In 1895 Carrie Clyde Holly, Frances S. Klock and Clara Cressingham were elected to the Colorado General Assembly--the first women state legislators in the United States. Two years later Utah elected the first woman state senator, Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon of Salt Lake City. Arranged by state or territories, this is a listing of the nearly 6,000 women who have served in legislatures in the United States. For each state or territory there is a brief history of women in the legislature, giving the date women gained suffrage in the state, the first election in which women voted for legislators, the first female legislator, election information, and a graph showing the electoral history of women legislators. This is followed by a listing of women who have served in the state legislature, giving the city and county from which she was elected, her party affiliation and the years she served.
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The lengthy preface describes the author's inspiration for this project and the labyrinthine process she went through to collect names and dates from buried historical records and newspapers. The introduction gives a brief history of women's suffrage in the U.S. and of women's service in state government, focusing on the first three women elected in Colorado in 1895. It also includes data about voting patterns and an indication of future trends. The body of the book is organized alphabetically by state or territory (including Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands). A short history of women's suffrage and service in the state and an explanation of the area's government structure are followed by a chronological list of women legislators within the senate or house. Their party affiliation and terms of office are given, as are see references when they served in both houses or under different names. A graph shows women as a percentage of the legislature in each state. Appendixes include "Women State Legislators Statistics, 1895^-1995," "First Women Legislators of States and Territories," and "First Women State Legislators by Ethnic Background." The bibliography is subdivided into rosters by year, national directories, and state sources. There is a name index.
The body of the book, being lists, does not make for fascinating reading. But the introductory material for each state and for the book as a whole, and the sheer magnitude of research evident from the lists, make this book well worth its price for academic and large public libraries.Review:
"labor of love breaks new ground in the study of state government" -- Rettig on Reference
"superb resource...highly recommended" -- Reference Book Review
"the sheer magnitude of research...makes this book well worth its price" -- Booklist/RBB
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