The Misses Elliot of Geneva
Warren Hunting Smith: The Quintessential Genevan by Bill Kauffman
The Misses Elliot of Geneva was first published in 1940 by Farrar & Rinehart. Two printings were made that year, and seven years later the W. F. Humphrey Press made a third printing. The book was reprinted in the Crooked Lake Review with the permission of the author between December 1992 and December 1994.
The Misses Elliot of Geneva was written as a humorous tribute to the eccentric characters who flourished in Geneva, N.Y., at the beginning of this century. The two characters who are featured in the title were based on an actual pair, but anecdotes about other bygone Genevans are often interwoven with the originals, so that to some extent they are composites. The original pair were more polite, and their utterances more circuitous than those of 'Miss Primrose' and 'Miss Candida,' whose tongues have been greatly sharpened, though I have not exaggerated their underlying prejudices. One of the pair, I am told, actually left money in her will to the City of Geneva, and had taught a Sunday-School class in her younger days.
The other characters are also somewhat exaggerated, but together they present a picture of a small-town society.
When the book first appeared, there was some indignation among older Genevans, but one of them admitted that "after all, I wouldn't mind being remembered for my witty remarks."