Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Ruth D. Loomis Skeen, 1879-1947

By Kori Thompson, Professor of History, New Mexico Junior College, Hobbs, NM.

Ruth Loomis Skeen, Poet and author; Women's Club Federation, 1911 delegate and treasurer; Eddy County Democratic State Central Committee delegate

Ruth D. Loomis was born on 5 October, 1879 in Indiana to Luther Loomis and M. Louise Foster. She married Dr. Marvin P. Skeen (known mostly as Dr. M.P. Skeen, New Mexico State Senator) on October 14, 1903 in Tucumseh, Nebraska. Ruth had one daughter Emily S. Woods (1907-1968) The Skeen family moved to Artesia, New Mexico in 1908 where her husband would practice medicine and would later become one of the first state senators in 1912. After her husband developed Tuberculosis, the family moved Los Angeles, California where her husband died in 1926. In the 1940 Census, Ruth was listed as still widowed and living with her daughter, also widowed, in Los Angeles, CA. She died in 1947.

Ruth Loomis Skeen was a supporter of the National League of Women Voters. She lobbied for a federal woman suffrage amendment through the work of the Women's Clubs Federation (also known as the Federation of Women's Clubs in New Mexico) during the 1910s. She served as the original district chairman for the Women's Clubs organization for the Artesia branch and was one of the original delegates to the state convention in Las Cruses, New Mexico that organized the Women's Club Federation in 1911. At that meeting, Ruth was elected as treasurer for the year. She and Mrs. Kathryn M. Ray began issuing a monthly magazine devoted exclusively to the state's Federation of Women's clubs that included articles discussing women's suffrage. Between 1911 and 1920, she was an active participant within the Federation's drive to bombard state representatives, including her own husband, to vote for women suffrage. Even while her husband voted nay for suffrage in a Senate session in 1917, Ruth worked alongside Mrs. Paul A.F. Walter, Mrs. C.E. Mason, Mrs. W.E. Lindsey, and many other women of the Suffrage League and Federation of Women's Clubs to champion women's suffrage while running war bond drives and Red Cross activities.

In a May 1920 article, the New Mexico State Record published a letter written by Ruth submitting a list of names under a "Woman's Party" ticket for consideration to the state's primaries that same year. She included Mrs. Rupert Asplund as Governor, Mrs. W.E. Lindsey as Lieutenant Governor, Mrs. C.E. Mason as Secretary of State, and Mrs. Otero Warren as the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Later that same year, she would become a delegate of the Eddy County Democratic State Central Committee that was responsible for voting on state representatives for the Democratic Party in New Mexico.

Ruth was an enthusiastic adopted daughter of New Mexico and wrote numerous poems regarding her love for the state, the desert, and its people; quite a number of her poems were published with New Mexico newspaper, nation-wide magazines, and books. From July 1920 through the 1930s, she used her passion for championing women's rights to correspondence with W.E.B. DuBois addressing racial discrimination both in New Mexico and country-wide.


"Loomis-Skeen" The Wapanucka Press. (Indiana), 15 October 1903; "Women's Clubs of New Mexico Federate." Las Vegas optic. (East Las Vegas, N.M.), 17 March 1911; "Federation of Women's Clubs Mans fortress and prepares for assault on New Mexico Legislature." Albuquerque morning journal. (Albuquerque, N.M.), 24 Jan. 1915; "Suffrage Finds Traveling Hard in State Legislature." Albuquerque morning journal. (Albuquerque, N.M.), 02 March 1917; "Woman's Party Slate." New Mexico state record. (Santa Fe, N.M.), 05 March 1920; Letter from Ruth Loomis Skeen to W. E. B. Du Bois, July 1920; "Democratic State Central Committee is Reorganized." The Clayton news. (Clayton, N.M.), 11 Sept. 1920; Letter from Ruth Skeen to W. E. B. Du Bois, March 22, 1929; Letter from Ruth Skeen to W. E. B. Du Bois, March 5, 1930; California, Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.

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