CWRU Links
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

LEWIS, ROBERT ELLSWORTH

LEWIS, ROBERT ELLSWORTH

LEWIS, ROBERT ELLSWORTH (29 Sept. 1869-23 Oct. 1969) general secretary of the Cleveland YMCA and advisor to the Minister of Foreigh Affairs of China, was born in Berkshire, Vermont, the son of C. P. VanNess and Ellen E. (Haynes) Lewis. Educated at the University of Vermont, he received a PhB., M.A., and an L.H.D in 1892. He worked for the YMCA in Vermont, spent five years as a traveling YMCA secretary for students, and went to Shanghai as an international YMCA representative in 1898. Lewis came to Cleveland in 1909 and served as general secretary of the Cleveland YMCA 1909-1929. Under his stewardship, the Y worked with the city's social settlements and welfare agencies, increasing its efforts to work with young boys, and conducted a successful fund raising campaign to erect a new YMCA building at E. 22nd and Prospect in 1913. Lewis also helped arbitrate Cleveland's building trades strike in 1921. Throughout his stay in the city Lewis retained his connection with China serving as secretary of the International Committee Y.M.C.A, Shanghai for 10 years. Lewis left Cleveland to become advisor to China's foreign minister 1930-1935, the crucial time when Japan invaded Manchuria and installed the puppet Emperor Henry P'u-i. He retired in 1936 and moved to California in 1943.

Lewis married Grace Brackett in Newton Mass. 24 Aug. 1893, and they had five sons: Brackett, Neil, Philip, Charles, and Arthur and three daughters, Miriam Frick, Alice Turcotte, and Sarah Lowe. He died in Los Angeles and was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California.


Lewis, Robert Ellsworth. The Educational Conquest of the Far East (1903).