A native Galvestonian with a B.A. in history from Sophie Newcomb College of Tulane University, Elise Hopkins Stephens graduated as a Phi Beta Kappa with a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to Yale. Taking her M.A. in history at Yale, she returned to Tulane to continue study toward a Ph.D., which she jettisoned for marriage to an aspiring Ph.D. in Physics, resulting in a thirty-year tenure in Huntsville, Alabama. There, she taught history at Alabama A&M University, wrote Historic Huntsville: A city of New Beginnings, and edited and contributed to the Historic Huntsville Quarterly for ten years. Her published work includes Photographic Memories of Huntsville and Madison County and “How Sweet it is!”: The Eliza and Harris Kempner Family Legacy.
In 1997, Stephens returned to Galveston, where her life-long friends, Lyda Ann Quinn Thomas and the extended Kempner family, have kept her busy writing and researching Galveston and Kempner family history, developing a curriculum for education tours on Galveston’s historic harbor, and writing political speeches. Stephens has two sons, James Briscoe II and Russell B. Stephens, and she is civically and socially active in her own right.