Sylvia M. Donaldson
Birth: July 12, 1849
Death: June 15, 1937
Educated: Boston University
Profession: District School Principal in Brockton, until 1919
Involvement in Organizations: Audubon Society, Daughters of the Revolution, National Education Association, League of Women Voters, Women's Civic Federation
Public Office Served: Massachusetts School Board, Massachusetts House of Representatives 1923-1930
Susan W. Fitzgerald
Birth: May 9, 1871
Death: January 20, 1943
Education: Schools of Salem, Boston; Washington, D.C., Bryn Mawr College
Involvement in Organizations:Bryn Mawr Club, Democratic State Committee
Public Office Served: Massachusetts House of Representatives 1923-1924
1925 - Woman elected to the United States House of Representatives - Edith Nourse Rogers (Republican)
1935 - Woman to hold a committee chair - Representative Mary Livermore Norris Barrows (Republican - Melrose) - Committee on Pensions and Old Age Assistance
1937 - Woman elected to the Massachusetts State Senate - Sybil Holmes (Republican)
1972 - Woman legislator from Western Massachusetts - Iris Holland (Republican - Longmeadow)
1973 - Woman to hold a leadership position in the Massachusetts Senate - Senator Mary Fonseca (Democrat - Fall River) - Senate Majority Whip
1979 - Woman to hold a leadership position in the Massachusetts House of Representatives - Representative Iris Holland (Republican - Longmeadow) - House Minority Whip
1986 - Woman Lieutenant Governor - Evelyn Murphy (Democrat)
2001 - Woman Governor - Jane Swift (Republican)
2007 - Woman Senate President - Therese Murray (Democrat)
On February 18,1926 Sylvia Donaldson was made Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives for a day. She would be the first and last woman in Massachusetts to hold this honor.
Jane Swift was not elected governor, but replaced Paul Cellucci when he resigned as governor to accept the office of United States Ambassador to Canada.
Shannon O'Brien, with her election to the office of State Treasurer in 1999, became the first woman elected to a constitutional office in Massachusetts other than Lieutenant Governor.
Massachusetts has only elected three Lieutenant Governors:
- Evelyn Murphy (Democrat) 1987-1990
- Jane Swift (Republican) 1999-2001
- Kerry Healey (Republican) 2003-2006
Massachusetts has never elected a woman to the United States Senate and has only elected three women to the United States House of Representatives:
- Edith Nourse Rogers (Republican) 1925-1960
- Louise Day Hicks (Democrat) 1971-1973
- Margaret M. Heckler (Republican) 1967-1983
In 2001, Massachusetts ranked 19th out of the fifty states in percentage of women serving in the state legislature (Center for American Women and Politics).
Sullivan, Cynthia M. Women in the Massachusetts General Court, 1923-1980. Wellesley, Massachusetts: Wellesley College, 1979.
Massachusetts Politics and Policy Online
Center for American Women and Politics
Aucoin, Don. "Beacon Hill's Glass Dome - Massachusetts Has One of the Nation's Worst Records in Electing Women to Statewide Office. An Ambitious Group of Candidates Hopes to Change that in 1998". Boston Globe. November 2,1997. p. BGM 20.
Savage, Neil J. "Given the Gavel on Beacon Hill Women Still Struggling to be Recognized". Boston Globe. February 13, 2000. p. E3.
State Library of Massachusetts. Number of Women in the Massachusetts General Court 1923/24-present. Boston, Massachusetts: State Library of Massachusetts, 1971.
Taymor, Betty. Running Against the Wind: The Struggle of Women in Massachusetts Politics. Northeastern University Press: Boston, Massachusetts, 2000.
This information is provided by The State Library of Massachusetts.