Sunday, February 7, 2016

Who Lived Here? A Career Woman Along South Emerson Avenue

Leonora Showalter Ross, a journalist, wrote for the Indianapolis Star throughout the late 1910s and most of the 1920s. She served as both the "Home Planning" editor as well as the music editor for the daily paper. In the summer of 1923, Mrs. Ross wrote a series about the discovery of a trunk found in the attic of a New Castle, Indiana home. Contained in that trunk were letters and personal papers belonging to the Indiana poet, James Whitcomb Riley. She also wrote of a visit by Harry Houdini to the city of Indianapolis. Thousands of Hoosier readers perused her stories daily.

Her personal life remains somewhat unclear at this time. In 1914, at the age of 18 she married David N. Ross in Missouri. They moved to Indianapolis likely because Mr. Ross found a job with a local radiator factory. She began working for the Star shortly after her arrival to the city. By 1922, the couple purchased 346 South Emerson Avenue and started a family. They would have three children. Mrs. Ross did not give up her career as most women would have done during this era. She joined a local writers' club and a women's league. She hosted bridge parties in her home. Then, according to a blurb in the Society section of the Indianapolis Star, Leonora Ross drove to New York City and sailed to Europe in the summer of 1928. Did she stay in Europe? The 1930 census lists her husband, children, and even her mother, Katherine Showalter, residing along South Emerson Avenue, but no Leonora Ross. A newspaper article about the marriage of her first daughter in 1936 does not mention her as present. Where was Leonora Ross? By 1941, she seems to have returned to her husband and family as a newspaper account mentions her attending her third child's graduation from Arsenal Tech High School in 1941.

The Ross family dwelled in the American Four Square along Emerson Avenue until 1938. They then moved to a home along Sutherland Avenue. Information on indicates that the couple might have lived into the 1980s, but an Indianapolis Star article about Houdini in 1976 referred to the "late Mrs. Leonora Ross." Perhaps a Ross descendant will find this article and help to shed light on this interesting journalist who once called Irvington home.

Taken from Fellow Citizens of Indianapolis, 1926

346 South Emerson Avenue in 2016

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