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Elizabeth Boddie Elliston

Elizabeth Boddie EllistonElizabeth Boddie Elliston (1820–1904)

Elliston was a community leader and philanthropist who donated segments of her plantation for the formation of the Vanderbilt campus. She sold one of the original five tracts of land comprising the campus to Bishop Holland McTyeire for the grand sum of $5 on June 24, 1873. A faithful and devoted member of the Methodist Church, Elliston was exceptionally generous to the founding and growing of Vanderbilt.  Over the next 12 years she would sell to the university four more parcels of her large plantation for extremely reasonable prices.

Born in Sumner County, Tenn., Elliston was co-founder and first president of the Vanderbilt Aid Society, which was among the very first societies to provide financial assistance to worthy students at the university. She also was named its president in 1894 at the age of 74, and her support of the society lasted throughout her lifetime.