The Strange Career of William Ellis (Morrison)

Apr 8, 2018

The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became A Mexican Millionaire

Presenter: Dr. Karl Jacoby

Dr. Jacoby joins us to discuss his book, The Strange Career of William Ellis. To his contemporaries in Gilded Age Manhattan, Guillermo Eliseo was a fantastically wealthy Mexican in the upper echelons of society. But for all his obvious riches and his elegant appearance, Eliseo was also the possessor of a devastating secret: he was not, in fact, from Mexico at all. Rather, he had begun life as a slave named William Ellis, born on a cotton plantation in southern Texas. Using Ellis’ story, Jacoby will explore fresh insights on the history of the Reconstruction era, the US-Mexico border, and the abiding riddle of race.