Ola Babcock Miller


"Not only did Miller launch the Highway Patrol, she scored another triumph for women; she was Iowa's first female secretary of state."
— Walt Shotwell, The Des Moines Register, August 12, 1989


Ola Babcock Miller was Iowa's first female Secretary of State. Initially elected in 1932, she was reelected twice. Miller died in 1937 at age 65 while serving her third term. Born in 1872 in Washington County, Miller attended Iowa Wesleyan College. Although she was active in the late 19th-century Women's suffrage movement, Miller is best remembered as the founder of the Iowa State Patrol. While Secretary of State, she convinced the state legislature that a statewide law enforcement agency was needed, particularly to enforce highway safety laws. The patrol was created in 1935 and placed under her control, where it grew from a force of 50 men to 150 patrol officers by 1938. Miller also served as state and national president of the P.E.O. Miller was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1975.