Ellen Bryan Moore

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Ellen Bryan Moore

Louisiana Register of State Lands​
In office
1952​ – 1956​
Preceded by Lucille May Grace
Succeeded by Lucille May Grace​
In office
1960​ – 1976​
Succeeded by Elected office abolished​

Born April 13, 1912​
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA​
Died February 20, 1999
(aged 86)​
Baton Rouge, Louisiana​
Resting place Magnolia Cemetery in Baton Rouge​
Nationality American
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) (1) Missing (divorced)
(2) D. Haywood Moore​
Residence Baton Rouge, Louisiana​

(1) Moore joined the Women's Army Corps during World War II and once recruited three hundred women at one time to join the auxiliary group of the United States Army.​
​ (2) Moore was only the third woman in history to be inducted into the Louisiana State University Hall of Distinction in her native Baton Rouge.​
​ (3) Moore's father was fired as warden at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, then in Baton Rouge, in a dispute with then Governor Huey Pierce Long, Jr.
​ (4) As an educator, Moore launched the first soup kitchen in Baton Rouge to assist families of her disadvantaged pupils.​

Ellen Bryan Moore (April 13, 1912 – February 20, 1999)[1] was a pioneer of women in Louisiana politics, having served in the formerly elected office of "Register of State Lands" from 1952to 1956 and 1960 to 1976. During World War II, she was a captain in the Women's Army Corps.[1]


A Baton Rouge native, Moore was the granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin Bryan, a former Baton Rouge mayor, who served during the 1880s. Her father was the warden of the Louisiana State Penitentiary until he was dismissed in a dispute with then Governor Huey Pierce Long, Jr. Moore spent her early years growing up at the manager's residence when the penitentiary was in Baton Rouge, instead of the present site at rural Angola in West Feliciana Parish, near St. Francisville. She was frequently in contact with prisoners, who grew the food required to operate the penitentiary.[2]

Moore attended St. Joseph's Academy and the Louisiana State University demonstration school in Baton Rouge before she enrolled at Tulane University in New Orleans and then the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In 1933, she graduated with teaching credentials from LSU, and in 1950, she obtained a master's degree in education and psychology. After the war, she taught at Wyandotte and later Bernard Terrace elementary schools in Baton Rouge.[2] Moore established the first soup kitchen in Baton Rouge to benefit families of her impoverished pupils.[2] She told an interviewer in 1995 that she had kept up with her former charges years after they had been in her classes.[2]

Women's Army Corps

​ Moore joined the WACs, headed during the war by Oveta Culp Hobby of Houston, a former First Lady of Texas and the first secretary of the former United States Department of Health and Human Services, then known as "HEW," or Health, Education, and Welfare, during the administration of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Moore became a recruiter for the military, having once enlisted three hundred women at one appeal.[2] She worked with pilots in the former Yugoslavia. She commanded a service unit in New Orleans and worked to change the WACs from an auxiliary unit to a military force within the United States Army.[2]

While in the military, she met her second husband, D. Haywood Moore (1907-1986).[3] Moore was previously married and divorced. Her husband was supportive of her political career. The two maintained separate finances during their marriage. After teaching, Moore entered the real estate business, from which perch she announced her candidacy for Register of State Lands, an administrative, otherwise nonpolitical, office that was then elected.[2]

Political activities

Moore was a committed Democrat and active in the party organization. Though she was in the anti-Long faction of the party, she did not support Republican candidates over the years, as had some others in her faction, such as Governors Sam Houston Jones and Robert F. Kennon, Lieutenant Governor Clarence C. "Taddy" Aycock (1915-19087), and state Senator Jackson Beauregard Davis (1918-2016) of Shreveport.[4]

