Poet and author Ella Rhoads Higginson was born in Council Grove, Kansas, on January 28, 1862. Her family moved to Portland, Oregon, when she was a child, and they later lived in Oregon City, Oregon.
Ella married Russell C. Higginson in 1886, and the couple moved to Bellingham, Washington. He was a druggist, and she began publishing her writing. Ella contributed to many magazines, including Harper's Magazine, McClure's Magazine, Once A Week, Scribner's Magazine, and Woman's Home Companion. She also was a book critic for The Seattle Times. Ella's most well-known poem was "Four Leaf Clover."
She served as editor of the women's department and contributed poems to West Shore. In 1905, Ella served as assistant editor of The Westerner, a new Seattle, Washington periodical that was edited by Edgar L. Hampton. According to The Ranch of June 15, 1905, "The feature in this number is 'Orilla," a Puget Sound novelette by Ella Higginson."
Ella was well-regarded by her contemporaries. The Seattle Republican of April 5, 1912, noted, "In Bellingham there lives one of the truly great novelists, Ella Higginson. Her 'Mary Ella Out West,' if that is the correct title, is the equal of either the 'Scarlet Letter' or 'Adam Bede.'"
In addition to her writing, Ella, a woman's rights supporter, was the campaign manager for Frances C. Axtell, the Washington State Legislature's first female member.
Ella's philanthropic work included being involved with founding Bellingham's first public library and volunteering for the American Red Cross.
On June 17, 1931, Ella received the honor of becoming the poet laureate of Washington State.
She passed away on December 27, 1940.
Ella was featured in "Ella Higginson and the Pacific Northwest" by Laura Laffrado on C-Span's BookTV video on December 9, 2013.
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Higginson, Ella. Alaska: The Great Country. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1910
Higginson, Ella. The Flower That Grew In The Sand and Other Stories. Seattle: The Calvert Company, 1896
- The Saint Paul globe. (St. Paul, Minn.), 13 June 1897. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90059523/1897-06-13/ed-1/seq-20/>
- The ranch. (Seattle, Wash.), 15 June 1905. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn98047754/1905-06-15/ed-1/seq-13/>
- The Seattle Republican. (Seattle, Wash.), 05 April 1912. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84025811/1912-04-05/ed-1/seq-4/>
- The Jewish outlook. (Denver, Colo.), 28 July 1905. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn91052361/1905-07-28/ed-1/seq-7/>
- The Dalles weekly chronicle. (The Dalles, Or.), 25 Sept. 1897. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/2003260222/1897-09-25/ed-1/seq-3/>
- The Dalles weekly chronicle. (The Dalles, Or.), 26 Feb. 1892. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/2003260222/1892-02-26/ed-1/seq-1/>