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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 246; M-38

Papers of Jeannette Rankin, 1879-1976 (inclusive), 1916-1973 (bulk)

Correspondence, newsclippings, etc., of Jeannette Rankin, pacifist, feminist and first woman elected to Congress.

Dates

  • 1879-1976
  • 1916-1973

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Access. Originals are closed; use microfilm M-38.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Jeannette Rankin is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Extent

5.21 linear feet ((12+1/2 file boxes) plus 2 folio folders, 1 supersize folder, 5 reels phonotapes, 1 reel motion picture film)

This collection provides information for only some portions of Jeannette Rankin's life. The best-documented period is her second term in Congress: five boxes of correspondence about her World War II vote, one box of other Congressional correspondence, and one cubic foot of 3x5 cards (apparently a list of Rankin correspondence). There is approximately one box each about her first term in Congress and her activities in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Over half the entire collection is newsclippings; almost all are about Rankin, although nine are articles by her. The cards and newsclippings are available only on microfilm. Five tapes (mostly interviews of JR in the 1970's), one motion picture film of her (c. 1970) and several photographs of her (1902?-1973) are also included here.

Two boxes of family papers are mostly letter to Rankin, although three folders are letters by her to other family members. Most of the letters are from Rankin's sisters, Mary (Rankin) Bragg and Grace (Rankin) Kinney, with three folders from her sister, Edna (Rankin) McKinnon, the birth-control advocate. Family letters are arranged by author in Series I.

There is very little personal information about Rankin. Although there are some post-1945 diaries (folder 202), the entries are very brief. There are numerous personal letters to Rankin from friends; these are filed chronologically in Series II. Almost no copies of Rankin's personal letters are here.

There are no papers by or about Rankin before her first term in Congress, with the exception of one folder on her suffrage activities. (The nineteenth century items are her father's, and photographs). Although the focus of these papers is on her two terms in Congress and the late 1960's and early 1970's, not all of her Congressional papers are here. Since historians had, at one time, access to documentation about Rankin's early life and other aspects of her career not covered by these papers, such papers existed in the recent past. They are not part of this collection and have apparently been lost or are in private hands. (See Joan Hoff Wilson, "'Peace is a Woman's Job...' Jeannette Rankin's Foreign Policy," pages 1-3, paper in the Library (324.309 R21w) for a forthcoming publication). The list of Rankin's articles and speeches (pages 10-13) includes only those in this collection.

Series I: some family letters are not to Rankin but to other family members; letters are arranged by author. Letters from the families of Rankin's sisters are filed just after the letters from the sisters.

Series II: letters are arranged chronologically, except that Rankin replies are filed immediately after the incoming letter; the folder dates therefore refer to incoming letters. There are some Rankin replies to which there are no incoming letters.

Folders 66-71; about 6000 3x5 cards, are available on microfilm only, the originals have been discarded.

BIOGRAPHY

Jeannette Rankin, pacifist and feminist, was born near Missoula, Montana, on June 11, 1880, the daughter of John Rankin and Olive (Pickering) Rankin. She graduated from the University of Montana (1902) and attended the School of Philanthropy (now the Columbia University School of Social Work) in New York City (1908-1909). After working briefly as a social worker in Seattle, JR campaigned for women's suffrage in Washington, California, Montana and other states from 1910 to 1915.

The first woman elected to Congress (1916), she voted against United States entry into World War I and worked for women's rights as well as peace legislation. From 1919 to 1940 Rankin lobbied Congress and lectured for various peace and other humanitarian causes: in the 1920's she was employed by the National Consumers' League and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and founded the Georgia Peace Society; in the 1930's she worked mainly for the National Council for the Prevention of War.

Re-elected to Congress in 1940, she was the only legislator to vote against United States entry into World War II. From 1945 through the early 1970's JR traveled extensively, especially to India. In the late 1960's and early 1970's she was active in both peace and feminist causes, opposing the war in Vietnam and working for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. She also strongly supported the direct election of Presidents and multiple-member Congressional districts. She died in Carmel, California, on May 18, 1973.

