The Crooked Lake Review is a local history magazine forI wonder, looking at the serialization of this old novel, whether the Miss Elliotts of Geneva were based on any of the Rippeys. From the 1992 preface:
the Conhocton, Canisteo, Tioga, Chemung and Genesee river valleys,
and for the Finger Lakes and Lake Ontario regions of New York State.
The Misses Elliot of Geneva was written as a humorous tribute to the eccentric characters who flourished in Geneva, N.Y., at the beginning of this century. The two characters who are featured in the title were based on an actual pair, but anecdotes about other bygone Genevans are often interwoven with the originals, so that to some extent they are composites. The original pair were more polite, and their utterances more circuitous than those of 'Miss Primrose' and 'Miss Candida,' whose tongues have been greatly sharpened, though I have not exaggerated their underlying prejudices. One of the pair, I am told, actually left money in her will to the City of Geneva, and had taught a Sunday-School class in her younger days.
The other characters are also somewhat exaggerated, but together they present a picture of a small-town society.
When the book first appeared, there was some indignation among older Genevans, but one of them admitted that "after all, I wouldn't mind being remembered for my witty remarks."