Biographical Sketch of Dora Phelps Buell

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Dora Phelps Buell, 1863-1938

By Elia Trucks, Assistant Professor, University of Denver

Dora Phelps Buell was a prolific orator and popular personality, best known for her involvement in the 1893 Colorado movement for equal suffrage. Dora Phelps was born in 1863 in Atchison, Kansas and attended the Fulton and Tunblord School of Oration in Kansas City. In 1884, she married William J. Buell, and they had three children together, Phelps, Clinton, and William J. Buell, Jr. She opened a successful school of oratory in Atchison, before moving to Denver, Colorado with her husband.

She was very politically active in Denver, as a member of the Equal Suffrage Association, Denver Woman's Club, Woman's Bryan Club, Highlands League, Northside Club, and other Reform political clubs. In 1893, she traveled on speaking tours throughout Colorado to promote the suffrage movement. After the 1893 referendum to end discrimination against women voting, she remained politically active in Colorado and nationally, especially within the Populist party and the Silver movement. In 1895, she represented Colorado in the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA)'s annual convention, the National Equal Suffrage Convention in Atlanta, as a Colorado delegate and as an orator. She continued to be active in these communities. In 1918 she was on the National Advisory Council of the National Woman's Party. She moved to Los Angeles, California in the 1920's, and died in 1938 at age 74.


Denver Inside and Out. Denver: History Colorado, 2011.

Leonard, J. William. Woman's who's who of America: a biographical dictionary of contemporary women of the United States and Canada, 1914-1915. New York: American Commonwealth, 1914.

"Kansas and Kansans." Kansas City Times (July 21, 1894).

"Grand Outpouring of Fusion Sympathizers." Denver Post (November 6, 1898), p. 10

"Great Success." Denver Post (November 2, 1898), p. 2

"Democratic Women 'Fight;' Imperil State Recognition." Denver Post (December 29, 1912), p. 5

Wayne, Francis. "Women Will Besiege Ammons for Places on State Boards." Denver Post (November 30, 1912), p. 1

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