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Jewish Parents Fail to Surrender Adopted Child to Catholic Mother

July 6, 1955
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

With a warrant out for their arrest for alleged contempt of court, Melvin B. Ellis, a Jewish businessman of nearby Brookline, and his wife, failed to surrender today their four-year-old adopted daughter whom they had been ordered to give up because the child’s natural mother is a Catholic.

The attorney for the Ellises said that the couple had not come to court because Mrs. Ellis was ill from anxiety over the child. The attorney said the child might be surrendered later in the week but said that “we haven’t decided yet just what is to be done.” He also said that the Ellises would “fight to the finish” to keep the child.

Mr. and Mrs. Ellis have cared for the girl, Hildy McCoy, since she was 10 days old. Marjorie McCoy, the child’s mother, was unwed when the infant was taken off her hands by the Ellises, but she has since married. When Mr. and Mrs. Ellis applied for adoption papers recently, Probate Court Judge James F. Reynolds turned down their petition on the grounds that, as Jews, they should not adopt a child of Roman Catholic parentage.

The child’s natural mother has said that she will turn Hildy over to a Catholic organization for placement in a Catholic foster home. Mr. Ellis has said he would give up the child to her mother if she will bring her up, rather than surrender her to the organization. He has also offered to raise the child in the Catholic faith if the court permits him to keep her.

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