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Angele Hobeiche Kmeid-Ellis Collection

Angele Ellis emigrated from Lebanon to Carthage, New York in the summer of 1926. Born to Adla el Khazen and Namtallah Hobeiche in 1904, Angele grew up in Qattine with her siblings Yousef, Mariam, and Khalil. She married her husband, Toufic Kmeid Ellis, on May 16, 1926. In early June, the couple began their journey to New York via Cherbourg, France. Toufic owned a general store in Carthage, a small town in Upstate New York, and the couple was eager to start their lives there together. Over the next 70 years, Angele became a leader in Carthage through her civic involvement in the local Women’s Republican Club, as an active member in her church community, and as an Arabic translator for other local Lebanese families. In addition to the connections she built in Carthage, Angele sustained a rich correspondence with her family and friends in Lebanon and diasporic Lebanese communities across the world. When Angele Ellis died on February 13, 1994, her children decided to bring her back to Lebanon, burying her ashes in the family vault at the Mar Elias Monastery in Ghazir.

Angele’s story, and that of her family in Lebanon and the US, is illuminated by a collection of letters she received from her family between 1925-1980. Items from the Angele Hobeiche Kmeid-Ellis Collection, generously donated to the Khayrallah Center by Angele’s family, include letters from family and friends, photographs, newspaper clippings, and immigration documents. It constitutes, perhaps, the richest set of correspondences between Lebanese immigrants and their families in Lebanon.This collection explores the broader realities and effects of immigration for families across the Lebanese diaspora and the intricacies of daily life in Lebanon and the United States throughout the twentieth century.

To share Angele’s story,

  • The Khayrallah Center has published all the materials on our online archive. (Processing of this collection was led by the center’s former archivist, Amanda Forbes, with assistance by Samantha Aamot).
  • In addition, we have developed a digital narrative that highlights the collection’s rich visual materials and includes interactive maps, and document Angele’s and Toufic’s journey to the United States and the wide-ranging breadth of Angele’s correspondence. (This narrative was designed and produced by Samantha Aamot).
  • Finally, you can tune in to Episode 1: Angele Hobeiche Kmeid-Ellis Collection of our podcast, Voices of the Mahjar, to hear Angele’s children Kail Ellis and Alfreda Ellis discuss their family’s history, memories from childhood, and their mother’s legacy in Carthage’s Lebanese community. (This podcast was produced by Samantha Aamot).

We hope that you will enjoy learning of their history, and perusing the archive. We also hope that the vision and generosity of the Ellis family, and especially Fr. Kail Ellis, will provide impetus for others to safeguard the most precious things we have as immigrants: our stories. If you are interested in preserving your family’s heritage and history, please contact our Archivist.