Parents James E. Smith & Ella Morse or Moore
Miss Florence E.S. Knapp, only woman ever elected to statewide public office and former dean of women at Syracuse university, died at Marcy [State Hospital in Utica]
Born in 1875 in Syracuse, Mrs. Knapp taught school and later became principal of Fairmount School. She was district school superintendent, the only elective post then open to women in New York State. She was associate director of food conservation during World War I and later dean of the College of Home Economics at Syracuse University. At age 49 she was elected secretary of state in 1924. She won with a plurality of 133,000. Her main task was the decennial state census. The governor ordered an investigation and the testimony was that she arranged to have six close relatives on the payroll, and alleged she stole a census pay check drawn to the order of her stepdaughter. A second jury returned a verdict of guilty and in 1928 she was sentenced to serve 30 days in Albany County's jail. She went into seclusion and then was committed to Marcy, a mental institution. She died in 1949 at the age of 75. Following her tenure the office of Secretary of State became appointed, not elected and New York stopped the census on the 5's.
Information from the Syracuse Post Standard articles in 1949 and 1974.
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