
Glass Plate negative (1 item)
undated

Series VII:   Ephemera, 1904, Undated, , 1904Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
16/8
Four Leaf Clover
undated
16/9
Drawing
undated
16/10
Notes re: Fairhaven Library construction
1904
16/11
Maps of Alaska
undated
Oversize Folder
1
Sheet Music to “The Song of The Wanderer”
undated
Box/Folder
16/12
Four Leaf Clover Sheet Music
undated

Series VIII:   Artifacts, UndatedReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box
17
Print blocks
Ella Higginson
undated
Buildings
undated
Four leaf clover stamp
undated
Four Leaf Clover poem
undated
Four Leaf Clover words and music
undated
Frontispiece
undated
Higginson's signature stamp
undated
American Red Cross Medal
undated
Box
18
Glass candle holder
undated
Painted candle holder
undated
Picture frame (no picture)
undated
Pen
undated
Bead necklace
undated
Letter opener
undated
Three educational primers
undated