To celebrate Women’s History Month, this Edition for Educators blog focuses on content and images we’ve added to the History, Art & Archives website within the last year, including new oral histories, recent blogs, historical artifacts, and updated statistics for the 116th Congress (2019–2021). We’ve also added a new House Record to commemorate the House passage of H.J. Res. 1 in May 1919, which, a year later, was ratified by the states as the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote.
House Joint Resolution 1 for Women’s Suffrage
Passed by the House of Representatives on May 21, 1919, this bill enshrined women’s suffrage in the U.S. Constitution following its ratification by the states. The U.S. Secretary of State certified it as the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida: “First Latina Elected to Congress”
Florida Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen recalls how she learned she made history as the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress, and discusses what that distinction meant to her.
For more on Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s experiences in Congress, check out her Oral History page.
Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania: “A Different Style”
Pennsylvania Representative Allyson Y. Schwartz explains how women often brought a different legislative style and a different perspective to Congress.
For more on Allyson Schwartz’s experiences in Congress, check out her Oral History page.
Allyson Y. Schwartz Lapel Pin
In 2004, Allyson Schwartz used this button in her successful campaign for Congress. “We used a lot of this bright blue that’s good campaign blue, actually,” she remembered later. “Someone once referred to it as a Schwartz blue because I used it so much.”
In this photograph, Evelyn Carollo, secretary for Representative John Bennett of Michigan, hit the ground running for the party transition in the 83rd Congress (1953–1955), taking care of business even as their brand new office, Longworth House Office Building Room 1210, got a fresh coat of paint.
Jeannette Rankin for Senate
Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana earned a permanent place in U.S. history by becoming the first woman elected to Congress. She served two non-consecutive terms and became the only person to vote against America’s entry into both World War I in 1917 and World War II in 1941. Rankin’s “no” vote in 1941 cost the Congresswoman her seat in Congress; Rankin’s “no” vote in 1917 did not. Despite what some modern reference works might suggest, Rankin’s opposition to World War I had modest, if any, influence on the length of her tenure in the House. In fact, by the time Rankin cast her vote against entering World War I in April 1917, she was already considering not running for re-election to the House in order to become a candidate for the Senate. And by 1918 she was a significant challenge to an incumbent U.S. Senator.
One brisk January morning in 1871, feminist leader Susan B. Anthony stepped off the train in Washington. She was in town for a huge suffrage convention, arriving early to buttonhole Congressmen beforehand. A scan of the newspapers confirmed what Anthony’s fellow lobbyist, Isabella Hooker, rushed up to tell her: scandalous Victoria Woodhull, spiritualist, stockbroker, and presidential candidate, would testify on women’s suffrage before the House Judiciary Committee, the very next day.
In the early 1920s, one Member of Congress flipped and looped over the Capitol in a biplane. But after famous pilot Charles Lindbergh took Representatives up for a ride in 1928, aviation soared in the imaginations of people all over Capitol Hill. For Massachusetts Representative Edith Nourse Rogers, however, flying was familiar; she had already flown aboard land and sea planes before she took up Lindbergh’s offer.
Women in Congress, 1917-2017: Historical Data
As part of the Women in Congress exhibit, the office maintains historical data on women Members of Congress. To date, 365 women have served in Congress. One hundred and thirty-one are current Members—106 serve in the House and 25 serve in the Senate. Beyond total numbers, the Office of the Historian also tracks committee assignments, committee and party leadership positions, and co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues.
This is part of a series of blog posts for educators highlighting the resources available on History, Art & Archives of the U.S. House of Representatives. For lesson plans, fact sheets, glossaries, and other materials for the classroom, see the website's Education section.Follow @USHouseHistory