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Winter Park Library Archive

Ella Kaiser Carruth

Author - She Wanted to Read: The Story of Mary McLeod Bethune

Ella Kaiser Carruth was born in 1882 in Cleveland, Ohio. She was educated at Flora Stone Mather College and Western Reserve University in Ohio, and later at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she earned an A.B. degree. She was a teacher by profession.

In 1907 she married William M. Carruth, a professor of Mathematics at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York.

The Carruths lived in the town of Clinton for many years. Mrs. Carruth was a member of the Board of Trustees for the Kirkland Library in Clinton, and spent several years as the president of that board. The library’s Historical Room was established under her leadership.

Ella Carruth moved to Winter Park after her husband’s death in 1943 and lived at the Alabama Hotel. During her many years as a Winter park resident, she was active in the Friends of the Winter Park Library. She was also associated with the Science Library at Rollins College. Her later years were spent at the Winter Park Towers.

Mrs. Carruth wrote numerous articles for magazines and newspapers. Some of the magazine titles include: Yankee, Table Talk, Best Years, Harvest Years, The Open Road, Science Digest, & The Vermonter. Some of her writings were published under her pen name, Delane Heath. At the age of 85, her first book was published. It was a biography of Mary McLeod Bethune, entitled: She Wanted to Read. It met with fine reviews. Her collection also includes a manuscript for the second book she had written, entitled: The Education of Zora Neale Hurston. Unfortunately, no publishers were interested in this work, and their letters of rejection are also included in her papers.

Mrs. Carruth made Winter Park her home for 31 years. She died on March 13th, 1974. She was buried in Clinton, New York.

This article was written by former archivist, Barbara White, MLIS.

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