Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Ella S. Mitchell, 1857-1935

By Mary A. van Balgooy, Executive Director, Society of Woman Geographers

President of the Oakland Woman's Christian Temperance Union; Corresponding Secretary for the Political Equality League; Secretary for the Alameda County Political Equality League; Recording Secretary for the Suffrage Amendment League; Treasurer of the California Equal Suffrage Association

As a business woman dealing in real estate, Ella S. Mitchell actively involved herself in suffrage and temperance activities in Oakland, California. Born in January 1857 in New York, Mitchell married John A. Mitchell, an immigrant from England, in 1878. The Mitchells lived in Kansas for several years before making Oakland their home.

In the early1900s, Ella S. Mitchell participated in the Oakland Woman's Christian Temperance Union and was its president in 1909. Woman's suffrage was another one of her passions. In 1902, she served as corresponding secretary for the Political Equality League. In 1903, she served as secretary for the Alameda County Political Equality League, and in 1907, as recording secretary for the Suffrage Amendment League. From 1907 to at least 1909, Mitchell served as Treasurer of the California Equal Suffrage Association. In addition, she marched in a suffrage parade in Oakland, the first one held in the United States, in August 1908. She gave speeches on woman's suffrage and a woman's right to work in business or the professions. She attended various suffrage conventions. On August 25, 1911, Mitchell joined over 300 women on a “Suffrage Special” train from San Francisco to Sacramento to attend the state fair and demonstrate for woman's suffrage. A picture in the Oakland Tribune features Mitchell as a “suffragette who left this morning on the Western Pacific ‘Suffrage Special.'”

Ella S. Mitchell seems to have become less politically active after women gained the right to vote in California in 1911. Her marriage ended in divorce in the 1920s and she died in 1935 in California.


“Woman Suffragists Hold Their County Convention: Elect Officers and Adopt Resolutions in Favor of Giving Elective Franchise to Their Sex,” San Francisco Call, September 14, 1902.

“Women Indorse Plan of Mayor,” San Francisco Call, October 25, 1903.

“Choose Women Delegates,” San Francisco Call, January 21, 1906.

“Women Form Suffrage Amendment League,” San Francisco Call, September 20, 1907.

“Raises Fund in Honor of Susan B. Anthony,” San Francisco Call, May 27, 1908.

“Convention to Discuss Industrial Conditions: State Woman's Suffrage Association Plans Big Meeting Early in October,” San Francisco Call, June 7, 1908.

“Suffragettes Parade to Convention Hall and View Proceedings from Gallery,” San Francisco Call, August 28, 1908.

“Suffragists are Against Leavitt,” San Francisco Call, September 19, 1908.

“Equal Suffrage Workers to Rally,” San Francisco Call, October 2, 1908.

“Wage Earning Line Divides Suffragettes,” San Francisco Call, October 4, 1908.

“Equal Suffrage Members Line Up for Battle,” San Francisco Call, April 4, 1909.

“Two Factions in Convention of Suffragists,” San Francisco Call, October 2, 1909.

“Susan B. Anthony Club Greets New Members,” San Francisco Call, September 20, 1910.

“Suffragists Invade the State Capital,” Oakland Tribune, August 25, 1911.

“California Death Index, 1905-1939,” FamilySearch ( QKS9-CL4R: accessed 19 April 2018).

1911 Husted's Oakland, Alameda, and Berkeley Directory.

Powers, Laura Bride, ed. “Official Suffrage Page.” Western Woman 1 (Jan-Feb 1907): 7.

Simpson, Lee M. A., Selling the City: Gender, Class, and the California Growth Machine, 1880-1940 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004), 34.

"United States Census, 1900," FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 April 2018).

"United States Census, 1910," FamilySearch ( : accessed 3 May 2018).

"United States Census, 1920," FamilySearch ( : accessed 3 May 2018).

"United States Census, 1930," FamilySearch ( : accessed 3 May 2018).

back to top