Skip to main content

Sarah E. Ellis Papers

Identifier: 019

Scope and Contents

Contains correspondence, clippings, meeting minutes, reports, and pamphlets of local issues and citizens’ organizations in which Mrs. Ellis was involved; including the Chillum Heights Citizens’ Association, the D.C. Federation of Citizens’ Associations, Junior Village, the Committee for the Rights of the D.C. Business Community, urban renewal, home rule, and mass transit. Of significance, is a 1972 report titled "Report of the Special Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Urban Renewal in D.C."


  • Creation: 1945-1979


Language of Materials


Biographical / Historical

Sarah Ellis became a citizen activist when in 1959 urban renewal caused the forced relocation of Cy Ellis Raw Bar from the Municipal Fish Market Building on the Southwest Waterfront. Sarah’s husband Cy Ellis died of a heart attack in November 1959 and Mrs. Ellis was forced to relocate the restaurant in December 1959. The restaurant was forced to move again from E Street NW when construction on the new Metro subway began in the 1960s. Mrs. Ellis’ ten-year fight in the courts and Congress helped establish the Priority Law which requires that long-established businesses can use the "grandfather" clause to avoid relocation in urban renewal areas. Mrs. Ellis moved her restaurant back to the redeveloped Southwest waterfront in 1970. Born on a Potomac River farm in St. Mary's County, Maryland, Sarah married Cy Ellis and moved to Washington, D.C. sometime after World War I to open an oyster bar restaurant.


1.5 Linear feet

3 Boxes


Processed without series.

Custodial History

Donor unknown.

Processing Information

Basic archival processing procedures were applied to the collection when it was processed.

Sarah E. Ellis Collection
An inventory of the Sarah E. Ellis Collection at DC Public Library
Finding aid prepared by DC Public Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001