Open main menu

Woman of the Century/Elizabeth Eggleston Seelye

SEELYE, Mrs. Elizabeth Eggleston, author, born in St. Paul, Minn., 15th December, 1858. She is a daughter of Edward Eggleston, the novelist, and she comes of a line that has produced students, writers and professional men of mark for several generations. Her mother was of English parentage and of a family with talent for graphic art. Mrs. Seelye early showed the "book hunger" that has characterized members of her family, but, on account of her delicate health, her parents were obliged to restrain her eagerness for study. In 1866 the family removed to Evanston, Ill., where her father had built in his own grounds one of the earliest kindergartens in America, that his children, of whom Elizabeth was the oldest, might be trained correctly from the start. After the removal of the family to Brooklyn, N. Y., in 1870, Elizabeth attended Packer Institute for a short time, but the methods of teaching that prevailed did not satisfy her parents, and she and her sister were taught mainly at home by private teachers. She also attended for some years the classes in French and German in the Brooklyn Mercantile Library, and was the only child in classes of adults. She early became an eager reader of the best books, especially in English and French. In the midst of tier cares as the mother of a family, she reads works of philosophy, natural science and political economy with the keenest relish. Her study of the literature of the Middle English period enabled her to supply the editor of the "Century Dictionary" with five-hundred new words and definitions In 1877 she became the wife of Elwyn Seelye, and she has since that time lived on or near Lake George, N. Y., where her husband's property interests and business are situated. Mrs. Seelye is the mother of five children, to the care and training of whom she devotes much of her time. From early childhood ELIZABETH EGGLESTON SHELVE A woman of the century (page 650 crop).jpgELIZABETH EGGLESTON SHELVE. she has had a bent toward literary production, and at twelve years of age wrote long stories for the amusement of her playmates. Besides her contributions to periodicals, she has written four of the five volumes in the Famous American Indian Series, "Tecumseh" (New York, 1878); "Pocahontas" (New York, 1870); "Brant and Red Jacket" (New York, 1879), and "Montezuma" (New York, 1880). Though her father's name appears on the title-page of these as joint-author with her, illness prevented his writing any portion of them, except three chapters of the "Tecumseh." Those books have been very popular. Mrs. Seelye has also published "The Story of Columbus" (New York, 1892), illustrated by her sister, Allegra Eggleston. That book is the first of a series to be called " The Delights of American History." The author is about to publish a second volume in that series, which is to contain "The Story of Washington."