Yeats, Elizabeth Corbet (‘Lollie’) (1868–1940), publisher and painter, was born 11 March 1868 at 23 Fitzroy Road, London, daughter of John Butler Yeats (qv), painter, and Susan Yeats (née Pollexfen). She stayed in Merville, Sligo, at the home of her grandfather William Pollexfen, from July 1872 till November 1874, when her family moved to 14 Edith Villas, West Kensington, London. She and her siblings, William Butler Yeats (qv), Jack Yeats (qv), and Susan Yeats (qv), were in the care of a governess, Martha Jowitt, for three years from 1876 and moved to a larger house in Bedford Park, Chiswick, in 1878. Settled in Howth, Co. Dublin (1881), she was enrolled with Susan Yeats in Dublin's Metropolitan School of Art in 1883 and took classes at the RDS. She started to write fiction when the family moved (1886) to Eardley Crescent, South Kensington, London, and published a home-made magazine, The Pleiades, with six friends, contributing ‘Story without a plot’ to the Christmas 1888 issue. She also published ‘Scamp and three friends’ in The Vegetarian. Resident throughout the 1890s in London at 3 Blenheim Road, Bedford Park, she trained as a kindergarten teacher at the Froebel College in Bedford (Bedfordshire), taking teaching practice at the Bedford Park High School. On finishing training (1892), she taught as a visiting art mistress at the Froebel Society, Chiswick High School, and the Central Foundation School. She earned a good income from her lectures and the publication of four popular painting manuals: Brushwork (1896), Brushwork studies of flowers, fruits and animals (1898), Brushwork copy book (1899), and Elementary brushwork studies (1900).
She returned to Ireland in 1902 to set up the Dun Emer Guild with Susan Yeats and Evelyn Gleeson (qv). Working from a house that Gleeson bought for the project, she ran the guild's printing division with a press acquired from a provincial newspaper. Printing began in 1903 and Dun Emer's first book was W. B. Yeats's In the seven woods (1903). She was a gifted printer, but her costings were not always suitable to the quality of work that she produced, with the result that the press (like the guild) was often in financial jeopardy. Eleven books appeared under the Dun Emer imprint, produced from a first-floor room decorated with pastels by George Russell (qv). She clashed with her brother William over his directions as literary editor, and disliked Evelyn Gleeson. She travelled to New York to advertise her products in October 1906 but returned in late November and published Dun Emer's last book, William's Discoveries (1907). She and Susan separated from the Dun Emer Guild to form the Cuala Industries in 1908; Elizabeth controlled the press while her sister ran the embroidery section. Cuala continued to be a family strain throughout its existence, and John Butler Yeats had to reprimand his son William for sending obnoxious letters to his sisters on the subject. But it produced magnificent books: W. B. Yeats's The green helmet and other poems (1910) and a series of Broadsides (published 1908–15, with illustrations from Jack Yeats). Suffering ill health in 1910, she stayed in Belfast for two summers (1911, 1912) with Olga Heyn. Initially a moderate nationalist, she became sympathetic to republicanism after the 1916 Easter rising, publishing Thomas MacDonagh's last and inspiring address (1917). With Susan, she was made member of the library committee of the Sinn Féin run Dundrum rural council in 1920. A good saleswoman, she had important patrons in the Aberdeen and Cadbury families.
Depressed at the death of her father (February 1922), she moved the Cuala press to the basement of W. B. Yeats's house at 82 Merrion Square in 1923. In February 1925 Cuala Industries moved to 133 Lower Baggot St., Dublin, where it remained till her death. Notable works published included W. B. Yeats's The bounty of Sweden (1925), and The wild bird's nest (1935) by Frank O'Connor (qv). Suffering from high blood-pressure throughout the 1930s, she had financial trouble in 1938 as the shares in her possession that covered Cuala's bank overdraft greatly lost value. She had complained of chest pains and light-headedness for years; these were misdiagnosed as neurasthenia in 1916. Treated for angina in 1938, she died of heart failure on 16 January 1940 in a Dublin nursing home. She is buried with her sister Susan in the Old Churchyard, Churchtown, Dublin.