Ruth Eleanor Donaldson Christianson

Ruth E. Christianson (Mrs. Theodore), c. 1924First Lady
January 6, 1925 - January 6, 1931

Born: January 31, 1886
in Dundas, Minnesota

Died: August 16, 1944
in Dawson, Minnesota

Married June 4, 1907 to Theodore Christianson

Ruth Eleanor Donaldson was born in Dundas, Minnesota in 1886 to James Fulton Donaldson and Eudora T. Thompson, the third of four children.

Ruth and Theodore Christianson both attended the University of Minnesota; they were married in 1907. When Theodore completed law school in 1909 the Christiansons moved to Dawson, Minnesota, where Theodore practiced law and Ruth served as editor and publisher of Theodore's newspaper, the Dawson Sentinel. Ruth was also a charter member of the Dawson Women's Civic League, organized shortly after women were given the right to vote in 1920. The Christiansons had two sons, Robert (b. 1908) and Theodore Jr. (b. 1913).

Theodore Christianson was elected governor of Minnesota in 1924. As first lady Ruth hosted ladies' teas to promote suffrage and to educate women on how to exercise their right to vote and she addressed the Literary Society of St. Paul on the achievements of women since winning the franchise. Ruth also entertained the Dome Club, whose members were spouses of state officials as well as the new female members of the Minnesota Legislature.

Theodore left politics in 1937 and took a job in Chicago. After his retirement the Christiansons returned to Dawson. Ruth died there in 1944 after a brief illness; she was 58. Theodore remarried in 1946, to Mayme Bialeschki Bundy; he died in 1948.

Photographs of Ruth Christianson