Mrs Elisabeth Neville COOLIDGE, née Brevoort (1822–1875)
St Giles section: Row 31, Grave J25

Elizabeth Brevoort















See also the adjoining grave of her sister, the mountaineer Miss Meta Claudia Brevoort


Elisabeth Coolidge


Elisabeth Neville Brevoort (left) was born in Charleston, South Carolina on 5 January 1822.

Her sister the mountaineer Marguerite Claudia Brevoort, who was always known as Meta, was born in New York on 8 November 1825.

They were from a wealthy New York family of Dutch origin who had made their fortune in the fur trade.


Left: Image of Mrs Elisabeth Coolidge from Ronald W. Clarke,
An Eccentric in the Alps
(Museum Press, 1959)

On 14 July 1849 in New York, Elisabeth Neville Brevoort married the Boston merchant Frederick William Skinner Coolidge. Born in Boston on 14 April 1816, he was the son of Samuel F. and Nancy Sanderson Coolidge, and a distant relative of the future President Calvin Coolidge. They had four children:

  • William Augustus Brevoort Coolidge (born at Long Island, New York on 28 August 1850)
  • Laura Sanderson Coolidge (born in New York on 25 October 1853; died in Penataquit, USA on 20 July 1861)
  • Frederick Coolidge (born on 27 June 1855, died 25 April 1860)
  • Elisabeth Brevoort Coolidge, known as Lil (born in Newport, Long Island on 24 August 1857).

Their two surviving children were initially brought up in the USA and William was first educated at St Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire. He was then educated privately in Paris, and moved on to Elisabeth College Guernsey.

In 1864 Mrs Elisabeth Coolidge moved to Europe permanently with her sister Meta Brevoort and her two children, leaving her husband behind in New York. They initially lived in Florence, Switzerland, and Germany.

Meta Brevoort


In August 1865, when Elisabeth's son William was 14, his Aunt Meta introduced him to mountain climbing, and he became an outstanding mountaineer.


Right: William Brevoort with his aunt and his
dog Tschingel (who herself made 66 ascents)

11 Museum Road
6 Museum Terrace, later 11 Museum Road

On 18 May 1869, when he was 18, William Coolidge was matriculated at the University of Oxford from Exeter College, and it was around this time that Elisabeth and her sister Meta came to live in Oxford, where they took a house at 6 Museum Terrace (now renumbered 11 Museum Road, and the left-hand side of Lady Abraham House).

At the time of the 1871 census Mrs Elisabeth Coolidge (49) and Elisabeth’s children William (20), described as an undergraduate at Exeter College, and Elisabeth (13), who was at school, were living at 6 Museum Terrace with Elisabeth's older sister Meta (45), who was described as the head of the household.

Mrs Coolidge died in that house in 1875:

Mrs Elisabeth Neville Coolidge, née Brevoort died at 6 Museum Terrace at the age of 53 on 4 January 1875 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 8 January (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church).

Her death notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 16 January 1875 read simply: “Jan. 4, at 6, Museum-terrace, Oxford, Elisabeth Neville, wife of F. W. Coolidge, Esq., and eldest daughter of the late Henry Brevoort, Esq., of New York.”

Later that same year, her son William Coolidge was appointed a Fellow of Magdalen College, allegedly the first foreigner in its history.

Elisabeth's sister Meta Brevoort moved to Dorking with her niece Elisabeth in 1876, and died there near the end of that year. She was buried in the adjoining grave.

Following the death of his aunt, Meta Brevoort, Elisabeth's son William Coolidge began his work on Alpine history.

Surviving children of Mrs Elisabeth Neville Coolidge
  • William Augustus Brevoort Coolidge (born 1850) never married and remained a Fellow of Magdalen College until his death. He was ordained deacon in 1882 and priest in 1883, and between 1883 and 1896 he regularly acted as honorary curate at South Hinksey (where he then lived). At the time of the 1891 census he was boarding at the Cross Hotel in St Davids, Pembrokeshire. In 1896 he moved permanently to Grindelwald, where he died on 8 May 1926. His full biography can be found in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and he also has a short Wikipedia entry. His obituary is in the Oxford Magazine of 1925 (pp.501–2).
  • Elisabeth Brevoort Coolidge (“Lil”, born 1857) married Alexander Cameron Brock in Dorking in 1880, and they had seven children, of whom only two survived to adulthood: Neville Brevoort Carey Brock (born 1883) and Constance May Brock, known as Cissie (born 1891). They were living at The Old House, Dorking when Lil's husband died at Bethlem Royal Hospital on 12 April 1898: his effects came to £381 3s., and their son Neville, now a Royal Navy lieutenant, was his executor. Lil died in the Stroud district in the fourth quarter of 1906 at the age of 49.



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