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Educational Resources

A school group visits the Rostrum on a tour of the House Chamber.A school group visits the Rostrum on a tour of the House Chamber.Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress

This page features materials designed to help teachers and students use the information presented in Women in Congress in their classrooms. It includes lesson plans on the women pioneers who served on Capitol Hill from 1917 to 2006 as well as activities on photographs, objects, and quotations. Also included are a collection of fast facts on women’s congressional service, a link to an interactive map, and a list of online educational resources. The additional resources are intended to guide students and teachers into the primary sources provided online by the Office of the Clerk and related agencies.

Request a copy of the publication

In an effort to make the publication Women in Congress, 1917–2006 more accessible to students, the Office of History and Preservation will provide a complimentary copy of the book to educators for classroom use, subject to availability. Interested teachers should complete and return the form below to the Office of History and Preservation.

Fast Facts

  • First woman elected to the House of Representatives
    Jeannette Rankin (R-MT) was elected to the House of Representatives in 1916.

  • First woman to serve in the Senate
    Rebecca Felton (D-GA) was appointed to the Senate in 1922.

  • First woman elected to the Senate
    Hattie Caraway (D-AR) was elected to the Senate in 1931.

  • First Asian-American woman elected to Congress
    Patsy Mink (D-HI) was elected to the House of Representatives in 1964.

  • First African-American woman elected to Congress
    Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) was elected to the House of Representatives in 1968.

  • First Hispanic woman elected to Congress
    Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) was elected to the House of Representatives in 1989.

  • First woman to preside over the House of the Representatives
    Alice Robertson (R-OK) was the first woman to preside over the House Chamber in 1922.

  • First woman to preside over the Senate
    Hattie Caraway (D-AR) was the first woman to preside over the Senate Chamber in 1943.

  • First woman to chair a committee in the House of Representatives
    Mae Ella Nolan (R-CA) was the first woman to chair a House committee in 1923.

  • First woman to chair a committee in the Senate
    Hattie Caraway (D-AR) was the first woman to chair a Senate committee in 1933.

  • First woman elected to party leadership in Congress
    Chase Going Woodhouse (D-CT) was the first woman to be elected to a party leadership position in 1949.

  • First woman Speaker of the House of Representatives
    Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was the first woman elected Speaker of the House of Representatives in 2007.

Online Resources

  • Online Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
    Searchable database that contains biographical information on every person who served in Congress.
    http://bioguide.congress.gov

  • Black Americans in Congress
    This Web site, based on the book Black Americans in Congress, 1870–2007, contains biographical profiles of former African-American Members of Congress, links to information about current black Members, essays on institutional and national events that shaped successive generations of African Americans in Congress, and images of each individual Member, supplemented by other historical photos.
    http://baic.house.gov

  • U.S. House of Representatives, Office of the Clerk, Art & History
    Includes information on the history and art of the U.S. House of Representatives such as weekly historical highlights, the evolution of the Old Hall of the House, the Centennial of the Cannon House Office Building, party divisions, congressional apportionment, leadership and officers, and significant events.
    http://clerk.house.gov/art_history/index.html

  • Florence Kahn: Congressional Widow to Trailblazing Lawmaker
    This site honors Florence Kahn of California, who served her late husband’s district for 12 years and paved the way for women seeking political office.
    http://florencekahn.clerk.house.gov

  • ClerkOfTheHouse YouTube Channel
    Visit the official House of Representatives YouTube channel dedicated to the Office of the Clerk. Videos include “Florence Kahn Congressional Widow to Trailblazing Lawmaker” and excerpts from interviews conducted by the Office of History and Preservation as part of the Oral History of the House project.
    http://www.youtube.com/ClerkOfTheHouse

  • Senate Historical Office
    Includes information on the history and art of the U.S. Senate such as facts & milestones, historical statistics, featured biographies, and a photographic collection.
    http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/Senate_Historical_Office.htm

  • Library of Congress/THOMAS
    Searchable database of congressional legislation from 1973 to present (Bill Text and Roll Call Votes are available from 1989 to present)
    http://thomas.loc.gov

  • Library of Congress, Women’s History Month
    Highlights the Library of Congress’ catalog holdings on women
    http://womenshistorymonth.gov/

  • GPO Access
    Includes links for searchable databases of the Congressional Record and House Journal (1994 to present) as well as information on how to find the nearest federal depository library.
    http://www.gpoaccess.gov/index.html

  • Center for American Women and Politics
    Provides facts and figures about current and historical women office holders at the state and national level.
    http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu

  • National Archives, Teaching With Documents: Woman Suffrage and the 19th Amendment
    Ratification of 19th Amendment by Tennessee—August 24, 1920
    http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/woman-suffrage/ratification-tn.html

  • National Archives, Martha Griffiths and the Equal Rights Amendment
    The Equal Rights Amendment languished in a House Committee for nearly 50 years before Representative Martha Griffiths forced action on it.
    http://www.archives.gov/legislative/features/griffiths/index.html