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November 30

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
This document has been taken from emailed versions
of Women of Achievement. The complete episode
will be published here in the future.

League of Women Voters


QUOTE by Carrie Chapman Catt.

League of Women Voters

      "In 1920 and 1921, the League of Women Voter's platform set the reform agenda far into the future: national health insurance, unemployment insurance, state and federally funded old-age pensions, expanded appropriations for the Women's Bureau and the Children's Bureau, an end to child labor,maximum-hour and minimum-wage legislation, the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infant Protection Act, pure-milk-and-food legislation, federal aid to education, civil-service reform, full citizenship for women (whether or not married to U.S. nationals), the participation of women at every level of national life, the promotion of international peace and membership in the League of Nations. U.S. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and his successors throughout the l920s - most notably New York's Lusk Committee - condemned the League of Women Voters, and all its works, as Bolshevik's and feared that Leaguers intended to weaken America by destroying the family. [WiiN Ed. note: all were Republicans.]
      "In January 1921, at the annual convention of New York's League of Women Voters at Albany (127 of the l57 women were Republican) New York Governor Nathan Miller invited to speak to the newly enfranchised women of his state used it in order to attack them: 'There is no proper place for a League of Women Voters... Any organization which seeks to exert political power is a menace to our free institutions and to representative government.' He condemned all their efforts outside the two-party system, and particularly assaulted their legislative program.
      "Miller's attack resulted in a vastly increased membership in the League, in part due to Carrie Chapman Catt's spontaneous reply, which received front-page headlines across the country. There remained, she stated, a minority of political men who were bitter against suffragists 'because we are women.'
'I do not recall one time in history when a great reform was brought about by a political party,' Catt said. 'The League of Women Voters aspires to be a part of the big majorities which administer our government, and at the same time it wishes to be one of the minorities which agitate and educate and shape ideas today which the majority will adopt tomorrow.'"
            -- from Blanche Wiesen Cook's remarkable biography of Eleanor Roosevelt.

[You can read more about the League of Women Voters in the WiiN Library.]

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B. 11-30-1854, Mary Eliza McDowell, social worker and reformer. While nursing and helping refugees from the Chicago fire, she developed a life-long interest. Her friendship with Francis E. Willard led her into the Women's Temperance movement, then to the development of kindergartens, became active in Jane Addams' Hull House settlement programs.
      As resident director of the McDowell settlement house (renamed at her death) she forced reform of the habit of using open garbage pits, and developed sanitation in the immigrant areas. She was instrumental in the creation of the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor, supported the labor movement, interceded in race matters, and was active in the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, and the Urban league.

B. 11-30-1854, Claribel Cone, a pioneer physician is better known for the art collection of French Impressionists she developed with her sister Etta. At their deaths, the noted collection went to the Baltimore Museum.

B. 11-30-1874, Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of more than 20 books but none more famous than Anne of Green Gables (1908).

B. 11-30-1919, Jane Cooke Wright, physician-pioneer in cancer chemotherapy research.

B. 11-30-1924, Shirley Chisholm, first black woman to serve in U.S. Congress. Got legislation passed that guaranteed minimum wages for domestic workers. Angered the political powers by actively seeking the presidency, winning 154 delegates. After serving seven terms, Chisholm retired from Congress in 1982, becoming a professor at Mount Holyoke College.

B. 11-30-1929, Joan Gana Cooney, television producer. After winning an Emmy for an anti-poverty special in 1966, she raised the funds to found the Children's Television Workshop which developed and produced Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and provide home and hearth for the Muppets.

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      "I do not recall one time in history when a great reform was brought about by a political party."
            -- Carrie Chapman Catt, quoted by Blanche Wiesen Cook in her biography of Eleanor Roosevelt.

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