|Elliott, Maud Howe, 1854-1948|
Maud Howe Elliott lived a very long life and certainly made the most of it. She was born at the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston on November 9, 1854. Her father, Samuel Gridley Howe, a noted physician and social reformer, directed the institution, but most people became familiar with her mother, Julia Ward Howe, who wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic and later battled for the cause of women’s rights.
Maud was the driving force behind the founding of the Newport Art Association and served as its secretary until she was eighty-seven years old. She and her sisters, Laura Richards and Florence Howe Hall were recipients of the first Pulitzer Prize for biography or autobiography in 1917 when they collaborated on a book about their celebrated mother.
Maud had been privately educated by her mother both in the United States and Europe and counted among her mentors Emerson and Longfellow. She married English artist John Elliott on February 7, 1887 and they lived for several years in Chicago and Italy before settling in Newport.
Beginning in 1918 and continuing until her death in 1948, Maud lived in a mansion she called “Lilliput,” at 150 Rhode Island Avenue in Newport. Here she continued to write–eventually publishing twenty books. Her first novel was A Newport Aquarelle published in 1883 when she was twenty-nine, and her last volume, This Was My Newport, appeared in 1944 when she was ninety. Maud was a member of the Miantonomi Park Memorial Commission which was responsible for the World War I Memorial Tower located on Hillside and Girard Avenues.
Not all of Maud Howe Elliott’s writings were published, especially those relating to her life. Two of them, Afternoon Tea and Memories of Eighty Years are in the John Hay Library at Brown University along with scrapbooks detailing her lifetime of honors, particularly in the fields of art and literature.