Born in Kentucky in 1883, George Elliston led an extraordinary life. She was a reporter for the former Cincinnati Times-Star for over 40 years. At a time when most newspaperwomen were forced into writing for the society or cooking sections, George Elliston was a hard-news reporter covering crime, murder, and local tragedies. She was known for going to great lengths (and dangers) to get a story.
While her professional life was spent reporting, much of her personal time was devoted to writing poetry that appeared in newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and reproduced in anthologies in France, Germany, Great Britain, and China.
Ms. Elliston married Augustus Coleman in 1907 and briefly moved with him to St. Louis. She soon returned alone to Cincinnati where she would remain without her husband for the remainder of her life. It was under her married name, however, that George Elliston bought valuable Cincinnati real estate that would later earn her a small fortune.
Upon her death in 1946, both the community and then-UC president Raymond Walters were shocked to learn that George Elliston had left nearly a quarter of a million dollars to the University. Most people, even those close to her, assumed George Elliston to be a poor woman because of her modest lifestyle. They all knew her to be a lover of poetry, though, and it was this lifelong love that led her to leave the bulk of her estate to UC. It was her wish that the University “…establish a trust fund to be known as the George Elliston Poetry Trust Fund…the income from which is to establish, as far as practicable, a chair of poetry to encourage and promote the study and composition of poetry.”