ARRANGEMENT

The collection is arranged in four series:
  1. Series I: Rankin Family Correspondence
  2. Series II: General Correspondence and Papers
  3. Series III: Transcripts, Photographs, Phonotapes and Film
  4. Series IV: Newsclippings and Scrapbooks

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 75-79, 75-81, 75-338, 76-121, 77-M148, 79-M94

The papers of Jeannette Rankin were deposited with the Schlesinger Library in 1975 and 1977 by Dorothy McKinnon Brown, Rankin's niece.

MICROFILM OF THE COLLECTION

The papers of Jeannette Rankin have been microfilmed for preservation purposes. The originals are closed to researchers. A positive film copy of all of the eleven reels is available for researcher use.

For a description of the contents of the collection, see the Inventory (pages 1-9). The following list indicates the folder and volume numbers and the number of the reel on which they appear.

Please refer to this content and reel information as you use the Inventory.

WHEN REQUESTING MICROFILMED MATERIAL, PLEASE USE THE MICROFILM NUMBER: M-38 AND THE REEL NUMBER.
REEL GUIDE
  1. Folders 1-17: M-38, Reel 1
  2. Folders 18-31: M-38, Reel 2
  3. Folders 32-65: M-38, Reel 3
  4. Folders 66-71; about 6000 3x5 cards*: M-38, Reel 4
  5. Folders 72-93: M-38, Reel 5
  6. Folders 94-114: M-38, Reel 6
  7. Folders 115-152: M-38, Reel 7
  8. Folders 153-170: M-38, Reel 8
  9. Folders 171-184: M-38, Reel 9
  10. Folders 185-202: M-38, Reel 10
  11. Folders 203-205; items from oversize folders, newsclippings and scrapbooks: M-38, Reel 11
* Available on microfilm ONLY, originals have been discarded.

Related Material:

Three other small collections in the Schlesinger Library are papers by or about Jeannette Rankin: the Hannah Josephson Papers (A/J83), the Flora Belle Surles Papers (MC 268) and the Harriet Yarrow Papers (A/Y29). The best source for Rankin in another library, at this time, is the National Council for the Prevention of War papers in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.
PRINTED MATERIAL ABOUT JEANNETTE RANKIN IN THE SCHLESINGER LIBRARY Board, John C. "The Lady From Montana: Jeannette Rankin." M.A. Thesis, University of Wyoming, 1964.

Brown, Mackey. "Montana's First Woman Politician--A Recollection of Jeannette Rankin Campaigning." Montana Business Quarterly, IX, Number 4 (Autumn 1971), pages 23-26.

Harris, Ted Carlton. "Jeannette Rankin: Suffragist, First Woman Elected to Congress, and Pacifist." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Georgia, 1972.

Josephson, Hannah. Jeannette Rankin, First Lady in Congress: A Biography. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1974.

Schaffer, Ronald. "Jeannette Rankin, Progressive-Isolationist." Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton University, 1959.

Suffragists Oral History Project. "Jeannette Rankin: Activist for World Peace, Women's Rights, and Democratic Government." Bancroft Library, Regional Oral History Office, 1974.

Winestine, Belle Fligelman. "Mother Was Shocked." Montana: the Magazine of Western History, XXIV, Number 3 (1974), pages 70-79.

Wilson, Joan Hoff. "'Peace is a Woman's Job....' Jeannette Rankin's Foreign Policy." For a forthcoming publication.

