Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920
Biography of Ernestine Wollenberg Black, 1881-1970
By Mariel Aquino, PhD Candidate, University of California, Santa Barbara
Member of the College Equal Suffrage League of Northern California and Member of the League of Women Voters
Ernestine Black was born Ernestine Wollenberg in Arizona in 1881 to German parents. She married her first husband, a newspaperman named Onlum Black, in 1904. By this time, she was living in San Francisco, where she would live until her death. Onlum died sometime between 1910 and 1924, and in 1925, Ernestine married Dr. Jan Don Bell, a psychiatrist. They had an adopted son named William Ball who was born in 1916. She filed for divorce in 1934, citing charges of cruelty. She died in San Francisco in 1970 at the age of 88.
Black was best known throughout her life for her work as a journalist and activist. She was a feature writer for the San Francisco Call in the 1910s and wrote for other publications, such as Overland Monthly. She was very involved in social movements, particularly woman's suffrage; she was a member and leader of the College Equal Suffrage League of Northern California. Her work centered on publicity and she often appeared in newspaper reports of various suffrage events as a leader of the cause. She remained involved in social activism after suffrage, participating in organizations such as the League of Women Voters.
Black, Ernestine. "Indirect Influence Has Been Tried and Found Wanting."The San Francisco call.27 Aug. 1911.
"Equal Suffrage Fight."San Francisco Chronicle.8 June 1913.
“Funeral Home Records, California, San Francisco Country.” Ancestry.com. http://ancestry.com. Accessed June 22, 2018.
Kinard, Edna B. "Jewish Women's Council to Hear Prohibition Talk."Oakland Tribune.27 January 1926.
"Political Notes And Comment."Oakland Tribune.2 May 1946.
"Proper Food for Orphans Will Be Plea."Oakland Tribune.3 April 1919.
"Suffragists Talk to the Native Sons and Daughters."San Francisco Chronicle.11 September 1911.
United States Census, 1910, “California, San Francisco County, Population Schedule.” Ancestry.com. http://ancestry.com. Accessed June 22, 2018.
United States Census, 1920, “California, San Francisco County, Population Schedule.” Ancestry.com. http://ancestry.com. Accessed June 22, 2018.
United States Census, 1930, “California, San Francisco County, Population Schedule.” Ancestry.com. http://ancestry.com. Accessed June 22, 2018.
"Warns Against Slipping Back to Local Option."Santa Cruz Sentinel.10 October 1936.
"Wife is Suing Psychiatrist."Oakland Tribune.21 August 1934.
Wilde, Annie. "Men's Theories Came Crashing Down as Mrs. Robins Kissed Mrs. Johansen."San Francisco Chronicle.5 November 1916.