Jane Andrews Hinds
"She was so close to my father. She knew every thought that he had had...she was with him, you know, every step of the way. She knew his thoughts, she knew his goals, because she was part of it. I don’t think there was as much transition as you might think. It was not "Oh my God, what will I do?” I mean, she had grown up. She knew the legislative process. I think she really enjoyed that year."
— Jane Andrews Hinds, July 21, 2017
In this interview, Jane Andrews Hinds reflects on her parents’ political experience from the 1940s to the 1970s. As the daughter of Representative George Andrews of Alabama, Hinds describes growing up in a political family, splitting time between Washington and Alabama. She also focuses on the life and political career of her mother, Elizabeth Andrews, who spent decades in Washington as the wife of a Member of Congress who later won a special election to fill her husband’s seat after his death in 1971 during the 92nd Congress (1971–1973). Using historic newspapers and insights from her mother’s diary, Hinds discusses her mother’s motivations to run for Congress, including advice from her friend, Texas Congresswoman Lera Thomas, who had also filled her late husband’s House seat. Andrews became the first woman elected to Congress from Alabama, and found the House a welcoming place as she worked for the remainder of the 92nd Congress on her husband’s appropriation projects.
Throughout the interview, Hinds recalls trips she took with her family across the country and around the world, meeting political figures who knew her father, and the life-long friendships she made with her parents’ congressional staff. Her memories of her mother’s transition from serving in the Congressional Club, an organization for the wives of Representatives, to being a Member of Congress sheds light on the experience of congressional widows—a unique aspect of the story of women in Congress.
Jane Andrews Hinds was born in Union Springs, Alabama, in 1939. Her father, George Andrews, served 15 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives until his death in 1971. Her mother, Elizabeth Andrews, succeeded her father by winning a special election, becoming the first woman elected to Congress from Alabama. After her father’s election to the House in 1942, Hinds and her family moved to DC where she attended the National Cathedral School, returning to Alabama every summer. As a student in DC, she played on the tennis team and participated in theater productions. After graduating from high school in 1956, Hinds attended Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, Virginia, and the University of Virginia before graduating in 1961 with degrees in English and history from Salem College, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
In 1959, Jane Andrews married Thomas Hinds and moved to Greensboro, North Carolina. The couple had two children, Elizabeth and Thomas. Hinds worked in advertising, museums, and several other jobs while raising her children. Now retired, Hinds continues to live in Greensboro.
Elizabeth Andrews of Alabama
Jane Andrews Hinds recalls how her parents met while her mother was a home economics teacher.
George Andrews of Alabama Elected to Congress
Jane Andrews Hinds describes her father's unique election to Congress in 1941 while he served in the military.
Class Tours and Homework Help
Jane Andrews Hinds shares memories of her father giving tours to her class and getting homework help from the Library of Congress.
"She Was Very Active"
Jane Andrews Hinds remembers the several roles Elizabeth Andrews played as a mother, a member of the community, and the wife of a Congressman.
Mother's Path to Congress: Part One
Jane Andrews Hinds remembers family friends encouraging her mother to run for her father's House seat after he passed away.
Mother's Path to Congress: Part Two
Jane Andrews Hinds explains how determined her mother was to safeguard funds for the congressional district.
Front row, left to right: Jack Brooks, Frank Osmers, Jr., and an unidentified officer. Standing, left to right, Justin Johnson, Charles Ducander (counsel), William Bray, and George Andrews.