Rankin, Jeannette, 1880-1973

Alternative names
Dates:
birth 1880‑06‑11
death 1973‑05‑18
Gender:
crnlu, oac, VIAF, LC, WorldCat, harvard, nwda, lc

Biographical notes:

A pacifist and feminist (B.A., University of Montana, 1902) Rankin was the first congresswoman, representing Montana in 1917-1919 and in 1941-43; she was the only Member of Congress to vote against U.S. participation in both world wars. In the 1920s she worked for the National Consumers' League and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and founded the Georgia Peace Society. In the 1930s, she worked for the National Council for Prevention of War. From 1945 to the early 1970s, she traveled extensively, especially in India, opposed the Vietnam War, and worked for the Equal Rights Amendment.

From the description of Papers, 1973. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 232007879

Jeannette Rankin (1880-1973) was the Montana Congressional representative who in 1917 refused to vote for the United States declaration of war, thus beginning her role as a leader of the United States peace movement. A life-long pacifist, she again was the sole member of Congress to vote against participation in World War II in 1941. Rankin served in the House before the Women's Suffrage Amendment was passed (1920). She founded and served as President of the Georgia Peace Society. In 1968 she became active in the anti-war movement of the Vietnam era.

From the description of Collection, 1917-1968, 1917-1929. (Swarthmore College, Peace Collection). WorldCat record id: 29333249

A pacifist and feminist (B.A., University of Montana, 1902), Rankin was the first congresswoman, representing Montana in 1917-1919 and in 1941-1943; she was the only Member of Congress to vote against U.S. participation in both world wars. In the 1920s she worked for the National Consumers' League and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and founded the Georgia Peace Society. In the 1930s, she worked for the National Council for Prevention of War. From 1945 to the early 1970s, she traveled extensively, especially in India, opposed the Vietnam War, and worked for the Equal Rights Amendment.

From the description of Papers, 1941-1945 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 232008860

Jeannette Rankin was a lobbyist for sufferage and peace groups and also the first woman to be elected to the United States Congress. She was born June 11, 1880 in Missoula, Montana and received her education at the University of Montana, Columbia University, and the University of Washington. In 1925 she purchased land near Watkinsville, Georgia where she built a house to serve as a base for her work in the eastern part of the country. She died in Carmel, California on May 23, 1973.

From the description of Jeannette Rankin collection, 1914-2001. (University of Georgia). WorldCat record id: 430823380

A pacifist and feminist (University of Montana, B.A., 1902), Rankin (1880-1973) was the first Congresswoman, representing Montana for the 1917-1919 and 1941-1943 terms; she was also the only member of Congress to vote against U.S. participation in both world wars. In the 1920s she worked for the National Consumers' League and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and founded the Georgia Peace Society. In the 1930s she worked for the National Council for Prevention of War. From 1945 to the early 1970s, she traveled extensively, especially in India, opposed the Vietnam War, and worked for the Equal Rights Amendment.

From the description of Papers, 1915-1965 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 20868954

From the description of Papers, 1915-1965 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 232008072

A pacifist and feminist (B.A., University of Montana, 1902), Rankin was the first congresswoman, representing Montana in 1917-1919 and in 1941-43; she was the only Member of Congress to vote against U.S. participation in both world wars. In the 1920s she worked for the National Consumers' League and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and founded the Georgia Peace Society. In the 1930s, she worked for the National Council for Prevention of War. From 1945 to the early 1970s, she traveled extensively, especially in India, opposed the Vietnam War, and worked for the Equal Rights Amendment.

From the description of Papers, 1961-1971 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 232008452

U.S. representative from Montana.

From the description of Letter, 1917 Sept. 6, Washington D.C., to Perry Walton, Boston. (Boston Athenaeum). WorldCat record id: 184904860

A pacifist and feminist (University of Montana, B.A., 1902), Rankin was the first congresswoman, representing Montana for the 1917-1919 and 1941-1943 terms; she also was the only member of Congress to vote against U.S. participation in both world wars. In the 1920s she worked for the National Consumers' League and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and founded the Georgia Peace Society. In the 1930s, she worked for the National Council for Prevention of War. From 1945 to the early 1970s, she traveled extensively, especially in India, opposed the Vietnam War, and worked for the Equal Rights Amendment.

