Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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ELLET, William Henry, chemist, born in New York City, 1 November 1806; died there, 26 January 1859. He was graduated at Columbia in 1824, and subsequently, while studying medicine, gained a gold medal for a dissertation on the compounds of cyanogen. In 1830 he became lecturer on elementary chemistry in Columbia College, and two years later was promoted to the chair of that name, but in 1835 was made professor of chemistry, mineralogy, and geology in South Carolina College. For his discovery of a new and cheap method of preparing guncotton the legislature of South Carolina presented him with a service of silver plate. In 1848 he returned to New York, and in 1854 became consulting chemist of the Manhattan gas company, which office he held until his death.
His wife, Elizabeth Fries Ellet, author, born in Sodus Point, New York, in 1818; died 3 June 1877, was the daughter of Dr. William Nixion Lummis. She was educared at the Aurora, New York, female seminary, and after her marriage with Dr. Ellet, about 1835, began to write for periodicals. She has contributed largely to magazines and reviews, and has published a translation of Silvio Pellicoe's "Euphemia of Messina " (1834); "Teresa Contarini," a tragedy, which was represented in New York (1835): "Poeros, Original and Selected " (Philadelphia, 1835); "Scenes in the Life of Joanna of Sicily" (Boston, 1840); "Characters of Schiller" (1842); "Family Pictures from the Bible "(New York, 1849); "Evenings at Woodlawn" (1850); "Domestic History of the American Revolution" (1850); "Watching Spirits " (1851); "Women of the American Revolution" (1851); "Pioneer Women of the West" (1852); "Novelettes of the Musicians" (1852); "Summer Rambles in the West" (1853); "The Practical Housekeeper, a Cyclopaedia of Domestic Economy" (1857); "Women Artists in all Ages and Countries" (1861); "Queens of American Society" (1867); and "Court Circles of the Republic," with Mrs. R. E. Mack (Hartford, 1869).
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