ARTICLES BY JEANNETTE RANKIN

Available only on microfilm, Reel 11
  1. "Children or Hogs," Biennial Report of the Wyoming Humane Society, 1916, page 62.
  2. "Miss Rankin Tells of Amendment. Congresswoman from Montana Traces Congressional Action on Suffrage Since 1878, and Predicts Favorable Sentiment on Federal Amendment Soon," Woman's Journal, January 6, 1917.
  3. "Registration of Births Urged," Woman's Journal, March 3, 1917.
  4. "Eight-Hour Day Proves Its Worth in Industry; Helps Both Employers and Workers, Declares First Congresswoman," Chicago Sunday Herald, March 25, 1917.
  5. "Stop Children Working in Our Streets," Chicago Sunday Herald, April 1, 1917.
  6. "Congresswoman Urges Ending of Boy Bootblack Padrone System Evil," Chicago Sunday Herald, April 8, 1917
  7. "Demands Night Messengers Be 21 Years," Chicago Sunday Herald, April 15, 1917.
  8. "Stop Children Working in Streets, Urges Congresswoman Rankin," Chicago Sunday Herald, April 22, 1917.
  9. "Federation of Labor Aids Them," Spokesman Review (Spokane, Washington) July 3, 1917.
  10. "Congresswoman Rankin Offers Solution of the Wage Problem for Her Sex in the War," Seattle Times, July 8, 1917.
  11. "100,000 Americans Fighting With Allies Intend to Repatriate," Atlanta, GA (title of newspaper unknown), July 12, 1917. This same article also appears in the Boston Globe, July 8, 1917, with no byline (latter article not filmed).
  12. "Don't Forget Schools in War, Is Plea," Shreveport Times (Louisiana), July 15, 1917.
  13. "Schoolhouses as Democracy Centers for American Men and Women," Chicago Sunday Herald, July 29, 1917.
  14. "Genuine Recognition of Woman's Worth in Our National Crisis," Atlanta Constitution Magazine Section, July 29, 1917.
  15. "U.S. Aid for Families of Soldiers," Chicago Sunday Herald, August 5, 1917.
  16. "What Labor is Entitled To in the War," Chicago Sunday Herald, August 12, 1917.
  17. "Prohibition and Freight Congestion Are Linked, Says Congresswoman," Commercial Tribune (Cincinnati, Ohio), August 19, 1917.
  18. "Community Market Used by Europeans Has Economy Value," Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minnesota), August 26, 1917.
  19. "Labor Distribution Big Home Problem During War," Commercial Tribune (Cincinnati, Ohio), August 26, 1917.
  20. "Community Kitchens to Lift Burdens of Housewives," Chicago Sunday Herald, September 2, 1917.
  21. "Nation Must Keep the Camps Clean for the Lads in Khaki Says Congresswoman," Chicago Sunday Herald, September 9, 1917.
  22. "Nation Weakened in War by Miners-Employers Row, Declares Congressman," Chicago Sunday Herald, September 23, 1917.
  23. "Honorable Jeannette Rankin, Congresswoman from Montana, Addresses [Woman's Christian Temperance Union] Convention," Union Signal, December 20, 1917.
  24. "Congresswoman, in Letter to Society Editor of Dispatch, Makes Suggestions For People's Paper in the True Sense," Kokomo Daily Dispatch (Indiana). December 23, 1917.
  25. "Congresswoman-Elect Takes Indian Mother as Model," The Woman's Journal, 1917.
  26. "Newly Born Babies Quoted at 90 Cents: Dr. L.E. Howe Makes Statement at Suffrage Hearing--Blames Women for Infant Death Rate," New York American, January 5, 1918.
  27. "'Woman's Hour Now' Declares Miss Rankin Seeing Sure Victory," New York American, January 10, 1918.
  28. "Wants Tractors, Women Run Them," Cleveland, Ohio (newspaper unknown), ca. 1918. Contains full text of letter from Jeannette Rankin to editor of Washington Times, June 21, 1918.
  29. "Peace Is To Be Secured Thro' Political Action," Montana Woman, May 1925.
