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Augusta Ellis Johnson, papers

 Collection — Box: CB-P2, Folder: P-98
Identifier: P-98

Scope and Content Note

The collection of Augusta Ellis Johnson contains correspondence between Johnson and General A. P. Hovey, the U.S. Arimister Near the Peruvian Government. The correspondence consists of three letters from Johnson to Hovey and two from Hovey to Johnson, dated January 6 to January 13, and pertains to Johnson's claim that her son, Joseph (Jos) Johnson, had been kidnapped by Catholic priests and baptized against her will into the Catholic faith in the fall of 1868.

The collection is valuable to researchers studying Jews in Peru, forced baptism, and Jewish-Christian relations.

The collection contains five letters.

The documents are in English, with occasional Spanish phrases. They are arranged chronologically.


  • 1869


Language of Materials

The collection is in English and Spanish.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.

Use Restrictions

No permission is required to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection, as long as the usage is scholarly, educational, and non-commercial. For inquiries about other usage, please contact the Director of Collections and Engagement at

For reference questions, please email:

Biographical Note

Augusta Ellis was born in Charleston, though her birthdate is unknown. She married Abraham Johnson on February 17, 1847, in New York City, at Congregation Shearith Israel. The couple's ketubah is witnessed by David Hart and Samp. Simson, as well as by the synagogue's hazzan, J. J. Lyons.

Around 1853, the Johnsons moved to Lima, Peru, where Abraham Johnson worked as a businessman. Although the couple had several children, there is data about only one, Joseph (also referred to as Jos), who was born in Lima on May 31, 1854.

In 1866 or 1867, Abraham Johnson died. Shortly thereafter, in 1868, Joseph Johnson decided (or was persuaded, depending on one's interpretation of events) to become a Catholic. He was baptized on October 27, 1868, over the vociferous protests of his mother.

Augusta Ellis Johnson may have returned to the United States; she is not recorded as having been buried with her husband in the British Cemetery in Lima.


.25 Linear Feet (1 half manuscript box)


Contains the correspondence between Mrs. Augusta Ellis Johnson, a Jewish American citizen living in Lima, Peru, and General Alvin P. Horey, United States Minister to Peru. In this correspondence, Ellis Johnson asks Gen. Horey for help securing the release of her 14 year old son, Joseph who was forcibly baptized on October 27, 1868 by Dr. Jose Jesus Aylbon--curat of St. Marcelo--and abducted by the Spanish friars of the Convent of the Descalzos. The dispensation of the incident is not known.

Acquisition Note


Physical Description

Collection is located in Consolidated Box P2.

Guide to the Papers of Augusta Ellis Johnson, 1869 *P-98
Processed by Felicia Herman
© 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • April, June 2020: EHyman: post-ASpace migration cleanup.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States