Image courtesy of Library of CongressRepresentative Ruth Hanna McCormick of Illinois was the first Member of Congress to be married to two other Members of Congress.
On this date, Ruth Hanna McCormick of Illinois was born in Cleveland, Ohio. For more than three decades she constantly campaigned as the daughter of Republican kingmaker and Ohio Senator Marcus Alonzo “Mark” Hanna, as the wife of U.S. Representative and Senator Medill McCormick, and as a Grand Old Party leader herself. In the late 1920s she forged a personal political machine, a network of Illinois Republican women’s clubs potent enough to propel her into elected office. “I don’t want to be appointed to anything,” McCormick said when asked if she would accept a prominent diplomatic or government post. “That wouldn’t appeal to me. I want to be elected in a fair fight on a clean-cut issue.” In 1928, McCormick ran for one of Illinois’ two At-Large U.S. House seats in the 71st Congress (1929–1931). She was a tireless campaigner and an engaging speaker who addressed crowds extemporaneously. McCormick advertised her party experience, not her gender. “The first and most important thing that I want to drive home is this: I haven’t gone into this as a woman,” McCormick told the New York Times. She won a House seat for a term, but instead of seeking re-election, McCormick unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 1930.