Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Ruth May Connor Nowell, 1889-1957


Photo Credit: Jo Connors, Who's Who in Arizona, 1913

Special Correspondent and Secretary-Treasurer, Pima County Equal Suffrage League

By Amanda Ritter-Maggio, English instructor, University of Arkansas Community College at Hope-Texarkana

Ruth May Connor was born on February 28, 1889 in Clinton, Missouri to Colonel John P. Connor and Ella Duffer Connor. Her siblings included Emma, John, and James. Colonel Connor, born in Ohio, was a United States Army officer during the Civil War who later moved to Arizona and then to California. According to the 1913 issue of Who's Who in Arizona, he "was prominent in politics in the latter state [Missouri] and was a personal friend of many of the well known public men." Ruth attended schools in Kansas City, Missouri as well as St. Vincent's Academy in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Ruth married Bailey Lee Nowell in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on April 12, 1904. Bailey worked as a newspaper printer and was involved with the Citizen Publishing Company in Santa Fe. The couple had two children, Elmer Bailey, born in 1906; and Dora Mae, born in 1907.

Ruth joined the Arizona suffrage movement. According to reports, she "was very active during the recent campaign for suffrage and was one of the especially hard workers for the cause in the final conflict whose efforts were effective in bringing about the desired result." She was elected secretary-treasurer of the Pima County Woman Suffrage Association on January 23, 1912 and also served as the organization's special correspondent.

By the summer of 1912, Ruth's father was living in the Los Angeles, California area. She and her children made frequent trips to visit him as his health deteriorated. Sometime in late 1912 or early 1913, the Nowell family relocated to Venice, California, where Ruth became a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Women's Relief Corps, and the Ladies of the Maccabees of the World. She also served as chairman of the Venice Grammar School's Parent-Teacher Association Ways and Means Committee.

Ruth died on August 3, 1957 in Los Angeles, California. She was buried in a family plot in Woodlawn Cemetery, Santa Monica.

Sources: 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010. 1880 U.S. Census Index provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints © Copyright 1999 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. All use is subject to the limited use license and other terms and conditions applicable to this site. U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.

Connors, Jo. Who's Who in Arizona Vol. 1. 1913. Google Books,

"Mrs. Dr. Rose Boido Heads Suffragists." The Arizona Daily Star 24 Jan. 1912.,

Obituary for Ruth May Nowell. The Los Angeles Times 06 August 1957.,

"United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 1 September 2020), Ruth M Nowell in household of Bailey Nowell, Tucson Ward 2, Pima, Arizona, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 103, sheet 1B, family 22, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 41; FHL microfilm 1,374,054.

"Venice." The Los Angeles Times 01 April 1917.,

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