Ella T. Grasso

Lived:May 10, 1919—February 5, 1981 (aged 61)
Career:Governor of Connecticut, 1975-1980
U.S. House of Representatives, 1971-1975
Secretary of State for Connecticut, 1959-1971
Connecticut House of Representatives, 1953-1957
Education:B.A. and M.A., Mount Holyoke College

Ella T. Grasso served as governor of Connecticut from 1975 to 1980. She was the first woman governor of Connecticut and the first woman to be elected governor of a U.S. state without having been the spouse or widow of a former governor.

Grasso was born on May 10, 1919, in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. She earned a bachelor's degree in economics and sociology in 1940 and master's degree in 1942, both from Mount Holyoke College. During World War II, she served as assistant director of research for the War Manpower Commission of Connecticut.

Grasso served in the Connecticut General Assembly from 1953-1957, and was the first women to be elected floor leader of that body in 1955. In 1958, she was elected Connecticut's secretary of state and served in that office until 1971. She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for Connecticut's 6th District in 1970 and served until her election as governor in 1975.

In 1980, Grasso was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and resigned from office. She died on February 5, 1981.

For more information on Grasso's policy subject areas, committee appointments and sponsored/co-sponsored legislation during her time in the U.S. House of Representatives, please visit her profile on https://www.congress.gov.


Biographical Directory of the United States Congress (n.d.). Grasso, Ella Tambussi (1919-1981). Retrieved on June 1, 2020, from https://bioguideretro.congress.gov/Home/MemberDetails?memIndex=G000387.

National Governors Association. (n.d.). Gov. Ella T. Grasso. Retrieved on June 1, 2020, from https://www.nga.org/governor/ella-t-grasso.