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Dow, Elsie



  • Existence: 1859-1944

Biographical Statement

Elsie Storrs Dow was born in Sycamore, Illinois in 1859 to Roswell and Theresa E. Dow. Mr. Dow was a trustee of Wheaton College from 1878 to 1901 and was a well-known educator.

Dow came to study at Wheaton College in 1877 in the Classical program, usually taken by men, and graduated in 1881. After completing her studies at Wheaton she taught at Reed’s Ferry Academy in Manchester, New Hampshire. After four years of teaching she returned to Sycamore and taught for a year. During this time Dow received a Master of Arts degree from Wheaton. Afterward her year of teaching she moved again and became principal of Wasioja Academy in Minnesota until 1889.

In was in 1889 that she returned to her Alma Mater and assumed the Samuel Plumb Professorship of English Literature. She also served as Dean of Women from 1893 to 1901 and also taught courses in classics, history, and mathematics in additional to her English courses. She also served as Registrar for a time. Dow occupied the chair of the English Department for forty-six years and taught three generations of students as her teaching career spanned over five decades. Elsie Dow was known by her colleagues as an authority on Shakespeare and Browning.

At some time she took some graduate courses at Harvard University. She received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Lawrence College in 1922.

Dow died at 85 years of age on October 29, 1944 and was buried at Elmwood cemetery in Sycamore.


Author: Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections staff

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Elsie Dow Papers

Identifier: SC-084
Scope and Contents The Dow papers are organized into five series (Biographical, Correspondence, Manuscripts, Publish Material and Secondary). The bulk of the collection relates to Dow’s teaching and speaking career and includes notebooks, speeches and class notes. Another portion of some significance is genealogical files located with the biographical series. The collection contains several folders of correspondence in various series.
Dates: Created: 1827-1944

MSS | Elsie Dow Papers

Identifier: 2010-0628