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Ellenberger was born to an old South African pioneer family in a cave in what is now Lesotho. He was the son of D. F. Ellenberger of the Paris Mission Society mission in Lesotho, an Alsatian missionary and historian, and was educated at the Lovedale missionary school and in France.
Ellenberger held a variety of posts in the Bechuanaland Protectorate, as the equivalent of a district commissioner at Gaborone, Ngamiland, and Mafeking. He served as assistant commissioner of the Southern Protectorate from 1902 to 1916, government secretary from 1916 to 1923, and Resident Commissioner of the Bechuanaland Protectorate from 1923 to 1927, replacing his brother-in-law James MacGregor. He collected oral history of the BaTswana. Anxious to protect what he perceived to be the Protectorate's economic interests, he denied the existence of agricultural slavery in the colony. Only in the 1930s did Ellenberger's successor Charles Rey expose this Imperial scandal.
- Morton, Fred; Ramsay, Jeff; Mgadla, Part Themba (2008). "Ellenberger, Jules". Historical Dictionary of Botswana. African Historical Dictionaries. 108 (4th ed.). Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-8108-5467-3.
- Neil Parsons, Charles Rey And Previous Commissioners Of The Bechuanaland Protectorate
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