Eloise Roorbach

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Eloise Roorbach (April 17, 1868 – February 16, 1961) was an American artist, writer, editor, and critic.

Early life and education[edit]

Eloise Jenkins was born in Lincoln, Illinois, daughter of John Jenkins (who was a judge) and Minnie Spencer Eads Jenkins. She taught drawing locally as a young woman,[1] then studied art in New York City, where she met and married one of the instructors, landscape painter George S. Roorbach, in 1889. They moved to San Francisco together and built a redwood bungalow at Brookdale, in the Santa Cruz Mountains.[2]


Magazine illustration (1911) by Eloise Roorbach

Eloise Roorbach published travel essays about California, usually writing about a trip through the wilderness or along the coast, sometimes with her own illustrations.[3][4] "The most desirable place in the world is, generally, that enchanted spot just a little beyond the foot of ground we happen to be in," she declared of her pleasure in exploring her adopted state.[5]

Roorbach left her husband in 1910 and relocated back to New York City, where she worked as an editor at Craftsman Magazine, writing mainly (but not exclusively) about garden topics.[6][7] She earned a reputation as a critic of California architecture, with articles about architect Irving Gill, and the California Mission style.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14]

Personal life[edit]

Both Eloise and George Roorbach were involved with Swami Vivekananda and Vedanta Society in the Bay Area, and for a short time Eloise was leader of the Alameda House of Truth.[15] The Roorbachs divorced in 1912,[16][17] and George remarried in 1913. Eloise Roorbach died in 1961, age 92.


  1. ^ Lawrence Beaumont Stringer, History of Logan County Illinois (Unigraphic 1911): 447.
  2. ^ "Landscape Artist Sued for Divorce; Talented Wife of George S. Roorbach Charges Him with Failure to Provide," San Francisco Call 112(70)(August 9, 1912): 15. via Newspapers.com open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ Eloise Roorbach, "The Big Basin," Overland Monthly (October 1907): 301-308.
  4. ^ Eloise Roorbach, "The Torrey Pine," American Forestry 20(1914): 92-100.
  5. ^ Eloise J. Roorbach, "From Santa Cruz to Monterey by Way of the Beach," Western Field: The Sportsman's Magazine of the West 12(1908): 8-12.
  6. ^ Eloise Roorbach, "Peonies, The Sweet Witches of the Garden," The Craftsman 27(1914): 20-28.
  7. ^ Eloise Roorbach, "'Outdoor' Life in California Houses, as Expressed in the New Architecture of Irving J. Gill," The Craftsman 24(4)(July 1913): 437.
  8. ^ David Reid, Sex, Death, and God in L. A. (Knopf Doubleday Publishing 2013). ISBN
  9. ^ Eloise Roorbach, "A California House of Distinguished Simplicity," House Beautiful 49(February 1921).
  10. ^ Eloise Roorbach, "Some Modern California Architecture: From the Wealth of Its Spanish and Indian Legacies Architecture on the Coast is Evolving Significant Types," House and Garden 40(November 1921): 21-25.
  11. ^ Eloise Roorbach, "Romance and History Told in the Architecture of the Spanish Wing of the Mission Inn: Myron Hunt, Architect," The Touchstone 8(1920): 13-18.
  12. ^ Roorbach, Eloise M. (August 1912), "A New Architecture in a New Land", The Craftsman, 22: 465–473
  13. ^ Roorbach, Eloise M. (April 1913), "Celebrating Simplicity in Architecture", Western Architect, 19: 35–41
  14. ^ Roorbach, Eloise M. (December 1913), "The Garden Apartments of California", Architectural Record, 34: 520–530
  15. ^ "Swami Vivekananda at Camp Taylor," Vedanta Society of Northern California.
  16. ^ "Wife of Artist Seeks Divorce; Eloise Roorback Sues; Declaring Her Husband is Extravagant," Oakland Tribune (August 8, 1912): 9. via Newspapers.com open access publication – free to read
  17. ^ "Artistic Souls Unhappily Wed; Eloise Roorbach Says George Roorbach is Good Painter, but Poor Mate," San Francisco Chronicle (August 9, 1912): 16. via Newspapers.com open access publication – free to read