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Dept. 3226, Bureau of Mines
Laramie, WY 82071
Phone: (307) 766-2379
Fax: (307) 766-6729

UW Profiles

Nellie Tayloe Ross, Wyoming Governor

Nellie Tayloe Ross was elected as the first female governor in the United States and Wyoming’s only female governor to date. After the passing of her husband, she took office in 1924. Once completing her term as governor, Ross, by now a polished public speaker, was in high demand on the Chatauqua circuit and traveled across the country. She also remained active in Democratic party politics, eventually serving as National Democratic Committee Chairman. Ross made the seconding speech for Al Smith at the Democratic National Convention in 1928 and campaigned on his behalf. In 1932, she directed the campaign for the women’s vote for Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 1933, Ross was appointed Director of the U.S. Mint by President Roosevelt, becoming the first woman to hold that position. As such, Ross became the first woman to have her likeness imprinted on a mint metal and inscribed on the cornerstone of a government building; three such structures were constructed during her tenure, the gold depository at Fort Knox, the silver depository at West Point and the U.S. Mint in San Francisco. During her twenty year tenure as director Ross presided over the greatest expansion in mint production.

Ross Hall is named in her honor.


Courtesy of the UW American Heritage Center. Image courtesy of the UW American Heritage Center.

Nellie Tayloe Ross

Nellie Ross was the first female governor in the U.S. and Wyoming's only female governor. After her term she served the Democratic party, including a twenty year tenure as the Director of the U.S. Mint, starting under President Roosevelt.

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