Ellen H. Graham

ellen graham
Ellen H. Graham died from Alzheimer's disease on November 21, 2006 at Whitney Center, Hamden, Connecticut, at age 85. She was born in Oxford, Mississippi, youngest of 3 children of Arthur Palmer and Grace Hudson. As a child her family moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she graduated high school as valedictorian, majored in French at the University of North Carolina, and met her first husband and father of her children. In 1951 she and her young family moved to Gainesville, Florida, a place of many memories. They spent the 1955-56 academic year in Copenhagen and touring abroad. In 1961 the family moved to Madison, Wisconsin. When her children reached high school she began to work at the University of Wisconsin Press as a freelance copy editor, and advanced to a full time editorial position. In 1969 she moved to New Haven to join the Yale University Press, advancing to senior acquisitions editor in literary criticism and anthropology by the time of her retirement in 1991. She took pride in the many books whose publication she encouraged and enabled, including "Sexual Personae" (Paglia), "The Madwoman in the Attic" (Gilbert/Gubar), "Mary Chesnut's War" (Woodward), "French in Action" (Capretz), "The Children of Pride" (Myers), "Holocaust Memories" (Langer), "Faust" (trans. Martin Greenberg, who commented, "Ellen Graham of Yale University Press again provided the kind of editorial support I used to think one could expect from editors only in heaven.") She is survived by her two deeply loved children, Liz Vowles of Madison, Wisconsin, and Richard Vowles, married to Christine, of Washington state; her two ex-husbands, Richard B. Vowles (emeritus professor, UW Madison) and Charles Graham; and her sister's children. She was preceded in death by her parents and her siblings, William Hudson and Louise (Foster, Coleman); a dear friend and traveling companion, Fred Cassidy; an admired and loved son-in-law, Lloyd Mueller; and a number of cats and small dogs. Ellen Graham was a lovely, gracious, intelligent lady, and a person of firm resolve. She valued and cultivated her friendships. She took special delight in reading, with friends, to Fred Clark, as his eyesight failed but his love of words did not. A (gentle) stickler for the correct use of words, she knew how to use "lie" and "lay" and probably never once said "hopefully." She read voraciously, enjoyed regular games of bridge, and later in life became an avid Mets fan. She never missed an election, always voting Democratic. We remember her with love and admiration. Special thanks go to the nursing staff at Whitney Health Center for their 3 years of devoted care. A memorial celebration will be held at a later date at Whitney Center. Arrangements in care of BEECHER & BENNETT, 2300 Whitney Ave., Hamden.

View current weather.

Memories Timeline


  1. As a student in Madison, a friend of Ellen’s daughter, Liz, I knew her as a mother and wife. I got to know her better years later in New York City, and on a trip with her and Liz to Cape Cod. I was always inspired by her independence — both in lifestyle and in thought, her courageous choices, and her understanding and acceptance of her children. I am glad she is no longer suffering.

  2. Dear Liz and Richard, I did not know Ellen personally and yet have come to sense her enormous love, acceptance of her children and the esteem in which she was held by you. I send my thoughts and feelings full of love and support. Love, Linda

  3. Dear Liz and Richard, I did not know Ellen personally and yet have come to sense her enormous love, acceptance of her children and the esteem in which she was held by you. I send my thoughts and feelings full of love and support. Love, Linda

  4. Dear Richard and Liz, Knowing and caring for Ellen has touched my life. She was a beautiful woman with a warm gentle soul. My son, now 12, comes in to volunteer here periodically and I remember one particular visit last year when we sat with Ellen. Her conversation was quite confused at the time, but she took his hand and told him she was going to make him some cookies. She smiled warmly and wanted nothing more than to do for others-even in the later stages of her life. My thoughts and prayers are with you both, for losing a mother is never easy. It is obvious that you were loved dearly by her. With sympathy, Michele

  5. Ellen was my cousin, though I never really knew her. I have fond memories of her parents, who were my great Aunt Grace & Uncle Palmer. May your family have peace and comfort during this time of loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  6. Having met ‘Liz’s mom’ only on a few occassions, we didn’t know her well. However, we knew her well enough to know she was a sweet, smart & fun lady. Our favorite and most lasting memory is from Lloyd’s ‘celebration’ party. Your mother & (a very over-served) Bruce Labansky are sitting in the garage alone, side by side, watching the World Series. Arvid & I send our most sincere sympathies. We know ‘the great spirit’ will welcome such a wonderful lady.

  7. I was sorry to hear that Ellen had passed on. I met her several times, most notably once when she offered me help with my own publication questions. My father, Fred Cassidy, admired Ellen greatly and spoke of her with great fondness until his own death. In memory of both, my best wishes to all your family. Claire Cassidy

  8. What a lovely web page. I’m very glad that I clicked on the link. She must have been a wonderful woman. My sympathy goes to all who knew and loved Ellen, especially my dear friend, Liz.

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

Accessibility Tools