Elva Eleanore (Elliott) Patterson 1896-1973

Vancouver Film Industry Pioneer, Wife and Mother

Elva Eleanore Elliott, after graduation from Vancouver’s King Edward High School in 1914, became the first woman in her family’s history to work outside the family home. She was hired as a stenographer with considerable responsibility at Dominion Exclusives Ltd and Fox Film Corporation Ltd.

Elva Eleanore Elliott was born in Wardner, Idaho on May 5, 1896. Her parents, John Hess Elliott and Nettie Florence (Faris) Elliott believed their new born daughter might not have lived had it not been for members of the Coeur d’Alene Indian tribe who fed Elva a mixture of juice extracted from fruit and berries. Once Elva was well enough to travel, her parents brought her to Vancouver in 1898 along with her older brother, Theodore Fay Elliott.

Elva Eleanore Elliott was a part of the onset of moving pictures through her work at Dominion Exclusives and the Fox Film Corporation. These early silent films gradually replaced the vaudeville shows that were still entertaining Vancouver audiences at venues such as the Pantages Theatre, built in 1907 by architect Edward Evans Blackmore. While working at the Granville Street office for Fox Films, Elva oversaw the safe delivery of these movies to theatres and coordinated their return to the distribution centre in Hollywood, California. Pioneer filmmaker William Fox founded the Fox Film Corporation in 1915. The company merged with Twentieth Century Pictures to become industry giant Twentieth Century-Fox in 1935.

Elva Eleanore Elliott married Charles Bruce Patterson on July 17, 1918 at the Sixth Avenue Methodist Church in Vancouver. Elva and her husband Bruce raised two daughters, Audrey Elva (Patterson) Brock (1919-2003) and Doreen Nettie (Patterson) Reitsma (1927-2000). Elva Eleanore (Elliott) Patterson died in Richmond, BC on June 26, 1973.

Biography by Raymond Reitsma, family historian.

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