Alice's Life and Times

Biographical Information


Photograph of Alice

Alice Ellzey Walker was born in Shanghai, China in 1911. Her parents, Dr. Harold H. Morris and Frances were Quaker missionaries originally hailing from Philadelphia and Virginia, respectively. Alice spent most of her childhood in China, and attended a school for French settlers in Shanghai with her sister and two brothers.

When Alice came of age, she was sent to Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, where she majored in Library Science. After Alice graduated in 1934, she returned to China to live with her family in a German community known as Tsing-Tao, where she taught in a British school until her family left Shanghai permanently in 1940.


Luggage label for Canadian Pacific steamship

Shortly after leaving Shanghai, Alice met Nicholas Raspa, an Italian Immigrant who managed a travelling opera company. After the end of World War II, Nicholas took his young bride on a world cruise. While docked overnight in a port in Australia, Nicholas unfortunately suffered a heart attack and died. On her trip home from Australia, Alice met her second husband, Charlie Walker.

After marrying Charlie, Alice returned to her Quaker roots, and became heavily involved in the religious community in Seattle, Washington, where she and Charlie settled for a while. Tired of the cold and rainy weather in Seattle, the couple decided to relocate to Honolulu, Hawaii in February of 1965. There, Alice enrolled at the University of Hawaii for her Masters in Library Science where it took four years to complete her degree. A few months before completing her graduate program, Alice's second husband Charlie passed away.

After her second husband's death, Alice was promised a job as a librarian at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, but was turned away upon her arrival due to budget cuts. Alice worked a series of odd jobs until the well-seasoned traveler decided to go on another long sea voyage, before settling down in Maui in October 1980.

 


Photograph of Alice on commencement day

In Maui, Alice worked as a counselor at rehab and mental health centers, and was also able to put her skills as a librarian to work, helping to organize the files of the health centers. Her Quaker roots meant she was a devoted pacifist, and she worked for years to contribute portions of her income to the World Peace Tax Fund, an alternative to war tax. A self-proclaimed activist and animal lover, Alice also worked tirelessly on behalf of the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in her final years.

Alice Morris Walker passed away on April 15, 1994. She was survived by two step-children, and six grandchildren.