Rebecca L Felton

Lived:June 10, 1835—January 24, 1930 (aged 94)
Career:U.S. Senator, Nov. 22, 1922
State:GA
Party:Democratic
Education:Methodist Female College
Website:http://history.house.gov/People/Listing/F/FELTON,-Rebecca-Latimer-(F000069)/

Rebecca Latimer Felton, a prominent suffragist and temperance advocate but also a white supremacist and an advocate of segregation and lynching, was the first woman to serve in the United States Senate, as a senator for Georgia.

Felton was born on June 10, 1835. She graduated at the top of her class from Madison Female College in 1852. In 1953, she married William H. Felton, a state legislator, physician, Methodist minister and planter. She began her political career as his campaign manager, congressional secretary and aide. After her husband's death in 1909, Felton remained active in Georgia and national politics, and was a writer and lecturer.

Felton was appointed to the Senate while Congress was in recess by Governor Thomas Hardwick to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Senator Thomas E. Watson until a special election could be held. Gov. Hardwick, who had opposed passage of the 19th Amendment, was a candidate in the special election. He choose Felton because she would not be an opponent in the election and to appease new women voters. However, Hardwick lost the election to Walter F. George, who was persuaded by Felton to delay presenting his credentials to the Senate when Congress re-convened. Felton was sworn in November 21, 1922, and served just 24 hours. She is the only woman to have served as a senator from Georgia.

Felton died on January 24, 1930, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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