Areas of Study

Papers of Charles R. Ely, 1918-1939

Gallaudet University Archives

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Gallaudet University Archives
Call No.: MSS 8
Title: Papers of Chares R. Ely, 1918-1939.
Quantity: 0.5 Linear Feet (1 document box)
Note: This document last updated 2005 December 2.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information:
Processed by: Ulf Hedberg. 1990 November 1.
Processing Note:
Conditions on Use and Access: This collection is open to the public with no restrictions. Photocopies may be made for scholarly research.

Related Material in the Archives:

Deaf Film
  • [Scenes at Gallaudet College] [motion picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Film 20-8, 52-8


  • Papers of Leon Auerbach, 1930-1986. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: MSS 142
  • Papers of Charles R. Ely 1870-1942. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: MSS 83

Photographs Ely is in many albums. See ALADIN for complete listing.

  • Charles R. Ely [picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Portraits

Vertical Files

  • Charles R. Ely. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Biographical
  • Ely Center. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Gallaudetiana
  • Ely Hall. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Gallaudetiana

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Charles Russell Ely was born on February 20, 1870 in Columbus, Ohio. The family soon relocated to Frederick, Maryland when Ely’s father, Dr. Charles Wright Ely was appointed superintendent of the Maryland School for the Deaf. Due to his father’s affiliation with the Deaf, Charles Russell Ely quickly picked up sign language and became immersed in the local Deaf Community.

In 1891, Ely graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts degree, continuing on to complete his master’s degree in 1892 from Gallaudet College, and completing his PhD at George Washington University in 1900.

Ely’s interest in the Deaf Community remained strong; he started teaching at Gallaudet College in 1891, he employed positions as: instructor, assistant professor, professor in chemistry and vice president. Only briefly did he leave his busy post at Gallaudet when he took over his recently deceased father’s position as principal of the Maryland state school for the Deaf (1912- 1913).

Dr. Ely was very involved in science, especially botany. He was actively a member of numerous organizations, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Institute of Chemists, the Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf, the American Chemical Society and The Entomological Society of America and very involved in the local Washington DC ward.

December 25, 1897 Ely married Louise Day Crane of Orange, New Jersey. They later expanded their family to include 3 daughters: Elizabeth Day, Grace Darling, and Sylvia Louise. On February 22, 1939, Dr. Ely died suddenly at age 69 in his Kendall Green home, of a heart attack.

Scope and Content

The Charles Russell Ely collection includes both personal materials and materials related to the Ephphatha Sunday School. The collection dates from 1918 to 1939 and consists of 44 items. The majority of the papers are dated to the 1920s.

The folder of “Cash Account Books” is related to the Ephphatha Sunday School at Kendall Green of which Ely was the treasurer. The collection also includes correspondence, in French, from Madame Marie Madeleine Goypiron of France. There are two photographs; it is likely that they were taken of Marie Madeleine Goypiron and her family.

Series Descriptions and Folder Lists

No. Series
Box Folder Title of Folder Date
1 1 Cash Account Books 1922-1939
1 2 Correspondence 1922-1927
1 3 Photographs n.d.
1 4 Student Note Books n.d.
1 5 Miscellaneous 1918-1928

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