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Women's Suffrage in Wyoming: Women in Politics

Since 1869, Wyoming's women have been guaranteed suffrage: the right to vote in elections and hold public office. They were the first in the nation to be granted this right. Learn more in this guide about women's suffrage in the state.

Mary Bellamy

(WSA Sub Neg 1409)

Wyoming House of Representatives, 1911

Bellamy has the distinction of being Wyoming's first female legislator.

Nettie Truax

Wyoming House of Representatives, 1913

Anna B. Miller

Wyoming House of Representatives, 1913 

Miller succeeded her son, Leslie A. Miller, as representative from Albany County

Women in the Legislature

As of 2015, 114 women have served in the Wyoming Legislature:

Alden, Deborah

Anderson, Susan C

Arnold, Sheila

Aullman, Patricia L

Barker, Wende

Behrens, Mary L

Bellamy, Mary G

Berger, Rosie, M

Berry, Nancy

Birleffi, Lynn L

Bodine, Janice M

Boice, Mrs. Fred D, Jr.

Boyle, June

Brimmer-Kunz, April

Brodrick, Marlene

Brown, Margaret

Burton, Johnnie

Byrd, Harriett E

Campbell, Lettie D

Campbell, Rita

Casady, Virginia

Coleman, Katherine K

Connaghan, Lucile

Connolly, Catherine R

Crowley-Suyematsu, Ellen

Cubin, Barbara L

Davison, Kathleen

Dayton, JoAnn R

Devin, Irene

Dickey, Lynn E

Dobos, Barbara

Edelman, Ruth N

Edmonds, Amy L

Enterline, Madge

Eskens, Esther

Fagan, Mrs. Thomas M

Fleming, Deborah

Gams, Sylvia S

Garcia, Edith V

Gentile, Liz

Gilmore, Mary

Ginter, Jana H

Hales, Mary W

Halverson, Martha D

Hammons, Debbie

Hansen, Matilda

Harvey, Elaine

Hendricks, LaVerna

Herbst, Della

Hickey, Win

Humphrey, Shirley J

Hutchings, Lynn

James, Verda I

Job, Rae L

Johnson, Lorna

Kasperik, Norine A

Kastor, Shirley S

Kinney, Lisa F

Law, Clarene

Lummis, Cynthia M

Lynde, Earnest

MacGuire, Mary C

MacMillan, Patti L

Mathews, Mable

McConigley, Nimi

McGrath, Dora

Mercer, Erin E, Mrs.

Meyer, Saundra

Miller, Anna B

Millin, Lori A

Mockler, E. Jayne

Murphy, Nyla A

Nagel, Patricia

Nutting, Leslie J

Odde, Mary E

Parks, Catherine M

Paseneaux, Carolyn

Perkins, Dorothy

Peternal, Nancy F

Petroff, Ruth A

Phelan, Elizabeth

Phillips, C. Elaine

Quarberg, Lorraine K

Robinson, Ann

Rochelle, Mrs. Albert

Rollins, Loraine

Rounds, Peggy L

Ryckman, Louise

Schwope, Mary K

Sessions, Kathryn L

Shepperson, Lisa A

Shreve, Peg

Simons, Marlene J

Spielman, Alice

Stark, Glenda F

Steinmetz, Cheri E

Strand, Ann S

Taylor, Verne A

Taylor-Horton, Pam S

Throne, Mary A

Truax, Nettie

Tugman, Pat A

Vlastos, Carol J

Wallace, Nancy G

Wallis, Sue E

Warren, Jane

Watson, Carol K

Wilkins, Edness K

Wilson, Susan S

Wood, Morna A

Wooldridge, Sherri L

Wostenberg, N. Jane

Wright, Virginia L

Zanetti, Kenilynn S

Women in Politics

Woman's suffrage is often equated with women in politics.   Many women have served in various public offices in Wyoming.  Some of the most notable figures are listed on this page.

    

WSA Sub Neg 5770, First all-woman city government in Wyoming, nicknamed the "petticoat government" by the press, Jackson, Wyoming 1921. L-R: Mae Deloney, Rose Crabtree, Mayor Grace Miller, Fauslina Haight, Genevieve Von Vleck

 

Nellie Tayloe Ross

(WSA Sub Neg 2942)

Governor of Wyoming, 1925-1927

Following her husband's death in 1924, Ross was elected to serve the remaining two years of his term as governor. Though she and Ma Ferguson of Texas were elected on the same day (November 5, 1924), Ross was inaugurated first and thus is known as the 1st female governor in the U.S.

Director of the U.S. Mint, 1933-1953 

Ross was appoint as the first female director of the U.S. Mint in Washington, D.C. and served in this capacity for 20 years until her retirement in 1953, the longest termed director to date.


Resources

Thyra Thomson

(WSA P2010-37/1)

Wyoming Secretary of State 1963-1987

Thomson has the distinction of being the longest-serving state-wide elected official


Resources:

Harriet Elizabeth "Liz" Byrd

(WSA Sub Neg 17522)

Wyoming House of Representatives, 1981-1988

Wyoming Senate, 1989-1992

1st female African American legislator in Wyoming (2nd African American legislator in Wyoming)


Resources:

 

Estelle Reel Meyer

(WSA)

Superintendent of Public Instruction 1895-1899

National Superintendent of Indian Schools 1898-1910

Estelle was the first woman elected to a state-wide office in Wyoming and the second in the nation following Laura J. Eisenhuth of North Dakota's election in 1892.


Resources:

Edness Kimball Wilkins

(WSA Sub Neg 27746)

Wyoming House of Representatives, 1955-1967, 1973

House Speaker Pro Tempore, 1965

Wilkins was the first woman to lead the Wyoming House of Representatives. 

House Majority Whip, 1963

Secretary to Nellie Tayloe Ross at the US Mint

Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park is named for her.


Resources

Minnie A. Mitchell

(WSA Sub Neg 2606)

State Treasurer 1952-1955

State Auditor 1955-1967

State Treasurer 1967-1971

Wyoming's first female State Treasurer and State Auditor. Mitchell was nominated in 1952 to complete her husband's term as State Treasurer and subsequently elected on her own ticket.


Resources

Rita Meyer

State Auditor 2007-2011

Meyer served in the Wyoming Air National Guard for 23 years, including active duty in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, retiring as colonel in November 2007.

Meyer also ran for governor of Wyoming in 2010, but lost in the primary to Matt Mead.


Resources

Kathy Karpan

Secretary of State 1987-1995


Resources

Barbara Cubin

(WSA P2008-13/94)

House of Representatives 1987-1992

Senate 1993-1994

U.S. House of Representatives, 1995-2009

The first woman to represent Wyoming in Congress.


Resources

Cynthia Lummis

(WSA Sub Neg 27702)

Wyoming House of Representatives 1979-1994

State Treasurer 1999-2007

U.S. House of Representative 2008-2017

Lummis was also a part of President Trump's transition team in 2017.


Resources:

Verda James

Wyoming House of Representatives 1955-1969

House Speaker Pro Tempore 1967-1967 

Speaker of the House 1969-1969 

James was the first woman to lead the Wyoming House for a full term.

County Superintendents of Schools

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, education was often seen as being in the "womanly sphere". Many of Wyoming's teachers were women and it was common for school principals and county superintendents to be women as well. In 1890, for the first time in state and national history, all twelve of Wyoming's counties elected women to serve as county superintendents. 

 

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