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Ellen Glasgow's Geni Profile

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Ellen Anderson Gholson Glasgow

Birthdate: (72)
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, United States
Death: November 21, 1945 (72)
Richmond, Virginia, United States (Heart disease)
Place of Burial: Richmond, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Francis Thomas Glasgow, Sr. and Anne Jane Glasgow
Sister of Arthur Graham Glasgow and Francis Thomas Glasgow, Jr.

Occupation: Writer
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:

About Ellen Glasgow

Ellen Anderson Gholson Glasgow, born in Richmond, Va., on 22 April 1873, published her first novel, The Descendant, in 1897, when she was 24 years old. With this novel Glasgow began a literary career encompassing four and a half decades and comprising 20 novels, a collection of poems, one of stories, and a book of literary criticism. She received the 1942 Pulitzer Prize for her 1941 novel, "In This Our Life.". Miss Ellen died of long-standing heart disease in 1945, and though gone for two generations, she remains part of Richmond lore: it is said that if one stands before her house at One West Main Street late at night and is quiet one can hear the sound of a manual typewriter coming from within. And crying...

In 1923 a reviewer in Time characterized Glasgow:

"She is of the South; but she is not by any manner of means provincial. She was educated, being a delicate child, at home and at private schools. Yet she is by no means a woman secluded from life. She has wide contacts and interests. . . . Here is a really important figure in the history of American letters; for she has preserved for us the quality and the beauty of her real South."

Born into an aristocratic Virginia family, the young Glasgow rebelled against the conventional modes of feminine conduct and thought approved by her caste. Educated at home and through her own energetic readings in philosophy, social and political theory, and European and British literature, she developed a mind with enough strength and resilience to confront the truths of human experience without the sheltering illusions care fully nurtured by the dying southern aristocratic order she saw about her.

A popular writer, Glasgow was on the best-seller lists five times. In 1942 she received the Pulitzer Prize for her last published novel, In This Our Life, though by this time her powers had declined. Her artistic recognition had reached its height in 1931 when, as the acknowledged doyenne of southern letters, she presided over the Southern Writers Conference at the University of Virginia. For many years the victim of heart disease, she died in her sleep at home in Richmond on 21 November 1945.

Titles by Ellen Anderson Gholson Glasgow available on the site:

  • The Battle-Ground
  • The Deliverance: A Romance of the Virginia Tobacco Fields
  • Virginia
  • The Voice of the People

last word

  • In her somewhat gossipy posthumously published autobiography, Ellen Glasgow depicted James Branch Cabell as a man who was asked to leave the College of William and Mary because his friendship with a professor had been deemed by some at the school as "too intimate"; she also suggested that Cabell was behind the 1901 murder of John Scott, a wealthy Richmonder. It was rumored that Scott was "involved" with Cabell's mother and Cabell was suspected by many Richmonders of the murder.
  • Cabell had the last word on on the nature of Glasgow-Cabell relationship when he wrote about her in his As I Remember It (1955). In the essay "Speaks with Candor of a Great Lady," Cabell wrote of Glasgow: "I did not ever encounter, of course, quite the personage whom she depicted in Ellen Glasgow's autobiography, that beautiful and wise volume which contains a large deal of her very best fiction."


  1. Wikipedia, Find A Grave Memorial# 397, bibliography
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Ellen Glasgow's Timeline

April 22, 1873
Richmond, Virginia, United States
November 21, 1945
Age 72
Richmond, Virginia, United States
Age 71
Richmond, Virginia, United States