Ida Morey Riley

Columbia School of Oratory

1890 - 1901

Ida Morey was born April 11, 1856 to William and Sarah Morey in Mercer County, Illinois. Later, the family moved to Union Township, Iowa. Her father, originally from Ohio, was a farmer and her mother, originally from New York, was a housewife.

She attended the public schools of Chariton, Iowa. On October 4, 1877, she married Heston G. Riley of Ashley, Ohio. He died January 19, 1879. She returned to Iowa to teach and later become principal of the Chariton, Iowa public school that she attended as a youth.

She then taught at the State Agricultural College at Ames, Iowa where she met Mary A. Blood in 1887, who had been sent out from the Emerson School of Oratory (now Emerson College) in Boston to teach elocution and expression.

Mary Blood urged her to move to Boston and study at the Emerson School where she graduated with a Bachelors degree in Oration in 1889 and a Masters degree in Oration in 1890. She then joined Mary Blood in Chicago where the two women established the Columbia School of Oratory in 1890.

She served as secretary of the National Association of Elocutionists and was a member of its Board of Directors until her death on March 7, 1901. Funeral services were held at the residence of Helen E. Starrett as both Mary Blood and Ida Riley had been living there. Dr. Frank W. Gunsaulus conducted the services and Mary Blood read selections from the Bible. She is buried next to her husband in Ashley, Ohio.