In 1948, Moore ran unsuccessfully on the Sam Jones gubernatorial ticket in opposition to the incumbent, Lucille May Grace.[5]​ In 1952, Moore won a high-profile election against Mary Evelyn Parker, later the state treasurer and like Moore a committed Democrat active in the party structure. Moore ran in the first primary in 1952 on the unsuccessful gubernatorial ticket headed by U.S. Representative [[Hale Boggs}Thomas Hale Boggs, Sr.]], but switched to the Robert Kennon slate in the runoff election.[6] From 1952 to 1956, Moore served on the Louisiana Recreation and Parks Commission and was named chairman of the body in 1960 under Governor Jimmie Davis. She was a former member of the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women.[7]

In January 1956, Moore was unseated by former Register Lucille May Grace (1900-1957) in the statewide gubernatorial sweep by Earl Kemp Long. That fall, Moore worked for the election of former Governor Adlai Stevenson to the American presidency through her role as a national party leader in Louisiana and as a member of the board of directors of United Democrats of Louisiana.[7] Her intra-party rival, Governor Earl Long, also endorsed the Stevenson-Kefauver ticket, the first Democratic slate to lose the electoral votes of Louisiana since 1876. Instead the state supported Eisenhower and Nixon.​

Grace died in office in 1957. An appointee filled the post until 1960, when Moore was again elected to the position, along with Jimmie Davis winning his second nonconsecutive term as governor. In the 1960 elections, Moore first defeated the Democrat Fred Columbus Dent, Sr., of Baton Rouge, the husband of Lucille May Grace. Dent ran on the intra-party ticket of deLesseps Story "Chep" Morrison, Sr., then the mayor of New Orleans.[8] Moore then defeated by a margin of 88-12 percent the Republican Anna Wooten Slagle (1903–1992) of Monroe, a charter member of the Fifth District Republican Women's Club.[9][10]

Thereafter, Moore was either unopposed for the post or had insignificant opposition within the Democratic Party. In 1971, she defeated a primary opponent, James Alan "Jim" Rentz (1933–2011) of Baton Rouge.[11] After John J. McKeithen became governor in 1964, the pro-Long and anti-Long factionalism began to recede, as the state slowly adopted Democrat-Republican inter-party competition.​ ​

Death and legacy

Moore's office was made non-elective in the Louisiana Constitution of 1974. She is interred at Magnolia Cemetery in Baton Rouge alongside husband Haywood Moore. Both markers refer to the Moores' military service. Her marker does not make mention of her having been Register of State Lands.[1] Moore is included in the Louisiana Secretary of State's "Distinguished Women's Exhibit" in Baton Rouge. She was only the third woman nominated to the LSU Hall of Distinction.[7]

On April 2, 2008, Moore was, along with former Judge and 1952 gubernatorial candidate Carlos Gustave Spaht, Sr. (1906-2001), and former state Senator J. D. DeBlieux, both also of Baton Rouge, honored posthumously by the annual Louisiana Governor's Prayer Breakfast.[12]​ ​


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ellen Bryan Moore. findagrave.com. Retrieved on September 7, 2009.The Social Security Death Index mistakenly lists Moore's year of death as 2000. The tombstone affirms 1999.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Interview with Ellen Bryan Moore at T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, September–October 1995. lib.lsu.edu. Retrieved on September 7, 2009.
  3. Social Security Death Index. ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved on September 7, 2009.
  4. Shreveport Journal, September 17, 1964, p. 1.
  5. Minden Herald, January 16, 1948, p. 2.
  6. Minden Press, February 8, 1952, p. 1.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Ellen Bryan Moore. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on September 7, 2009.
  8. Minden Herald, September 17, 1959.
  9. Ouachita Parish Women's Republican Club: Our History. opwrc.com. Retrieved on November 20, 2009.
  10. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election returns for Register of State Lands, April 17, 1960. In that same election Jimmie Davis overwhelmed Republican nominee, Francis Grevemberg.
  11. Minden Press-Herald, November 6, 1971.
  12. Louisiana Governor's Prayer Breakfast. Lagpb.org. Retrieved on September 7, 2009.

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