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 Chase Smith served as a U.S. representative from Maine from 1940-1949 and a U.S. senator from 1949-1973. Smith was the first woman to serve in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the first woman in Maine to serve in Congress. 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. After graduating from high school, she worked as a teacher, telephone operator, office manager for a woolen mill, and for a newspaper. She also helped found the Skowhegan chapter of the Business and Professional Women's Club. In 1930, she married local politician Clyde Smith. After Clyde Smith was elected to the House of Representatives in 1936, Margaret Chase Smith managed his Washington office.

In June 1940, Smith won the her husband's seat in the House of Representatives in a special election after his death, then won the general election that fall. In 1948, she was elected as a United States senator. On June 1, 1950, Smith was the first member of the Senate to denounce the tactics used by Joseph McCarthy in his anti-communist crusade. In 1964, Smith ran for president of the United States, receiving Republican primary votes in a number of states. At the Republican National Convention, Smith came in second to Senator Barry Goldwater.

Smith has received many honors and awards, including the National Association of Secretaries of State Margaret Chase Smith American Democracy Award (1992), League of Women Voters Carrie Chapman Catt Award (1992, Hobart and William Smith Colleges Elizabeth Blackwell Award (1991), Presidential Medal of Freedom (1989), U.S. Jaycee Women "Outstanding Women in Government" (1984), Women of the Republican Party Pathfinders Award (1984), United States Senate "Senate Service Award'' (1973), United Press International One of the Ten Most Influential Women in the World (1967), Reserve Officers Association ''Minuteman Award" (1964), National Federation of Business and Professional Women "Distinguished Service Award" (1955), Veterans of Foreign Wars Medal for Americanism (1954), American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow (1952), and Associated Press "Woman of the Year in Politics"
(1948-1950, 1957).

Margaret Chase Smith died on May 29, 1995.


Margaret Chase Smith Library (n.d.). Biography. Retrieved on Feb. 18, 2020, from

United State House of Representatives. Smith, Margaret Chase. Retrieved on Feb. 18, 2020, from