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 Edna Louisa Beard

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Edna Louisa Beard

Birth
Chenoa, McLean County, Illinois, USA
Death 18 Sep 1928 (aged 51)
Orange, Orange County, Vermont, USA
Burial Orange, Orange County, Vermont, USA
Memorial ID 14006373 View Source

Vermont's first woman legislator. Her family returned from Illinois to their Orange, Vermont home in 1888 and she attended local schools, graduating from Barre's Spaulding High School in 1896. She then became a teacher in the Orange schools and was elected superintendent of schools, serving from 1906 to 1910. From 1912 to 1928 Beard served as Orange's town treasurer. In 1920 she ran for the state legislature after the women's suffrage amendment to the US Constitution passed in August, enabling women to take part in state and national elections. She was defeated in the September Republican primary for Orange's seat in the Vermont House of Representatives by a male candidate who told her voters would never elect a woman, so she ran in the general election as the candidate of the Citizens Party. In late October 40 women in Orange became newly registered voters. All of them cast ballots in November, and Beard won the House seat by 38 votes, serving one term, 1921 to 1923. She became an active and respected legislator, especially on education issues and women's equality. In 1922 she was elected to Orange County's seat in the Vermont Senate, the first woman to serve in that body. She served one term, 1923 to 1925 and held a leadership role as Chairwoman of the Senate Library Committee. She was urged by supporters to enter the race for Lieutenant Governor in 1924, but chose to leave politics because of ill health. She remained active in Orange's Congregational church until her death from a stroke.


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