Sophia Holley Ellis is a Black University of Michigan graduate (BA 1949, MS 1950, MA 1964) and Detroit, Michigan teacher. She primarily taught for Detroit Public Schools (DPS), notably as a German teacher at Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School. The collection includes biographical and graduation materials, clippings, an oral history, a photograph album, papers, publications, and scrapbooks.
The Sophia Holley Ellis papers primarily documents Ellis's academic life at the University of Michigan as well as her professional life. Included in this collection are biographical and graduation materials, clippings, an oral history, a photograph album, papers, publications, and several scrapbooks.
The collections' scrapbooks will be of particular interest to researchers. Her University of Michigan scrapbook contains diplomas; photographs of students, including Ellis and her classmates, as well as events on campus; notes describing events in Ellis's personal life; correspondence and other items related to Ellis's academic career; announcements and programs of plays, performances, and other campus events; issues of student and alum publications; greeting cards; and ephemera. Also included are details of her first date; sorority pledging material, including the historically Black sorority Delta Sigma Theta (DST); and photos from a trip to Washington, DC with classmates where Ellis was excluded from some venues because of racial segregation. Her International trip scrapbook documents her travels abroad, while the National Council for International Visitors Award scrapbook highlights her receipt of the Phyllis Layton Perry Educator of the Year award in 2006.
Researchers should also consult her oral history, which was captured on December 3, 2017. During this interview, Ellis—who spoke with Kyle Whitaker and Nancy Bryk—addressed a range of topics, including her family history, early life, and experiences at the University of Michigan.