Nona (Nonie) Boren Mahoney, suffragist and activist clubwoman, daughter of Benjamin N. and Sue (McKellar) Boren, was born in Tyler, Texas. She was a fourth generation Texan: her grandfather, Samuel Hampson Boren, fought in the Texas Revolution, and her great-grandmother, Mary Moore Dickson, molded bullets in the Nacogdoches blockhouse during Indian raids. Her father was a major in the Confederate Army. She studied music, literature, and philosophy at Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia, and in New York. She was a member of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, Daughters of the Texas Republic, and United Daughters of the Confederacy. She also served as vice president of the Dallas Equal Suffrage Association in 1918 and was a member of the board of directors of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. In 1919 she was elected president of the DESA. On February 5, 1919, when Governor William P. Hobby signed a resolution to submit to the voters a woman suffrage amendment to the state constitution, he used two gold pens, then presented one to Minnie Fisher Cunningham, president of the Texas Equal Suffrage Association, and the other to Nona Mahoney.
Mahoney was elected the first president of the Dallas League of Women Voters in 1920 and from then until her death in 1926 exemplified Texas women's active participation in the Democratic party. She was the only woman in Texas to preside at a precinct convention in 1920 and was appointed to the Democratic Administration Executive Committee for the national party convention in San Francisco. She was the delegate from Texas to notify Governor James M. Cox of his nomination for President. In 1923 she was Democratic national committeewoman for Texas at the state party's executive committee meeting. She married Joseph P. Mahoney of Chicago, an attorney and Illinois state senator; they had a son. She died in Forney, Texas, on March 20, 1926, and was buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Tyler, Texas.
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The Handbook of Texas Women project has its own dedicated website and resources.
Dallas Morning News, March 23, 1926. A. Elizabeth Taylor, Citizens at Last: The Woman Suffrage Movement in Texas (Austin: Temple, 1987). Who's Who of the Womanhood of Texas, Vol. 1 (Fort Worth: Texas Federation of Women's Clubs, 1923–24).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Elizabeth York Enstam,
“Mahoney, Nona Boren,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 18, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
April 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
October 15, 2019
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: