Historical Highlights

Representative Gracie Pfost of Idaho

August 11, 1965
Representative Gracie Pfost of Idaho Image courtesy of Library of Congress Gracie Pfost earned the nickname, “Hell's Belle”, because of her stalwart support for the construction of a publicly funded and operated dam at Hells Canyon, Idaho. She died before its completion in 1967.
On this day, Representative Gracie Pfost [pronounced “post”] of Idaho died in Baltimore, Maryland. Unlike many of her female contemporaries, Congresswoman Pfost did not succeed her husband in the 83rd Congress (1953–1955). In fact, her husband, Jack Pfost, worked as an unpaid assistant in his wife’s office and was her closest political consultant. Once in the House, Pfost became chairwoman of the Interior and Insular Affairs Subcommittee on Public Lands. From her position, she oversaw 450 million acres of federal land. She observed that a woman in politics seeking political office, “must be willing to have her every motive challenged, her every move criticized.”  She added that she “must submit to having her private life scrutinized under a microscope . . . and [being] the subject of devastating rumors every day.” Pfost served five terms in the House before she lost her campaign for the unexpired term of Idaho Senator Henry C. Dworshak in 1962.

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