the great great grandmother

I know I've been completely absent for a few weeks, I've been traveling like mad, the summer house, the parent's house etc.... Finally home, to recoup from so much family bonding.

While in New Hampshire I went through some of the best family memorabilia. This is Ella Averill in 1880, my wonderful great great grandmother, with one of her notebooks from Wellesley. Such graceful handwriting she had, too.

The bigger of the two is one of her scrapbooks and the smaller is a wonderful little gem called "The Floral Birthday Book" which designates a flower and little saying or poem for each day of the year. The book was reproduced nearly 100 years later and is still for sale here.

I've always been so happy that my birthday's flower is the iris and that it means "I have a message for you". Perfect!

In my bedroom at Elmwood the wardrobe has Ella's closet organizer. She sweetly embroidered her initials and flowers in red on a great natural and rough canvas and trimmed it herself in red silk ribbon. I'm sure it hung in her dorm room, too.

I found her botanical sketchbook, which almost made me cry. She complied it for Miss Hallowell's botany class at Wellesley in 1878.

A lady slipper. My favorite!

These are Ella's botanical specimens. Each is noted with the plant's Latin name, common name, date (all from the late 1870's) and where she found it.

In a trunk in the attic there are 100's of these sheets. I think they should all be framed with delicate little frames and hung side by side like wallpaper.

Sigh, what an amazing gift for our family to still have all of these relics. Her transcribed journal, her sketchbooks, photos and letters. A whole life documented and with all of the pieces tucked away at her and our home in New Hampshire.


  1. Ella updates at last!

    I've missed your blog and glad you're back.
    With such exquisite photo's of archeological digs in an old attic. Almost ancient history comes alive.... thanks to you for the irrepressable adventuring spirit, eye to see and recognize worth and generousity to share your discoveries.

    Says a lot about who you are and what you value.

    Love Ella's drawing of the Lady slipper and the sweet album covers. Things were so much prettier then as well as practical.

  2. I have that Birthday book! I picked up from a flea market in Charleston SC. Sweet to see it here too!

  3. What an absolute treasure!!!! I can't imagine how incredible it must be to have something that tangible from your ancestors! So many people only know the names several generations back and even then it's just names on a family tree. Your family has a time capsule that must create the most amazing bond to the women that inspired the woman that inspired you.

  4. You are so very blessed to have all of these special heirlooms!