Ellsworth Faris was born 30 September 1974 in Salem, Tennessee. He received both his BA in 1894 and his MA in 1896 from Add-Ran University in Waco, Texas (now Texas Christian University). He spent seven years as a missionary in the Belgian Congo for the Foreign Christian Missionary Society of the Disciples of Christ. He spent one year studying at the University of Chicago in 1901–1902 before going back to the Congo until ill health forced him to return home in 1904. He taught philosophy, sacred history, and psychology at Texas Christian University from 1904 to 1911, before pursing graduate studies in psychology at the University of Chicago, where he received the PhD in psychology in 1914. He was hired by Iowa State University but returned to the University of Chicago in 1915. A year later he joined Iowa's faculty teaching in the psychology department and serving as Director of the Iowa Child Welfare Research Station during 1916–19.
From The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers in Oxford Reference.