  30. "There Is Continuous Want While the Governments of the World Are Spending Billions for Armaments," International Disarmament Notes, January 18, 1932.
  31. "I Would Vote 'No!' Again," Christian Science Monitor, April 1, 1936.
  32. "Benson Lauded For His Stand Toward Peace," Fergus Falls Minnesota Tribune, October 1, 1936. Contains full text of letter from Jeannette Rankin to Senator Elmer A. Benson, May 18, 1936.
  33. "Wherein Lies America's Duty to Safeguard World's Peace?" United States News, September 12, 1938.
  34. "Beware of 'Holy Wars'!" World Outlook, November 1938.
  35. "Internation Situation Looks Very Ominous," Montana Labor News, April 10, 1941.
  36. "Jeannette Rankin Condemns Profiteers," Montana Labor News, April 10, 1941. (Jeannette Rankin author?)
  37. "Two Votes Against War: 1917, 1941," Liberation, III, Number 1 (March 1958)
  38. "Preferential Vote Needed," Missoulian, September 16, 1969.
SPEECHES BY JEANNETTE RANKIN
  1. Speech?, no title, re suffrage, 1917?, Folder 36
  2. "Tariff Talk," 1916, Folder 37
  3. No title, re support of military dependents (H.R. 5370), July 10, 1917, Folder 39
  4. "Government Control of Metalliferous Mines," August 17, 1917, Folder 39
  5. Statement re pay of postal employees, December 17, 1917, Folder 39
  6. Speech?, no title, re democracy in government? 1917?, Folder 39
  7. Speech?, no title, re college women and peace? 1917?, Folder 39
  8. "Federal Farm Loans," January 4, 1918, Folder 39
  9. Joint Resolution (H. J. Res. 204) re Irish independence, January 4, 1918, Folder 39
  10. "Woman Suffrage," January 10, 1918, Folder 39
  11. "Sale of Seed Grain to Farmers," March 27, 1918, Folder 39
  12. Statement re hygiene of maternity and infancy, January 15, 1919, Folder 39
  13. No title, re Permanent Court of International Justice, 1922?, Folder 54
  14. "Peace and the Disarmament Conference," n.d. (1920's?), Folder 54
  15. No title, re military expenditures, 1933?, Folder 55
  16. Statement re Navy Department Appropriation Bill 1936 (H.R. 7672), 1935, Folder 56
  17. Quotations from "Is Peace Possible or Can We Remain Neutral," 1935, Folder 56
  18. Radio talk, no title, re neutrality, November 11, 1936, Folder 56
  19. Radio talk, no title, re 20th anniversary of WWI vote, 1937, Folder 57
  20. "Prepare to the Limit for Defense--Keep Our Men Out of Europe," August 7, 1940, Folder 66
  21. "Some Questions About Pearl Harbor," December 8, 1942, Folder 165
  22. "Why I Am Going to India," 1949, Folder 173
  23. Speech? re ERA? 1967?, Folder 195
  24. Speech? re Turkey? n.d., Folder 195
  25. No title, re women and peace, n.d., Folder 195
  26. No title, re Mary Darrow Weible, n.d. (1965), Folder 195
SPEECHES BY JEANNETTE RANKIN Speeches available only on tape:
SPEECHES BY JEANNETTE RANKIN
  1. No title, given to Montana Constitutional Convention March, 1972, T-30, Reel 1
  2. No title, given to Lion's Club, August 10, 1971, T-30, Reel 2
  3. No title, given to WILPF, November 8, 1970, T-30, Reel 3
INDEX OF SELECTED CORRESPONDENTS This index lists selected writers and recipients of letters. Information about these individuals is not indexed; nor are subjects. The numbers are folder numbers.
INDEX OF SELECTED CORRESPONDENTS
  1. Abourezk, James 185, 187
  2. Acher, Arthur P. 199-201
  3. Addams, Jane 55
  4. Anthony, Katharine S. 53, 70, 165-167, 173, 174, 176
  5. Balch, Amy M. 161
  6. Baldwin, Roger 50, 53, 161, 173, 180
  7. Bastide, Genevieve 161, 166-168, 171, 172
  8. Bayh, Birch 180, 182
  9. Billings, Gretchen 179, 181, 191, 192
  10. Binford, Jessie F. 65, 176
