Ella J. Knowles Haskell
Ella Knowles was born in Northwood, New Hampshire. In 1884 she graduated with honors from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, one of the few co-educational colleges in the Northeast at that time. She began to read the law in New Hampshire, but then moved to the Montana Territory to improve her health.
In Montana, Knowles successfully lobbied the legislature to permit women to be allowed to practice law, and she was admitted to the bar in 1888 after reading law in the Helena office of Joseph Kinsley. In 1889 Knowles was the first woman allowed to practice law in Montana and then she became a partner with Kinsley. She also became the state's first woman notary public. In 1892, 22 years before Montana women received the right to vote, Knowles ran for state Attorney General after being nominated by the Populist Party, becoming the first woman in the nation to run for that office. Although she narrowly lost the election, she was nominated to be Assistant Attorney General by the victor, Henri Haskell, a Republican. Haskell and Knowles later married.
In 1896 Haskell became the first Montana woman to be elected to a political convention (Populist). Throughout her time in Montana, Haskell remained active in the women's suffrage movement. In 1902, Haskell divorced her husband, and she then moved to Butte, Montana where she became a very successful attorney for various mining interests. She went on to argue and win cases before the United States Circuit Court and the United States Supreme Court. Haskell died in Butte in 1911.
The Magistrate Courtroom on the Fourth Floor of the James F. Battin Federal Courthouse in Billings, Montana is also named in her honor.
- Seacoast Women, Ella Louise Knowles Haskell, Seacoast New Hampshire site
- Progressive men of the state of Montana 1. Chicago: A.W. Bowen & Co. pp. 472–475. Retrieved 2013-12-28.
- Ella Knowles Haskell (1860 –1911) “The Portia of the People”, Montana Capitol Display
- Shirley, Gayle C. (1995) More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Montana Women. Helena, Montana: Falcon Publishing Inc.