ancestral chart father mother index home

vitals sources
go to Charles Hoyt Ellingwood's page

Horatia, known by the nickname "Tip," was born in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, probably in an apartment building on Lee Street in what is now the heart of a Hasidic Jewish area. She was undoubtedly baptized at Christ (Episcopal) Church, where her parents are known to have gone. Her daughter Virginia said the minister there baptized Tip with the middle name Blanche, after someone in his family. This was a surprise to her parents, but they kept the name. I looked into this and it turns out the minister of that church at that time had a daughter named Blanche.
     Later this same year her parents decided to move out of the city to a farm near the Hudson River in Greenburgh. Her father died of heat stroke when she was a little over a year old. He was helping to unload their household items at the Tarrytown pier, having been brought up the river from the city. Tip's mother kept the family on the farm for a few years, but decided to move to the New Jersey suburbs. They were in Bloomfield first, then settled in Montclair.
     It's possible Tip went to Pratt University in Brooklyn since she was teaching there by the time she was 24 (1889), maybe earlier. Her specialty was wood carving. This article was printed in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, describing an open-house and exhibition at Pratt. It refers to wood carving specifically, but also how Pratt nurtured the idea that women could have careers to support themselves:

"Leaving the industrial-design studios, we come to a room where numerous specimens of work indicate very good results in wood-carving. In addition to instruction in the use and care of tools, and in technical methods in wood-carving, the student [in general] is required in the two-year course to practise free-hand drawing, design, clay-modeling, and to study the principles of construction...These are students of the normal art course. Most of them have had much experience as teachers in public and private schools, or have been engaged in various lines of art work. No other work of the art department is more vitally important than the training of competent teachers of art. The first graduate of the course went out in 1890 [Tip may have completed a course specifically in wood-carving before this], yet already sixty-one are employed in different parts of the country. Some are supervisors of drawing in large cities, others are teachers of drawing in normal schools and in high schools, and directly or indirectly are influencing the work of nearly 5000 teachers and of more than 245,000 students.
     In addition to the general Institute exhibit... there is an alcove showing the work of the women pupils and graduates. The former is a presentation rather of the educational phase of the work; the latter aims to show how, while thoroughly educative, the Institute courses are valuable as a training in the arts and industries by the practice of which women may become self-supporting. The significance of such an exhibit cannot be even suggested in a few words. It is easy to talk sounding words about woman's emancipation. On the floor and walls and in the show-cases of this little room there is the blazon of a great victory. It is here evident that woman has not been crushed out of the battle for bread by the indiscriminating competition of the times. If invention introduced complexity into the industrial system, it also opened the way for woman's taste, skill, and deftness of touch. Almost every piece of work here is in some way connected with the idea of home. Woman's true emancipation, it would seem, does not take her from her mission as the maker and glorifier of home. The exhibit includes work done by women pursuing sixteen different self-supporting occupations learned at the Pratt Institute. The drawings, articles manufactured from students' designs, wood-carvings, dresses, bonnets, etc., cannot here be described. The whole exhibit is highly creditable and very interesting. Of the great host of 2,700,000 women who are making a living in professional or in industrial occupations, 1320 are known to have received their training at the Pratt Institute. From the normal art course have gone out 61 supervisors and teachers of drawing whose annual salaries average $768.06. Graduates from the courses in design, art-needlework, and woodcarving are holding positions as teachers, or are serving as designers in well-known establishments, or are practising their professions independently. Three alumnae of the architectural course hold good positions in an architect's office. Ninety-six of those trained in cookery and laundry work are earning a livelihood, and doubtless exerting an influence for good; for what is more redolent of ethics than a well-cooked steak, or where will you find more character than in a well-laundered shirt-bosom?"

     I don't know what Pratt's philosophy was, but the writer turns the idea of this work into a glorification of the home, where women, essentially, belong. You wonder how wood carving could be considered a dometic pursuit, but he was evoking a popular norm. Some of the most noted male an female artists in the United States, especially graphic artists, of the late 19th and early 20th centuries attended Pratt and had bona fide careers. Tip was acquainted with some of those and other prominent artists, probably and partly in connection with the Cornish (New Hampshire) Art Colony. Daughter Virginia said she knew Maxfield Parrish, who definitely visited the colony, and a letter Tip wrote to her describes a house she remembered seeing, built for musician Arthur Whiting. His house in Cornish fits her description.

two examples of Tip's woodcarving (the dragon was unfinished)

Tip probably met Charles Ellingwood in Brooklyn. He and his mother were living in the same neighborhood as Tip, and they all may have attended the Church of the Redeemer at the corner of Pacific and Fifth Streets. Both families had Montclair connections, but how they would have met in that way is less clear. They married at Tip's mother's house, 203 Claremont Street in Montclair, by the minister of St. Luke's Episcopal Church. By then Cunninghams and Ellingwoods lived in adjacent houses at 78 and 80 Clinton Street.
      Tip taught at Pratt up to the time she married, but from what I know she gave up her art work to raise her two daughters. Later in life she and the family spent summers at their house in Groton Long Point, Connecticut. Generally she seems to have enjoyed a life of leisure that involved maids, a governess, a cook and a chauffeur, but it wasn't all good. Her daughter Evelyn contracted menengitis as a child and ended up with nerve damage from a spinal tap. Tip lamented in a letter to Virginia the resentment Evelyn felt towards her sister. This was among the things that she hoped would be resolved before she died. The other was Charles' excessive drinking.

children of Horatia Blanche Cunningham and Charles Hoyt Ellingwood:

i. Evelyn Horatia b. 16 July 1896
ii. Virginia b. 5 June 1898

sources for vital records: Horatia's birth, marriage and death dates are found in private family records. There are no municipal vital records for Williamsburg before the consolidation to form the Borough of Brooklyn. New Jersey records have not been searched to confirm her marriage and death. Her marriage and death were reported in The New York Times (issues of 5 September 1895, p. 5, and 30 December 1947, p. 23, respectively). She is buried in Restland Memorial Park, 77 DeForest Ave., East Hanover, NJ, Olive section, plot 96A.

1. included as a reprint in Gaslight New York Revisited, ed. Frank Appel.

all text and photographs © 1998-2019 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted