Florence Kahn: Congressional Widow to Trailblazing Lawmaker

Historical Highlight

Fast Facts

Since 1917, when Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman to serve in Congress, nearly 300 women have followed. Women in Congress documents their service.

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Florence Kahn/tiles/non-collection/e/ex_kahn_hc.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
In 1925, Florence Prag Kahn succeeded her late husband Julius in a San Francisco-based U.S. House seat. Most early congressional widows served as temporary placeholders until party leaders chose long-term, male successors. But Kahn was no ordinary political widow. With an insider’s knowledge of House operations and a gift for turning a phrase, she set herself to “attending to business”—expanding the Bay Area’s infrastructure and military installations during her 12-year career, while blazing a trail for women seeking political office.