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Foster, Ellen Adair Orr (ca. 1919-2002) | Lake Forest College Archives and Special Collections

Name: Foster, Ellen Adair Orr (ca. 1919-2002)
Variant Name: Mrs. Volney W. Foster

Historical Note:

Ellen Adair Orr, a fourth generation Chicagoan, was born and grew up in that city following World War I, graduating from the Latin School and attending the University of Chicago.  In her teens she went to Europe two summers, 1935 and 1937.  In 1942 she married Volney W. Foster. Her career was in fashion at Marshall Fields and then in the Lake Forest Sports Shop, begun by her mother-in-law in 1922. She has been succeeded in the business by her surviving daughter Ellen Foster Stirling.  When she died in 2002, a resident of Lake Forest Place, she was survived also by a son David Volney Foster, another daughter Sally Foster Carson, and a sister Nancy Orr Talbot.

Mrs. Foster was a member of Lake Forest's Church of the Holy Spirit (Episcopal) and was a former president of the Lake Forest Garden Club, perhaps the leading garden club in the midwest. The Fosters were members of Lake Forest's Onwentsia Club, very near both of their homes.

Mrs. Foster's exceptional sense of style, her great strength in her business of selling designer women's clothes in Lake Forest and in leadership communities around Chicago, spilled over into her homes, notably at 335 N. Green Bay Road and also at 45 E. Pembroke Drive, the latter modern house built by her and her spouse in the mid 1980s.


"Ellen Adair Foster, 83 -- Owner of Boutique Shared Zest for Life," Chicago Tribune, September 26, 2002. 

"Ellen Adair Foster, Fashion Leader," Lake Forester, September 26, 2002.

Note Author: Arthur H. Miller, amiller@lakeforest.edu

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