Archive for December, 2012

What ever happened to Elsie Scheel?

December 21, 2012

The story of Elsie Scheel, the “perfect specimen” among Cornell coeds in 1912, has come back around.  What ever happened to her after her that moment of fame?  I didn’t see an answer to that question in a quick look around, so I put some tidbits together about her life beyond the headlines.

Elsie Rachel* Rebecca Scheel (b. 1888) was born to Sophie Bade Scheel and John H. Scheel of Brooklyn, their fourth child of five.  Her mother Sophie was a physician, daughter of German immigrants, practicing and teaching at the New York Medical College and Hospital for Women.  Her father John, a hydropath, is credited with coining the term “naturopathy.” So she came from a family deeply involved in health and wellness, and more than passing supportive of women’s education and suffrage.   Sophie died in 1933; Elsie’s younger sister Senie Scheel died in Florida in 1985, age 93.

Not too long after leaving Cornell, Elsie married Frederick Rudolf Hirsh, and had at least two children, Elise and John (1921-2004).  Her son John became a surgeon in Florida.

That’s about all I can find right now.  If there’s more I’m missing, drop me a note in comments.  (I’ve seen snippets of a 1991 article from BBW, apparently written by one of Elsie’s children.  But I can’t see the whole article.)

*See comments on strikethru.