Biographical Database of Militant Suffragists: 1913-1920

Biography of Ella Abeel, 1858-1936


Written by: Hannah Cevasco, Sode Smith and Danielle Sarkisian, high school students and Serene Williams and Pat Roberts, faculty at Sacred Heart Preparatory High School, Atherton, California

Illinois State Chairman, National Woman's Party

Ella Jane Abeel was born in Janesville, Wisconsin on March 14th, 1858. Her parents were Waldo Abeel (1817-1885) and Mary Maria Abeel. Her parents were both born in New York City and later moved to Chicago where they lived for the rest of their lives. She grew up in the north, primarily in Chicago. She had five siblings, two of whom died early, and one servant, Mary Farley.

Ella Abeel had an active political and suffragist career and was a frequent speaker at lunch meetings for the Chicago Women's Club and the National Woman's Party. She was a leader of the Chicago Women's Club in addition to her leadership roles as President of the Political Equality League, President of the League of Religious Fellowship, and membership in the Chicago Peace Society where she was elected as an officer in May of 1917. She was also the Illinois state chairman of the National Woman's Party. In December of 1917, letters were being sent out under the party's name, and Ella noted that she was not aware of this, but would look into such matters. In terms of her political career, Abeel was critical of the Republican party for failing to prioritize suffrage in their party platform. She was also founder of the National Women's Peace Party which in 1916 promoted pacifism and campaigned against President Wilson prior to his shift in support for women's rights during World War I.

Abeel frequently picketed for women's rights and also circulated peace petitions addressed "To the Women of America." She later became an organizer for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. When the 19th Amendment was passed in June of 1919, suffragists and supportive members of Congress celebrated its upcoming ratification by sending out notes and letters to spread the news. Ella Abeel was one of a few people who signed the celebratory letter in Illinois.

Following her political contributions to the suffrage movement, Ella worked as a teacher. She remained unmarried and was injured in a car accident on January 15th, 1936. She passed away two days later in Pasadena, California at age 78.


1."Among the Peace Organizations." The Advocate of Peace (1894-1920), vol. 79, no. 6, 1917, pp. 187–190. JSTOR, JSTOR,

2."Club Notes." Chicago Tribune, March 27, 1918, pg. 15.

3."Ella Jane Abeel" Find a Grave,

4."Field Department Notes" The Advocate of Peace (1894-1920), vol. 76, no. 10, 1914, pp. 230–231. JSTOR, JSTOR,

5."He Kept Us Out of Suffrage" Dixon Evening Telegraph, Nov 3, 1916.

6."Meetings and Entertainments" Chicago Tribune, Feb 18, 1911, pg. 10.

7."Miss Anne Martin Goes to Nevada" The Washington Herald, April 13, 1918, pg. 9.

8."Obituary" The Winnipeg Tribune, March 9, 1936, pg. 8.

9."Peace Crusaders Join in the Fight on Wilson" Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, November 3, 1916

10."Picketers Keep at It" Boston Post. June 12, 1920, pg. 12

11."Spoiled Spoils of Suffragist Battle Arrive" Chicago Tribune, Aug 19, 1917, pg. 3.

12.The Suffragist: January 25, February 1, February 8, February 15, February 22, March 1, March 22, March 29, April 30, 1919

13.The Suffragist November 6, 1920

14."Suffragists Hold Jubilee; Members of Congress Guests." New York Tribune. June 11, 1919.

15.Taylor, Richard S. "New Thought in the Twenties: The Case of Springfield, Illinois." The Historian, vol. 49, no. 3, 1987, pp. 329–347. JSTOR, JSTOR,

16."With the Club Women of Chicago." The Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois), Nov 18, 1913, pg. 4.

17."Women Demand Rights They Sought in 1848" Quad-City Times, Davenport, Illinois June 20, 1921

18."Women in Wartime" Chicago Tribune, Nov 28, 1917.

19.1930 United States Federal Census: Year:1930; Census Place: Pasadena, Los Angeles, California; Roll: 170; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 1276; FHL microfilm: 2339905


From the National Woman's Party held in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress

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