Louise Alberta Spencer Ellis

Photo from Reno Evening Gazette, September 12, 1918, pg. 2

Birth: March, 1858 Bangor, Maine
Death: July 11, 1938 San Leandro, California

Role in Women’s Suffrage: The first woman candidate for statewide elected
office; President of the Nevada Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1917-1919

HerStory: Louise Spencer was born in Bangor, Maine, to Albert J. and Sarah Warren T. Spencer. Louise studied at Radcliffe, the Harvard college for women. She moved to Carson City for a teaching position. In February 1885, she performed in a local theater production with her soon-to-be husband, P.B. Ellis. Louise Spencer and Pearis Buckner Ellis, a prominent attorney in Carson City, were married in the home of Hannah Clapp on Christmas Eve, 1886. They had one daughter, Anna Louise Ellis Sampson.

She was very active in Nevada women’s clubs, serving as President of the Nevada Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1917-1919. She was a lifelong member of the Order of Eastern Star and was a past worthy matron of the Carson Chapter Esther Chapter No. 3. Louise Ellis was a charter member of the Leisure Hour Club in Carson City.
In 1918, when she was nominated by the Republican Party of Nevada for Secretary of State, Louise Spencer Ellis became the first Nevada woman nominated by a major political party for a statewide elected office.

Louise died in 1938 in San Leandro, Calif. and is buried with her family in the Masonic Memorial Gardens in Reno, Nevada.

Researched and written by the Nevada Women’s History Project for the Nevada Commission for Women, 2020