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Charlotte E. and Mary A.C. Ely Papers, 1861-1990 (Bulk: 1861-1917)
2 boxes (10 linear in.)
Collection number: MS 0631 (LD 7096.6 1861 Ely)

Abstract:
Ely, Charlotte Elizabeth, 1839-1915 and Mary Ann Caroline, 1841-1913; Teachers and missionaries. Mount Holyoke Female Seminary graduates, 1861. Papers consist of correspondence, writings, memorabilia, and photographs. Primarily secondary material documenting their work with Armenians in Turkey, with special interest in their travels, orphanages, and the social conditions of the country.

Terms of Access and Use:

Unrestricted

Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Charlotte Elizabeth Ely was born on July 2, 1839 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her sister, Mary Ann Caroline Ely (who usually called herself Annie) was born on June 2, 1841 in Wilmington, Delaware. They were the daughters of Judah Ely, a Presbyterian minister who died in 1843, and Caroline Coutier Ely, a native of England. After the death of their mother in about 1853, the Elys moved to Buffalo, N.Y., to live with an uncle, E. Sterling Ely. The sisters were educated at home and spent a year at Elmira College before entering Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. After graduating from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1861, the Elys spent two years teaching, then went on a tour of England and Europe in 1865-1866. An encounter with the Reverend and Mrs. George C. Knapp, the first missionaries in Bitlis, Turkey, convinced the Elys that they, too, should become missionaries in that area. The Elys arrived in Bitlis on October 3, 1868, and established the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary for Armenian girls. They remained at the school (except for rare furloughs to the United States) until Mary died on May 4, 1913, and Charlotte died on July 11, 1915.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Charlotte Elizabeth and Mary Ann Caroline Ely Papers consist of primary and secondary materials chiefly relating to their lives as missionaries and teachers in Turkey from 1868-1915. Of particular importance in this collection are letters written by the Elys between 1881-1915. These documents describe their work at the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in Bitlis, their travels in the region, the activities of other missionaries and social and political events in Turkey, including attacks on Armenians from the 1890s through the early years of World War I. An autobiographical sketch written by one or both of the Elys provides a summary of their lives through about 1902. These sources are complemented by a report concerning orphans in Bitlis, written by Charlotte Ely in 1899; letters and publications issued by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions between 1914-1916; extensive biographical information concerning the Elys; published and unpublished material about events in Turkey in 1877 and between 1912-1917; and a small amount of memorabilia. The collection also includes photographs of the Elys and of people, buildings, scenes and historic sites in Turkey, England and Europe. The writers of letters and articles in this collection include a number of Mount Holyoke alumnae: Anna C. Edwards, Class of 1859, Anna Hunt Knapp, Class of 1886 and Grace H. Knapp, Class of 1893. Charlotte Ely's association with Mount Holyoke is also reflected by a notebook that she kept for history, English composition and "stenography" (shorthand) courses in 1861. Other documents in the collection concern or were written by Edwin St. John Ward (husband of Charlotte Allen Ward, Class of 1903), George Perkins Knapp and, particularly, Mary D. Uline.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Charlotte E. Ely and Mary A.C. Ely Papers, Mount Holyoke College, Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, Massachusetts

History of the Collection


Additional Information
Contact Information
Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
8 Dwight Hall
50 College St.
South Hadley, MA 01075

Phone: (413) 538-2013
Fax: (413) 538-2370

Email Reference Form: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/library/arch/forms/areq.htm
URL: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/library/arch/
Language
English.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
1881-1915
2 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series consists of letters written by Charlotte and Mary Ely between 1881-1915 and two letters to Charlotte Ely from Mary D. Uline dated May 8 and June 25, 1913. The Ely correspondence includes original letters and copies of letters printed in newspapers and missionary periodicals. These documents are usually addressed to relatives and friends, including a cousin, Grace A. Ely, and a Mount Holyoke classmate, Anna C. Edwards, Class of 1859. The letters describe the Ely's work at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, Bitlis, and comment on social and political conditions in Turkey, such as an earthquake in 1907 and Turkish attacks on Armenians from the 1890s through 1915. The Elys also mention the work of other missionaries in the region, including several Mount Holyoke alumnae: Grace H. Knapp, Class of 1893, Lizzie Cobleigh Cole, x-Class of 1870, Frances A. and Helen Norton, Class of 1863, and Martha W. Tinker Raynolds, Class of 1859.

1861, circa 1902
2 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series consists of a notebook kept by Charlotte Ely as a student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1861 and an autobiographical sketch written by one of both sisters in about 1902. The notebook contains notes concerning U.S. and world history, "English Composition," and "Stenography" (shorthand). The autobiographical sketch describes the Ely's family background and childhood, education, travels in England and Europe in 1865-1866, their meeting with the Reverend and Mrs. George C. Knapp, and their subsequent work as missionaries and teachers in Turkey.

circa 1868-1899
2 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series includes copies of the seal and diploma for this school, dating from circa 1868 and the 1880s, and a report written by Charlotte Ely in 1899 concerning the "Bitlis Orphanage."