  11. Blake, Katherine Devereux 55, 163, 168
  12. Bolton, Frances P. 182
  13. Bond, Julian 185, 186
  14. Borah, William E. 25
  15. Bragg, Mary (Rankin) 5, 9, 14, 16-21, 27, 29-30, 32
  16. Brinkley, David 178, 182
  17. Brown, Dorothy (McKinnon) 7, 15, 18, 20, 26, 27, 32, 33, 201, 204
  18. Brown, Paul 166, 174
  19. Burnet, Duncan 162-163, 168, 176, 183, 191
  20. Cantrell, Robert 183-184, 186, 191-192
  21. Capper, Arthur 61
  22. Chamberlin, Hope 32-33, 192
  23. Cranston, Alan 31, 182
  24. Detzer, Dorothy 50-52
  25. Dewey, Thomas E. 61, 63, 65
  26. Dirksen, Everett M. 62
  27. Drinan, Robert F. 185
  28. Earhart, Amelia 62
  29. Elge, Frances C. 69-70, 163-165
  30. Evans, Ernestine 165-166, 168
  31. Gardner, John W. 185-186
  32. Goodell, Charles E. 31
  33. Gravel, Mike 188
  34. Heckler, Margaret M. 182
  35. Hill, Joyce 61, 64-65, 161, 164, 166, 167, 178
  36. Hochstein, Irma 165
  37. Hoover, J. Edgar 70
  38. Hughes, Betty 187
  39. Hull, Cordell 70, 165
  40. Jones, Rosalie 163, 168
  41. Josephson, Hannah 182-185, 187-192
  42. Kennedy, John F. 174
  43. King, Coretta Scott 182, 187
  44. Kinney, Grace (Rankin) 7-9, 16-17, 21-25, 28-29
  45. Kirkley, John 31, 187, 191, 192
  46. Knowles, Gladys E. Heinrich 64, 161, 162, 164, 175
  47. Koelz, Louise (Mrs. Herman) 165, 168, 170, 175, 184, 186, 190
  48. Laidlaw, Harriet 168
  49. Libby, Frederick J. 55, 161, 166-168, 172, 176, 179
  50. Lewis, John L. 164, 173
  51. LaFollette, Belle Case 53
  52. LaGuardia, Fiorello 61, 66, 165
  53. MacDonald, Agnes 165, 191-192
  54. McGregor, Harriet (Rankin) Sedman 9-10, 12, 19
  55. McKinnon, Edna (Rankin) 8-10, 15-24, 26, 28-31, 32
  56. Mansfield, Mike 179-180, 182, 186, 192
  57. Maverick, Maury 62
  58. Mead, Lucia Ames 56
  59. Milton, Abby Crawford 163, 165, 168, 170
  60. Moss, John E. 188-189
  61. Nixon, Richard Milhous 188
  62. Nye, Gerald P. 168
  63. O'Neill, Mary E. 36, 64, 70, 164-166, 168
  64. Peterson, Victor L. 31
  65. Pucek, Jeannette Rankin 179-180, 185, 188, 190-193
  66. Rankin, Olive (Pickering) 5-8, 12-13, 16-17, 22-23, 28-29
  67. Rankin, Wellington D. 7-8, 13, 17-18, 180
  68. Rivers, Reita 31, 33, 180, 182-183, 185-186, 188-190, 193
  69. Rogers, Edith Nourse 61
  70. Roosevelt, Eleanor 55-56
  71. Sale, Marie 182
  72. Scannell, Sigrid 31, 69, 163, 165, 180, 184, 189
  73. Scudder, Ida S. 174
  74. Smith, Margaret Chase 184
  75. Spriggs, Rosa Nell 31, 166-168, 175, 184, 187-188, 192
  76. Stellway, Helena 25, 66, 170, 171, 174-175
  77. Sterling, Bess 6, 25
  78. Stewart, Mary 36, 63, 165
  79. Sullivan, Leonor K. 182
  80. Surles, Flora Belle 50-51, 168, 171-172, 174, 176, 178, 180-181, 183
  81. Talmadge, Eugene 67
  82. Thomas, Elmer 55
  83. Vidal, Gore 178, 182
  84. Villard, Oswald Garrison 64, 163, 169
  85. Weible, Mary Darrow 51, 166, 170, 182
  86. Williams, Hosea 178
  87. Willkie, Wendell Lewis 63
  88. Winestine, Belle Fligelman 55, 182, 192
  89. Winsor, Mary 67
  90. Yarrow, Harriet 164-165, 168, 171, 173-174, 176, 178, 183, 186, 194
  91. Yarrow, Millicent 63, 161, 166-169

Processing Information

Processed: September 1977

By: Linda J. Henry
Link to catalog
Title
Rankin, Jeannette, 1880-1973. Papers of Jeannette Rankin, 1879-1976 (inclusive), 1916-1973 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Author
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women
Sponsor
These papers were processed under National Endowment for the Humanities Grant Number RC 24669-76-987.
EAD ID
sch00071

Repository Details

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