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Fauset, Crystal Bird (27 June 1893–28 March 1965), African-American legislator, was born Crystal Dreda Bird in Princess Anne, Maryland, the daughter of Benjamin Bird, a high school principal, and Portia E. Lovett. Crystal’s father died when she was only four, and her mother took over his principalship of the all-black Princess Anne Academy until her own death in 1900. An orphan by age seven, Crystal remained true to her parents’ commitment to education. Ironically, her early loss probably improved the educational opportunities of a child born to Maryland’s segregated Eastern Shore. Reared by an aunt in Boston, she attended public school, graduated from the city’s Normal School in 1914, and taught for three years. She later earned a B.S. from Columbia University Teacher’s College in 1931....

Article

Ickes, Anna Wilmarth Thompson (27 January 1873–31 August 1935), Illinois state legislator and reformer, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Henry Martin Wilmarth, a businessman and banker, and Mary Jane Hawes. Anna grew up comfortably in North Chicago, finishing high school and then attending Miss Hersey’s School in Boston for two years....

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Kearney, Belle (06 March 1863–27 February 1939), temperance advocate, suffragist, and legislator, was born Carrie Belle Kearney in Madison County, Mississippi, the daughter of Walter Gunston Kearney, a planter, lawyer, and politician, and Susannah Owens. Kearney was educated consecutively by a governess, public school, and the Canton Young Ladies’ Academy until the family could no longer afford the tuition. Between the ages of sixteen and nineteen, she led the life of an impoverished “belle”: her autobiographical account describes taking in sewing for former slaves as well as dancing at the governor’s inaugural ball....

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Laughlin, Gail (07 May 1868–13 March 1952), feminist, lawyer, and state legislator, was born Abbie Hill “Gail” Laughlin in Robbinston, Maine, the daughter of Robert Clark Laughlin, an ironworker, and Elizabeth Porter Stuart. After the death of her father, Laughlin’s indigent family moved to Saint Stephen, New Brunswick, where her mother’s family resided. In 1880 the family settled in Portland, Maine, where Laughlin graduated from Portland High School in 1886, receiving a medal for the highest marks....