Historical Highlights

Representative Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts

March 19, 1881
Representative Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
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Serving 18 terms in the House, Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts chaired the Committee on Veterans' Affairs in the 80th and 83rd Congresses.

 

Representative Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts, a renowned advocate for veterans and the longest-serving woman in House history, was born in Saco, Maine. She succeeded her husband, John Rogers, upon his death in a special election on June 30, 1925, to represent a Massachusetts district in the northeastern part of the state. She served in the U.S. House until her death in 1960. Both before and during her congressional service, she was known widely as a patron of American veterans. She authored legislation that had far-reaching effects on servicemen and women, including the creation of the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps and the GI Bill of Rights. She eventually chaired the Veterans’ Affairs Committee during the 80th and 83rd Congresses (1947–1949; 1953–1955). The American Legion awarded Rogers its Distinguished Service Cross in appreciation for her work on behalf of veterans, making her the first woman to receive the honor. “The first 30 years are the hardest,” Rogers once said of her House service. “It’s like taking care of the sick. You start it and you like the work, and you just keep on.”

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