Delphine Squires, matriarch to one of the first families to settle in Las Vegas at the turn of the century, was an important contributor to the city’s growth as a community, as well as the Nevada’s women’s suffrage movement.
Born on January 8, 1868 in Portage City, Washington, her family soon moved to Austin, Minnesota, where she graduated from high school. There she met childhood friend and future husband, Charles Pember Squires. Delphine received a teaching degree in music from the Normal School, Winona, Minnesota. In 1889, Delphine and Charles married in Redlands, California and later moved to Los Angeles where Charles worked in real estate. An active mother of four children, Squires held several different leadership positions in a local chapter of the Congress of Mothers, predecessor to the Parent-Teachers Association. Her husband left Los Angeles for Las Vegas in 1905 and established himself as a community leader and businessman. He is best known as the publisher and editor of the Las Vegas Age, which included contributions from Squires. In April 1906, Squires and her children arrived in Las Vegas, settling in a home at 407 Fremont Street. Squires exhibited an indomitable pioneer spirit and became active in civic affairs to help foster support for the Las Vegas community. In 1907, she spearheaded the effort to establish a branch of the Congress of Mothers to support the fledgling school district. She was instrumental in bringing the first nationally affiliated church to Las Vegas, the Christ Church Episcopal. She helped to found the Mesquite Club, the city’s first women’s service club. Squires became known for her hospitality and open home, entertaining Episcopal bishops, Nevada governors and United States senators, and hosting dinner parties attended by famous opera stars, actors and musicians.
Squires was active in the Nevada Federation of Women’s Clubs (NFWC), worked with suffragists such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and traveled to California, Utah, Indiana, Louisiana, New Jersey and New York. In 1951, the NFWC requested Squires write a history of the Nevada state chapter. In addition to her work for the NFWC, Squires was active in several other organizations, including the Mesquite Club (founding member and second president), the Eastern Star and the Las Vegas Library, where Squires served as Chairman of the Board for several years.
Delphine Squires died at her home on Fremont Street in 1961.
Source: Delphine & C.P. Squires papers. Nevada Women’s Archive. Special Collections, UNLV. Collection number MS 09.
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