George Washington Ellis was born May 4, 1875, in Weston, Missouri. He earned a bachelor of laws degree from the University of Kansas in 1893, attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., for two years where he studied psychology and philosophy, and graduated from Gunton's Institute of Economics and Sociology in New York in 1900.
After practicing law for several years, Ellis worked in the Census Department in Washington in 1900. He served as secretary of the American legation to the Republic of Liberia for eight years beginning in 1902.
In 1910, Ellis returned from Liberia and established a legal practice in Chicago, earning a reputation as a prestigious counselor. From 1917 to 1919, he served as assistant corporation counsel for Chicago.
Ellis's interest in Africa continued throughout his life, and his experiences in Liberia influenced his career as a writer and lecturer. He investigated the social structure and folklore
history of that...