Woman of the Century/Ella A. Giles
GILES, Miss Ella A., author, was born in Dunkirk, near Madison. Wis., 2nd February, 1851. She is the daughter of Hon. H. H. Giles, for twenty years a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Charities. He was once president of the National Conference of Charities. ELLA A. GILES. From him Miss Giles has inherited a philanthropic spirit, which is visible in her writings. She has published a large number of essays on social science topics. Her mother's maiden name was Rebecca S. Watson From the maternal side Miss Giles inherited a love of art and literature She early showed musical talent. Her fine voice was carefully cultivated by Hans Balatka. She was quite distinguished as an oratorio and church singer when her health failed, and she was compelled to abandon what promised to be a successful career in music. During the isolation illness rendered necessary she wrote her first romance. "Bachelor Ben" (Chicago, 1875). It had a very' wide sale, reaching the third edition in a few months and making its young author exceedingly popular throughout the Northwest. Her stories "Out From the Shadows" (1876), and Maiden Rachel" (18791 followed with the same publishers. Meanwhile Miss Giles received many calls for lectures and achieved success in that field. In 1879 she became librarian of the public library in Madison and held the position for five years, doing at the same time much literary work. She resigned after her mother's death, in 1884. so as to devote herself to the care of her father's home. Her first verses then began to appear and won an immediate favor. She has published one volume of poems entitled " Flowers of the Spirit" (Chicago, 1891). Her winters are always passed in the South, and she has written many newspaper letters from the Gulf coast of Mississippi and various parts of the South. She has made a study of Scandinavian literature and is known for her scholarly sketches of Swedish and Norwegian writers. These sketches were translated into Swedish and Norwegian by different authors. She has written many valuable articles on prison reform and ethical subjects, and now belongs to the Woman's Congress committee on journalism. Her letters, poems and sketches have appeared in the New York "Nation," the "Evening Post." the Chicago "Times," the "Home Journal," the "Magazine of Poetry," and many other northern and southern papers. Being deeply interested in liberal religious thought, she attended a course of lectures in the Meadville Theological School. She was on the staff of the Chicago "Times" for three years, still keeping her home on Lake Monona in Madison. She was the first woman to read a paper before the Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts and Letters.