From the description of Papers, 1879-1976 (inclusive), 1916-1973 (bulk). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 122561644

From the description of Letters, 1917. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 122557959

Jeannette Rankin was born on June 11, 1880, to John and Olive Pickering Rankin on the family's Grant Creek Ranch near Missoula, Montana. Jeannette was raised with her younger brother and five sisters in town. Rankin graduated from Montana State University in Missoula in 1902 and from the New York School of Philanthropy in 1903. In 1910 she began work for the Children's Home Society of Spokane, Washington, where she was given the responsibility of finding homes for the wards of the institution. That same year she enrolled in the University of Washington. It was there she first became involved in the women's suffrage movement. When she learned that the Montana legislature might place a women's suffrage referendum before the voters, she travelled to Helena and became the first women to speak before the state's Legislative Assembly. She left Montana for New York City in 1911 to continue her work for suffrage. In 1913 she was made field secretary for the National American Woman Suffrage Association in North Dakota. Her efforts there were successful and women won the franchise. The suffrage movement took her to Montana where she directed the suffrage activity in the Butte area. In 1914 Montana became the tenth state to give women the vote.

On July 11, 1916, Jeannette Rankin announced her candidacy on the Republican ticket for the U.S. House of Representatives. She was one of eight candidates for Montana's one seat. Her campaign was managed by her younger brother Wellington, a lawyer and editor-manager of the Montana Progressive. Belle Fligelman of Helena, organized and directed the electioneering. Rankin soundly defeated her Republican opponents in the primary, and, though the general election proved to be much closer, Rankin became the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

The 65th Congress convened early in 1917 as a result of the war issue. On April 6, when President Wilson's war resolution reached the House, Congresswoman Rankin voted with 55 other members of the House against the war. She was attacked in both the Montana and national press for her stand, although she claimed that her vote reflected the wishes of her constituents. Rankin did vote, however, for the declaration of war with the Austro-Hungarian Empire in December 1917.

During her first term in Congress, Rankin worked for pensions for veterans and their dependents, salary increases for federal employees, aid for economically depressed and drought-stricken Montana farmers, and national prohibition. She opposed the postal zone system for second class mail as a measure which would result in further isolation for many Westerners who relied upon magazines for news. Rankin also introduced a resolution for American recognition of Irish independence. Her most tangible achievement was in correcting the violations of the eight-hour day law for federal employees by the Federal Bureau of Printing and Engraving.

During the June 1917 miners' strike in Butte, the Metal Mine Workers Union turned to Congresswoman Rankin for support. She had little success, however, in prompting action from Secretary of Labor Wilson, and she introduced a House Joint Resolution authorizing, "the President to take over and operate metaliferous mines in certain cases." The resolution failed and the strike was resolved secretly.

On July 16, 1918, Jeannette Rankin announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate, but was defeated in the Republican primary by Oscar Lanstrum. In September she announced her candidacy on the Nationalist Party ticket, but was defeated in the general election.

Following the election Miss Rankin moved to Georgia, where she bought a small farm. She remained active in the peace movement of the 1920s and 1930s, moving from one peace organization to another, although she centered her efforts in the Georgia Peace Society, which she founded, and the National Council for Prevention of War.

Jeannette Rankin retained her legal residence in Montana, although she continued to live in Georgia. In June 1940 she announced her candidacy for a second term in the U.S. House of Representatives from Montana, and defeated her opponent Jerry J. O'Connell. During the early months of her term she worked to defeat President Roosevelt's Lend-Lease and conscription legislation. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt called a special session of the 77th Congress for December 8, 1941. Congresswoman Rankin cast the single "no" vote.

Miss Rankin actively continued her work in pacifism until her death on May 18, 1973.

From the guide to the Jeanette Rankin Papers, 1916-1919, (Montana Historical Society Archives)



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