Ellen Day Hale
Ellen Day Hale was born on February 11, 1855 in Worcester, Massachusetts, into an elite Boston Brahmin family. Hale's father was author and orator Edward Everett Hale, and her mother was Emily Baldwin Perkins. Although the Hale family was well respected among the Boston upper class, they were not exceptionally wealthy. Her father acted as a Unitarian chaplain in the U.S. Senate from 1904 until his death in 1909, and Hale often assisted her father in his church-related duties. Hale was one of eight children, and she helped her mother and father take care of her younger siblings. From a young age, Hale was raised within an artistic atmosphere, as her mother encouraged her interest in art, and her aunt, watercolorist Susan Hale, most likely provided her first artistic instruction. Her brother was Philip Leslie Hale, a celebrated artist and art critic, and he married Lilian Westcott Hale, an Impressionist painter.
Hale's family background provided her with a network of strong female role models. Her great-aunt was Harriet Beecher Stowe, abolitionist and author of the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. Educator Catharine Beecher and suffragist Isabella Beecher Hooker were also great-aunts. One of Hale's first cousins was writer and social reformer Charlotte Perkins Gilman, best known for her short story "The Yellow Wallpaper".