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Nell Battle Lewis (May 28, 1893 - November 26, 1956) was an American journalist and lawyer in North Carolina. She was an advocate for worker's and women's rights, and at the end of her career the threat of communism, and perhaps the best known female advocate for racial segregation.
Early life and education
Cornelia Battle Lewis was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, the daughter of Richard Henry Lewis, a doctor and medical school professor. Her mother was Mary Gordon Lewis, who died when Cornelia was three years old. She was named for her father's first wife, Cornelia Battle, and raised in the home of her father's third wife, Annie Blackwell Lewis. Cornelia's older brother was botanist Ivey Foreman Lewis.
Immediately after college she worked about a year with the National City Bank in New York City. In 1918, she went to France as part of the YWCA's wartime work for American forces there. She was back in North Carolina by 1920 working at the Raleigh News and Observer. Her long-running society page column, "Incidentally," launched in 1921, making her that newspaper's first female columnist. She was known as "Battling Nell" for her many efforts for women's rights, workers' rights, improved education and public health in North Carolina.
Outside her newspaper work, Lewis did publicity work for the Board of Charities and Public Welfare, the League of Women Voters, the State Federation of Women's Clubs, and the Legislative Council. She ran unsuccessfully for the state legislature in 1928. In 1929, she was admitted to the North Carolina bar. She did not practice law full-time, but used her qualifications to defend a group of women's reformatory inmates accused of arson. She published a report on the practice of capital punishment in North Carolina. Her ongoing writing projects included a textbook, a biography of Dorothea Dix, and a novel.
^Elizabeth Gillespie McRae (July 2004). "To Save a Home: Nell Battle Lewis and the Rise of Southern Conservatism, 1941-1956". The North Carolina Historical Review. North Carolina Office of Archives and History. 81 (3): 261-287. JSTOR23523120.