Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920

Biography of Miss Ella Whitney, 1856-1927

By Leslie Gildart, retired attorney and legal editor.

Pioneer Suffrage Worker of Minneapolis, MN

Miss Ella Augusta Whitney was born on September 1, 1856 in Ashburnham, Massachusetts to Esther Augusta Holmes Whitney and Austin Whitney. She had four brothers and four sisters. Her family lived in Ashburnham until approximately 1890 or 1891, when Ella, her parents, and at least one sister moved to St. Paul, Minnesota.

At some point after her father died, Miss Whitney moved with her mother and sister to Minneapolis.

Miss Whitney worked as the secretary for Dr. Cyrus Northup, President of the University of Minnesota for many many years and then continued in the same capacity for his successor. She also served as a pioneer worker for the ballot for women for approximately two decades.

In 1901, Miss Whitney served as on the executive board of the State Equal Suffrage Association during the time that Minneapolis hosted the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. She marched, along with other pioneer suffrage workers during a demonstration in on May 2, 1914. On June 27, 1923, she was one of the “Pioneer Suffrage Leaders” who attended a luncheon/welcoming rally held by the League of Women Voters.

On August 27, 1927, Miss Whitney died in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her remains were returned to Ashburnham, Massachusetts.


Harper, Ida Husted, The History of Woman Suffrage, Volume VI (release date September 21, 2009 [LINK]

The Minneapolis Journal (Minneapolis, Minnesota) · Sat, Apr 20, 1901 · p. 17 Downloaded on Jun 4, 2018

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) · Sun, Apr 5, 1914 · p. 61 Downloaded on Jun 4, 2018

The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) · Mon, Jun 25, 1923 · p. 5

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) Tue., Aug. 30, 1927), p. 11. Accessed online June 3, 2018. Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.

Original data: Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

Year: 1900; Census Place: St Paul Ward 7, Ramsey, Minnesota; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0119 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.

United States, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.

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