|Dates||1794 - 1872|
Reverend William Ellis's interest in photography had more to do with his desire to further religious conversion than with an interest in art. Early in his career as a foreign missionary, he mastered typography and presented the people of Tahiti with their first printed book--the
Born to a poor family, Ellis was trained as a gardener, but deep religious feelings prompted him to enlist as a foreign missionary. Ordained in 1815, he first traveled to South Africa, then to the South Sea Islands. He was very successful as a missionary, combining spiritual earnestness with scientific and historic research. He rose up through the ranks of the London Missionary Society to become its chief foreign secretary and published a number of books based on his research and experiences.