1914-1916
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

These records consist of copies of letters, printed bulletins, and the October 1915 issue of "The Missonary Herald," all issued and distributed by the Board. This material chiefly reflects the impact of events during World War I on missionary activities and Armenian populations in Turkey. The documents include quotations from reports sent to the Board by missionaries in Bitlis and elsewhere.

circa 1892-1990
3 folders

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

This information includes newspaper articles, articles from missionary publications and other journals, a biographical sketch by Anna Hunt Knapp published in 1917, several published and unpublished letters written by associates of the Elys, and notes about the sisters and their school compiled by Anna C. Edwards. The articles and the notes by Edwards date from about 1892-1910 and include quotations or excerpts from letters and other writings by the Elys. The letters primarily concern Mary Ely's final illness and death in 1913 and events in Turkey in 1914-1915. Correspondents include Grace H. Knapp, Mary D. Uline, and Edwin St. John Ward. This series also includes a number of documents published after 1917, such as a lengthy article about Mount Holyoke Seminary in Bitlis from the Spring 1990 issue of "Armenian Review."

1877, 1912-1917
1 folder

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

This series includes a "Translation of a letter written by a citizen of Van, to the ecclesiastical head of the Armenian Church at Bitlis, July 1877" and a number of newspaper articles, articles from missionary publications, and published and unpublished letters written between 1912-1917. These documents describe the treatment of Armenians in Turkey before and during the massacre of 1915, a severe earthquake at Bitlis in 1912, and Mary D. Uline's work and travels in Turkey.

circa 1868-1915
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series consists of a piece of lace, a book of scriptural translations entitled "St. John iii.16, &c in Most of the Languages and Dialects in which the British and Foreign Bible Society has printed or Circulated the Holy Scriptures," published in London in 1895, and two poems by Grace H. Knapp written in 1901 and circa 1914. These items apparently belonged to the Elys.

circa 1861-1915
7 folders

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

This series contains more than one hundred photographs and post cards, many of them undated and unidentified. Particularly notable images are photographs of the Elys and their school in Bitlis. Other photographs are of scenes in Bitlis and elsewhere in Turkey and of Armenians in the region, including orphans and refugees. This series also includes photographs of buildings and historic sites in England and Europe, probably dating from the Ely's travels in 1865-1866, and three cyanotypes of buildings at Mount Holyoke College, printed on cloth.

Contents List
Correspondence,
1881-1915
2 folders

Correspondence,
1881-1904

Box 1: folder 1
Correspondence,
1905-1915

Box 1: folder 2
Writings,
1861, circa 1902
2 folders

Charlotte Ely's notebook,
1861

Box 1: folder 3
Autobiographical sketch,
circa 1902

Box 1: folder 4
Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, Bitlis, Records,
circa 1868-1899
2 folders

Seal and diploma,
circa 1868, 1880s

Box 1: folder 5
Report,
1899

Box 1: folder 6
American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions Records,
1914-1916
1 folder

Publications,
1914-1916

Box 1: folder 7
Biographical Information,
circa 1892-1990
3 folders



Box : folder 1
Articles, sketches, and letters,
1895-1913

Box 1: folder 8
Articles, sketches, and letters,
1914-1990

Box 1: folder 9
Notes by Anna C. Edwards,
circa 1892-1910

Box 1: folder 10
Information about Turkey,
1877, 1912-1917
1 folder

Letter; articles, letters,
1877; 1912-1917

Box 1: folder 11
Memorabilia,
circa 1868-1915
1 folder

Lace; translation of scriptures; poems,
circa 1868-1915

Box 1: folder 12
Photographs,
circa 1861-1915
7 folders

P001-P008


Box 2: folder 1
P009-P044


Box 2: folder 2
P045-P073


Box 2: folder 3
P074-P090


Box 2: folder 4
P091-P105


Box 2: folder 5
P106-P126


Box 2: folder 6
P127-P129


Box 2: folder 7

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Armenia - History - 1801-1900 - Sources.
  • Armenia - History - 1901- - Sources.
  • Armenian massacres, 1915-1923.
  • Armenians - Turkey - History - Sources.
  • Bitlis (Turkey)
  • Education - Turkey - History - Sources.
  • Europe - Description and travel.
  • Missionaries - Turkey - Biography.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Alumnae - Autobiography.
  • Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, Bitlis.
  • Orphans - Turkey - History - Sources.
  • Shorthand - Study and teaching.
  • Teachers - Turkey - Biography.
  • Turkey - Description and travel.
  • Turkey - History - Ottoman Empire, 1288-1918 - Sources.
  • Turkey - Social conditions - Ottoman Empire, 1288-1918.
  • Voyages and travels.
  • Women - Turkey - Education - History - Sources.
  • Women - Turkey - Social conditions - Sources.
  • Women missionaries - Turkey - Correspondence.
  • Women teachers - Turkey - Correspondence.
  • World War, 1914-1918 - Armenia.

Contributors
  • Edwards, Anna C. (Anna Cheney), 1835-1930.
  • Ely, Mary A. C. (Mary Ann Caroline), 1841-1913.
  • Knapp, Anna Hunt, 1862-1954.
  • Knapp, George Perkins, 1863-1915.
  • Knapp, Grace H.
  • Uline, Mary D. (Mary Desiree), b. 1882.
  • Ward, Edwin St. John, 1880-1951.
  • American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.
  • Mount Holyoke College. - English Dept.
  • Mount Holyoke College. - History Dept.

Genre terms
  • Autobiographies
  • Letters
  • Notebooks


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