Ellen Day Hale

1855 - 1940

A native of Worcester, MA, Ellen Day Hale was born into a privileged Boston family in 1855. Her father Edward Everett Hale was a prominent minister and writer, while both her brother Philip Leslie Hale and sister-in-law Lilian Wescott Hale also gained notoriety as painters.

Ellen Day Hale first visited Cape Ann in the 1870s as a student of William Morris Hunt and Helen Knowlton, and by 1883 she had met and befriended artist Gabrielle de Veaux Clements who was studying under Philadelphia etcher Stephen Parrish. The pair soon became close friends, and eventually both women established permanent summer residences in the neighborhood of Folly Cove.  


In his memoir, A Sculptor’s Fortunes, Walker Hancock (who lived in Lanesville from the early 1930s through the end of his life) talks about Hale and Clements, and their roles in establishing Folly Cove as a gathering spot for artists:


Folly Cove…had begun to attract artists at least two generations before I arrived. The first to settle there were Ellen Day Hale and Gabrielle deV. Clements….Their houses were close to each other, overlooking the cove. Miss Clements’ was a large frame structure not far back from the road. Miss Hale’s, a stone building, was on higher ground. Miss Clements had been a mural painter, but because of her age she at that juncture limited her work to etching. She was kind and patient enough to give me lessons in that art. Miss Hale continued with her portrait painting. Both ladies were very much a part of the local community…They were responsible for [sculptor] Charles Grafly’s buying a house and building a large studio nearby, having recommended “the Folly” to him as a healthful place in which to live.

Selected works by Ellen Day Hale

Sign up for e-news