Emarel Freshel

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Maud Russell Lorraine Freshel (1867—1949) was a Boston socialite, designer, and vegetarian activist. She also went by her initials, M. R. L., which she later spelled Emarel.


Maud Russella Lorraine Carpenter was born in 1867 in West Virginia the daughter of Mary Amaryllis "Emma" Bower and Russell Carpenter. She grew up in Chicago and graduated from Organtz College. She married Ernest R. Sharpe of Boston. In 1917, she married Curtis P. Freshel.

Design career[edit]

Mrs. Freshel is traditionally held to be responsible for the original designs of the Wisteria and Pond Lily Tiffany lamps that won the grand prize at the 1902 Prima Exposizione d’Arte Decoration Moderna in Turin, Italy. In 1900, she commissioned Louis Comfort Tiffany to decorate her home in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Included in her sketches was a lampshade modeled after the wisteria that grew there. It is presumed that she exchanged the commercial rights to the design for a reduced fee on the work. However, the recent discovery of Clara Driscoll's letters suggests instead that Driscoll may have been responsible for the Wisteria design.

She designed a Swiss chalet style house for her neighbors Mr. and Mrs. John G. "Jack" Ramsbottom at 86 Commonwealth Avenue in Chestnut Hill. This and her own Tudor style house at 74 were acquired and gutted by Boston College and known as the Philomatheia Club and Alumni Hall, respectively. They were razed in 1988 to make way for dormitories.

Vegetarian activism[edit]

M. R. L. attended the 1893 Parliament of the World's Religions as a Christian Scientist. There she met Anagarika Dharmapala. In 1917, she left the Christian Science Church when it endorsed entry into World War I.

She visited Leo Tolstoy in Russia and Cosima Wagner in Germany. She met George Bernard Shaw, who supposedly gave her the nickname "Emarel" from her initials.

Mrs. Sharpe was known for dressing in faux furs. In 1911, she co-founded the Millennium Guild, named after the prophesy of Isaiah 9:11 of a day when hurting and killing would cease.

She hosted vegetarian dinners and films of slaughterhouses at her home, which was known as Providence House.

She organized an annual vegetarian thanksgiving dinner at Copley Plaza Hotel.

She served on the board of the New England Anti-Vivisection Society and was active in the Animal Rescue League of Boston.


  • The Golden Rule Cook Book; Six Hundred Recipes for Meatless Dishes. Cambridge, Mass.: University Press. 1908.  and subsequent editions through 1926.
  • Wagner, Richard (1933). Selections from Three Essays by Richard Wagner with Comment on a Subject of Such Importance to the Moral Progress of Humanity that it Constitutes an Issue in Ethics and Religion. New York: Millennium Guild. 


  • Iacobbo, Karen; Michael Iacobbo (2004). Vegetarian America : A History. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. pp. 147–149. ISBN 0-275-97519-3. 
  • Prather-Moses, Alice Irma (1981). The International Dictionary of Women Workers in the Decorative Arts : A Historical Survey from the Distant Past to the Early Decades of the Twentieth Century. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press. p. 59. ISBN 0-8108-1450-1. 
  • Adams, Carol J. (1989). "Feminism, the Great War, and Modern Vegetarianism". In Cooper, Helen Margaret; Munich, Adrienne; Squier, Susan Merrill. Arms and the Woman: War, Gender, and Literary Representation. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. p. 246. ISBN 0-8078-1860-7. 

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