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Bella Abzug. Campaign poster. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109588).

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Abzug, Bella (24 July 1920–31 March 1998), lawyer, feminist leader, and U.S. representative, was born Bella Savitsky in the Bronx, New York, the daughter of Emmanuel Savitsky, butcher, and Ester Tanklefsky Savitsky. She attended local schools before entering Hunter College in Manhattan, where she took part in student government and was active in the Zionist movement. She entered Columbia University Law School following her graduation in 1942 but soon left school and took a wartime job in a shipyard. She married Martin Abzug, a writer who later became a stockbroker, in 1944; the couple had two daughters. Abzug returned to Columbia and served as editor of the ...

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Bosone, Reva Beck (02 April 1895–21 July 1983), judge and congresswoman, was born in American Fork, Utah, the daughter of Christian M. Beck, a hotel and livery stable owner, and Zilpha Ann Chipman, manager of the hotel. Descended both from Mayflower ancestors and early Utah Mormon pioneers, she was born into a family that emphasized education for both boys and girls. She graduated from Westminster Junior College in 1917 and from the University of California at Berkeley in 1919. She taught speech, drama, and debate in several Utah high schools for seven years before entering the University of Utah College of Law in 1927. There she met and married, in 1929, fellow student Joseph P. Bosone. She received an LL.B. in 1930, shortly before the birth of her daughter....

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Shirley Chisholm. Announcing her candidacy for presidential nomination, 25 January, 1972. Photograph by Thomas J. O'Halloran. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-DIG-ppmsc-01264).

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Chisholm, Shirley (30 November 1924–01 January 2005), first African-American congresswoman and educator, was born Shirley Anita St. Hill in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Charles Christopher St. Hill, a factory worker, and Ruby Seale, a seamstress and domestic worker. She was sent to Barbados for economic reasons at the age of three, where she lived on her maternal grandmother's farm and attended elementary school. Upon returning to New York seven years later she attended local public schools and graduated from Girls' High School in 1942. Despite scholarship offers her family lacked the funds to help her attend a more distant college, so she entered nearby (and tuition-free) Brooklyn College with the intent of becoming a teacher. She became interested in politics while earning her B.A....

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Douglas, Emily Taft (10 April 1899–28 January 1994), congresswoman and social activist, was born Emily Taft in Chicago, the daughter of Lorado Taft, a prominent American sculptor and a professor at the University of Chicago, and Ada Bartlett Taft. Her father was a distant cousin of President ...

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Millicent Fenwick. Courtesy of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Fenwick, Millicent (25 February 1910–16 September 1992), politician, was born Millicent Vernon Hammond in New York City, the daughter of financier Ogden Haggerty Hammond and Mary Picton Stevens. She was the great-granddaughter of Edwin Augustus Stevens, founder of the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. In 1915 Fenwick's mother perished on the ...

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Grasso, Ella Tambussi (10 May 1919–05 February 1981), state and federal legislator and governor of Connecticut, was born in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, near Hartford, the daughter of Giacomo Tambussi, a baker, and Maria Oliva. The daughter of Italian immigrant parents, she graduated magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College in 1940 and then two years later earned an M.A. in sociology and economics from the same institution. She was fluent in Italian and proud of her working-class heritage. Also in 1942 she married Thomas Grasso, a schoolteacher, and they had two children....

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Edith Green. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-112920 ).

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Green, Edith (17 January 1910–21 April 1987), teacher and congresswoman, was born in Trent, South Dakota, the daughter of James Vaughn and Julia Hunt Starrett, schoolteachers. When she was six her family moved to Oregon. She attended public schools and Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. After marrying businessman Arthur N. Green in 1933, she continued to teach and to further her own education. She graduated from the University of Oregon in 1939 and took graduate courses at Stanford. Edith and Arthur Green had two sons and were later divorced....

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Greenway, Isabella (22 March 1886–18 December 1953), congresswoman, businesswoman, and community activist, was born Isabella Selmes in Boone County, Kentucky, the daughter of Martha Macomb Flandrau and Tilden Russell Selmes, a rancher and lawyer. After Isabella’s birth, her mother took her to join Tilden Selmes in North Dakota, where ...

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Martha Griffiths. Washington, D.C., Aug. 12, 1970. Photograph by Warren K. Leffler. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-U9-23069-20).

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Griffiths, Martha (29 January 1912–22 April 2003), U.S. congresswoman, lawyer, and women's rights advocate, U.S. congresswoman, lawyer, and women’s rights advocate, was born in Pierce City, Missouri, to Nell Sullinger Wright and Charles Elbridge Wright, a mail carrier. Her mother took in boarders so that Martha could attend the University of Missouri at Columbia, where she majored in political science and met her future husband, Hicks G. Griffiths, on the debating team. They married in 1933, eloping before she earned her A.B. in 1934; they had no children. Both Griffiths earned law degrees from the University of Michigan in 1940, and during World War II she negotiated contracts for the U.S. Army’s Ordnance Department in the Detroit area. After the war the Griffiths established a law practice with ...

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Hicks, Louise (16 October 1916–21 October 2003), politician, antibusing activist, and U.S. representative, was born Anna Louise Day in South Boston, Massachusetts, the third child and only daughter of William J. Day and Anna McCarron Day. Her father, a judge of the South Boston District Court and a successful lawyer, banker, and real estate investor, was one of South Boston’s most prominent citizens; her mother died when she was fourteen years old. Raised as a Roman Catholic, Louise graduated from the Nazareth School and studied home economics at Simmons College before earning an education degree at the Wheelock School in 1938. For two years she taught in the Brookline public schools, then she became a clerk in her father’s law office. She married John Hicks, an engineer, in 1942, and had two sons....

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Winnifred Mason Huck Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-108377).

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Huck, Winnifred Sprague Mason (14 September 1882–24 August 1936), congresswoman and journalist, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of William Ernest Mason, an attorney, state legislator, and, later, congressman and U.S. senator, and Edith Julia White. After attending public schools in Chicago and Washington, D.C., she graduated from Central High School in the nation’s capital. In 1904 she married Robert Wardlow Huck, a steel company executive. The mother of four children, Winnifred Huck played an active role in Chicago’s social community....

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Barbara Jordan. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-88189).

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Jordan, Barbara (21 February 1936–17 January 1996), lawyer, politician, and university professor, was born Barbara Charline Jordan in Houston, Texas, the daughter of Benjamin M. Jordan and Arlyne Patten Jordan. Her father, a graduate of the Tuskegee Institute, was a warehouse employee until 1949 when he became a minister at Houston's Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church, in which his father's family had long been active. Arlyne Jordan also became a frequent speaker at the church. The Jordans were always poor, and for many years Barbara and her two older sisters shared a bed, but their lives improved somewhat after their father became a minister. Barbara attended local segregated public schools and received good grades with little effort. She gave scant thought to her future, beyond forming a vague desire to become a pharmacist, until her senior year at Phillis Wheatley High School, when a black female lawyer spoke at the school's career day assembly. Already a proficient orator who had won several competitions, she decided to put that skill to use as an attorney....

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Florence Prag Kahn Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-107374).