Ruth Ella Moore graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts in 1925, a Master of Arts in 1927 and a PhD in bacteriology in 1933. Ruth was the first African-American woman to earn a PhD in a natural science. She was born in Columbus, Ohio on May 19, 1903 to William and Margaret Moore. Her mother, Margaret Moore, was a talented artist who graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design. She encouraged Ruth from a young age to pursue a degree in higher education. Dr. Moore was hired as an assistant professor at Howard University Medical College in 1940 where she chaired the bacteriology department from 1947 to 1958. During her tenure at Howard, she was promoted to associate professor. Dr. Moore continued to teach and conduct research on bacteriology at Howard until she retired in 1973. Her research at Howard focused on blood groups and enterobacteriaceae, a family of bacteria which includes salmonella and E. coli.
Besides being a well-known scientist, Ruth Ella Moore was also a seamstress. She received a love of fashion and an elegant, classic style from her mother, the artist. Moore was known to sew much of what she wore. In fact, she made a great majority of her entire wardrobe without having any type of degree in clothing design and construction.