Crafting a Legacy - The Late Widowhood of Lady Elizabeth Cooke Hoby Russell, 1590-1609

Frankie Kristine Urrutia-Smith
Lady Elizabeth Cooke Hoby Russell is known as one of the remarkably educated Cooke sisters of the Elizabethan period. She married first Thomas Hoby and then John Russell and had seven children. After being widowed twice, Elizabeth became known as a powerful courtier. She was a devout Protestant and became famous for barring Shakespeare from building the Globe Theatre in her neighborhood. Although many scholars have addressed the period of early widowhood in Elizabeth's life, few have directly
more » ... vestigated how her life may have changed in its last decade. This paper will explore how Lady Russell crafted her own legacy using print publication and funeral monument design. Elizabeth and her sisters were recognized by their contemporaries as capable scholars, but Elizabeth published her first full-length translation of a work in 1605, only four years before her death. The finished publication reveals important messages which Elizabeth wanted the reader to understand about her family, her social status, and her religious beliefs. Also invaluable to this study are the funeral monuments commissioned by Elizabeth, including her own. Using strong visual imagery and well-crafted epitaph writing, Elizabeth intentionally preserved the memories of herself and her family. The aims of this paper are to illustrate the importance of historical self-expression to modern understanding and the value of the study of women in late adulthood.
doi:10.26076/20be-4de9 fatcat:y42n5lnzjvb3bbyr6t5idwnora