Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Eleanor M. Rininger, 1869-1955

By Katherine Pecora, student, Saint Martin's University, Lacey, WA

Eleanor M. Rininger was born in Ohio in 1869 and was known by her nickname and maiden name as "Nellie" Powers and died in Seattle, Washington. She was married in Tiro, Ohio on July 11, 1893 to Dr. Edmund Marburg Rininger (1870-1912), and widowed in 1912. In 1898, Eleanor was said to have helped her husband with his patients in a small hospital that he had opened at the Sheep Camp on the Dyea Trail in California. After her husband's passing, Eleanor left the Swedish Medical Center of Seattle that he planned to open to the public that year. Instead of letting the hospital be abandoned, Eleanor gathered her resources to find buyers for the hospital so that it could be utilized by the public. She managed to get the Swedish Board of Trustees to purchase the hospital. Eleanor donated some of her husband's things to the hospital to be used, such as her husband's medical library and x-ray machines. Eleanor Rininger was a large part of the Women's Suffrage Movement in the Seattle area.

During her time in Seattle, she was a member of a local suffrage organization called the Washington equal suffrage association. On Feb 4, 1910, as a member of this group of suffragists she observed the birthday of rewound suffragist Susan B. Anthony. The group held a coffee to commemorate her birth. Rininger was involved in an offset of the national convention on suffrage that took place in Seattle in 1911. Suffragists often had events that appealed to women to garner support for voting rights and helped to educate them on the subject. Rininger was a part of the "Honor for Votes and Spring Hats" in Seattle in 1912. Often events such as this were prevalent for women in the Seattle area. The organizers used events that appealed to women to bring them into the larger talk of suffrage. It was here that a group of women and a faction from Spokane made the case that women deserved a seat at the table and to have their voices heard in government. She was an officer of the Equal Franchise Society of Seattle, Washington as the financial secretary from 1920-1922. After her husband's passing, Eleanor bought some land for herself in Beaux Arts Village in Seattle, Washington and built herself a home in 1914 where she lived until 1955 when she passed away.

On May 5, 1909 a story was written in the Seattle Post Intelligemcer regarding Rininger's move to resign from a committee of the Washington Equal Suffrage Association. She was quoted stating, "I do not care to be quoted any more in regard to the trouble among the suffragists. I have resigned from a state committee and will have nothing further to do actively in the cause in cooperation with that body because there is too much fighting going on in it. I am thankful to be out of it." On May 6 a follow up story in the Post Intelligencer was titled, "Ms. Jarmuth gone and rivals cease bickering, Mrs. Rininger is back" which detailed her decision to withdraw her resignation and continue at her post in the society. In the Washington Women's Cook Book, which was published in 1909 by the Washington Equal Suffrage Association, Rininger is listed as the superintendent of parlor meetings. The purpose of this cookbook was for the women to "let us look deeper for a moment and we will see that modern cooking represents the evolution of civilized life." It states that women are the known caregivers and this is often passed from mother to daughter. The cookbook aims to continue the words of change specifically with suffrage from mother to daughter and help the changes become a reality.


A copy of Mrs. Rininger's Passport application.


The cover of the Washington Women's Cookbook.

Sources: California, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1959 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006. Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016.

Harrison, E. (2014). Dr. Edmund Marburg Rininger. Retrieved November 06, 2017, from

Mange, K. (2015, May 1). Town of Beaux Arts Village Town Bulletin [PDF]. Seattle: Http://

Ott, J. (2010, November 15). Retrieved November 06, 2017, from

Stanton, E. C., Anthony, S. B., Gage, M. J., & Harper, I. H. (1922). History of Woman Suffrage: 1900-1920. Retrieved November 06, 2017, from

United States Department of Interior National Park Service(1990, October). National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Roanoke ParkHistoric District [PDF]. Seattle: United States Department of Interior National Park Service.

Various Authors (n.d.). HOT FREE BOOKS • The History of Woman Suffrage, Volume VI • Various • 18. Retrieved November 06, 2017, from

"Page 029 : Mrs. Rininger Will Give Reception." Omeka RSS,

"Washington Women's Cookbook: Votes ... - MSU Libraries.

Year: 1930; Census Place: Enatie, King, Washington; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0274; FHL microfilm: 2342224.

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