Margaret Chase Smith

Lived:December 14, 1897—May 25, 1995 (aged 97)
Career:U.S. Senate, 1949-1973
U.S. House of Representatives, 1940-1949

Margaret C. Smith served as a U.S. senator from Maine from 1949 to 1973. Smith was the first woman to serve in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and the first woman in Maine to serve in either position. Smith was also the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for president by a major party.

Smith was born in Skowhegan, Maine, on December 14, 1987. Prior to attending college, she taught in a one-room schoolhouse, worked as a telephone operator, managed circulation for the Skowhegan Independent Reporter and served as an office worker with a local textile mill. She also helped found the Skowhegan Business and Professional Women's Club. Smith attended Colby College.

In June 1940, Smith won the seat to the United States House of Representatives to fill the vacancy caused by the death of her husband. While serving as a representative, she served on the House Naval Affairs Committee during WWII. In 1948, she was elected as a United States senator. In 1964, Smith ran for president of the United States, receiving Republican primary votes in a number of states. She had 27 first ballot votes at the Republican National Convention, but removed herself from contention after the first ballot. From 1967 to 1972, Smith served as the first woman chair of the Senate Republican Conference.

In 1989, President George H. W. Bush awarded Smith with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Smith also received the U.S. Air Force's top award, the American Spirit Award, and Rutgers University awarded her an honorary a Doctor of Law.

Smith died on May 29, 1995.