Emily Ellsworth (Fowler) Ford was an educated nineteenth-century women who wrote prolifically from adolescence until her death in 1893. Her work was published in a variety of contemporary literary journals, magazines, and newspapers. She was the granddaughter of Noah Webster and wife of Gordon Lester Ford, a prominent businessman and lawyer, with whom she raised their seven children. Ford was involved in many charitable organizations around her home in Brooklyn and was well-known within social and literary circles. The collection consists of family and general correspondence, Ford's published and unpublished writing, notes and keepsakes, and a small number of photographs. The material spans parts of her childhood in Amherst through her death in 1893.
Biographical/historical: Emily Ellsworth (Fowler) Ford (1826-1893), a granddaughter of Noah Webster (1748-1843) the lexicographer, and daughter of William Chauncey Fowler (1793-1881) a professor of rhetoric and oratory and English literature at Amherst College (1838-1843), grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts and moved to Brooklyn, New York in late 1853 upon her marriage to Gordon Lester Ford (1823-1891), a businessman and lawyer. Ford came from a prominent family, well-connected within both social and literary circles. Her family was friends with the Dickinson family, also of Amherst, and Ford and Emily Dickinson were childhood friends. Together they discussed literature and formed an adolescent group that wrote recreationally. Ford's literary aspirations continued into adulthood where she became a prolific writer of poetry and narrative, and achieved publication in various newspapers and magazines, along with My Recreations (1872), a collection of her poetry. Her publications are represented throughout some of the better-known nineteenth-century magazines and journals, such as The Atlantic Monthly, Scribner's, Harper's, and the New York Tribune. Ford was also active within several charity organizations including the Brooklyn Orphan Asylum and helped to organize fundraisers. She had four surviving daughters Kathleen Gordon (Ford) Turle (b.1856), Mabel Percy (Ford) Mayo-Smith (b.1863), Rosalie Greenleaf (Ford) Barr (b.1859), Emily Ellsworth (Ford) Skeel (b.1869), and three sons, Worthington Chauncey Ford (b.1858), a prominent historian and writer, Malcolm Webster Ford (b.1862), a well-known amateur athlete, and Paul Leicester Ford (b.1865), an historian and popular novelist. The children were educated and raised with the Ford family library, renowned for its vast holdings and collections.
Content: The collection consists of family and general correspondence, Ford's published and unpublished writing, commonplace books, notes and keepsakes, and a small number of photographs. The material spans parts of her childhood in Amherst through her death in 1893.