What a shock then, when, as I am editing the final draft of the last book in the Durant Family Saga trilogy: The Night is Done, I received an email from a person who holds Ella's scrapbook dated 1854-1920. It was given to them by one of Ella's distant relatives, Howard Rose, before he died in 1984, and saved from being inadvertently thrown out by his second wife. They had it kept it for 30 years and decided to do some research when they stumbled upon my website.
To the right is a type written record of her lineage (she would be angry to know I have her as three years older than she really was in my novels); her wedding certificate from her first marriage is in the book; news article about the disastrous wedding plans in Bavaria which is recounted in my second novel, Castles in the Air; an official document from a hospital in London awarding her a certificate as a midwife in 1888; and an undated letter, type-written and signed by her long-time friend Poultney Bigelow, soon after his first divorce (~1902), thanking Ella for her support and warning her not to communicate with his daughter Mildred.
Interestingly, the scrapbook is contained in an art portfolio with the insignia of Ella's daughter-in-law, Lillian Tiffany Rose, who I've also written about because I found some of her letters and sketches in Poultney Bigelow's collection of letters at the New York Public Library. Inside the scrapbook are blue prints for the house/cottage Ella lived in with her son Durant and daughter-in-law Lillian Tiffany in New City, NY.
Indeed, Ella's daughter-in-law, Lillian Tiffany was a famous artist and I have had several inquires about her but I haven't been able to find any biographical information on Lillian Tiffany (although some of her sketches of dogs sell for over 2k at auction). But then, serendipity has a way of finding me, because I received a comment on my blog about Lillian only a few days after hearing from the couple who have Ella's scrapbook, this time from an auctioneer, who said that a man came by his gallery with four scrapbooks that belonged to Lillian Tiffany Rose. These will be auctioned off in May. I hope they go to a museum or library.
Currently, the only library I am aware of that has any primary material on Heloise (Ella) Durant Rose is Syracuse University. It would be great to see these scrapbooks housed there someday, along with her small collection of letters from famous friends and colleagues. I am hopeful that Ella's story can be put to rest. At least that is what I plan to do with The Night is Done.