An historical reenactment of the life of the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress will kick off Women’s History Month in Athens on Wednesday, March 1 at the University of Georgia’s Special Collections Libraries building. Scholar and historic interpreter Mary Jane Bradbury will explore the life of Jeannette Rankin around 1920, when Rankin was finishing her inaugural term in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Jeannette Rankin Legacy Lecture is sponsored by the Jeannette Rankin Foundation, Athens Chautauqua Society and the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at UGA.
Rankin (1880-1973) was born in Montana and later became a long-time resident of Georgia. She was the first woman elected to any federal office and brought forward legislation that ultimately became the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. A bequest from Rankin founded the Jeannette Rankin Foundation in 1976, which awards Scholar Grants to women students 35 and older across the country (and 25 and older in Georgia and Montana) who are pursuing their first associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
“The Athens Chautauqua Society is committed to elevating stories of history’s most famous characters,” said Madeline Van Dyck, a board member of the Athens Chautauqua Society. “We are proud to partner with the Jeannette Rankin Foundation and the Russell Library to bring Mary Jane Bradbury all the way from Montana for this year’s Legacy Lecture to share the fascinating life of Jeannette Rankin, whose efforts were instrumental in giving women across our country the right to vote.”
Bradbury draws on over 25 years as an educator, actor and author to bring history to life. She is a Chautauqua speaker for Humanities Montana as well as the Colorado Humanities and has been an artist in residence for the Montana Historical Society and the Charles M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Mont.
“Jeannette Rankin is one of the most consequential figures in American history,” said Sheryl Vogt, director of the Russell Library. “We are thrilled to kick off Women’s History Month in celebration of Rankin and give the public the opportunity to learn and be inspired by her life and legacy.”
The Jeannette Rankin Legacy Lecture will be held Wednesday, March 1 from 4 – 5:15 p.m. in Room 271 at the Richard B. Russell Special Collections Libraries building, University of Georgia 300 South Hull Street, Athens, Ga. A reception will follow from 5:15 – 6:30 p.m. in Room 285. Tickets are free but registration is requested at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/jeannette-rankin-legacy-lecture-tickets-520670468387. Parking is free for off-campus visitors as well. Guests should bring their license plate number to the front desk staff at the library’s main entrance to validate parking.
About the Jeannette Rankin Foundation
The Jeannette Rankin Foundation provides unrestricted Scholar Grants to students who identify as women or nonbinary, are 35 and older (25 and older in Georgia and Montana) and demonstrate financial need. Inspired by its namesake, the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress, the Jeannette Rankin Foundation transforms futures through education. rankinfoundation.org
About the Athens Chautauqua Society
The Athens Chautauqua Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Our mission is to bring the education and entertainment of historical storytelling to Athens, Georgia. Our organization is committed to elevating the stories of some of history’s most famous characters. Yet, we believe that some of the most impactful lessons come from world-changers you may not have heard of before. athenschq.org
About the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
The Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies was established in 1974 by the Richard B. Russell Foundation, Inc., Georgia General Assembly, and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. The library’s original mission was to collect and preserve materials documenting the life and career of Richard B. Russell, Jr., United States Senator from Georgia from 1933 to 1971. The Library's holdings have since expanded to include approximately 500 manuscript collections and more than 1,000 oral history interviews documenting modern (1900-present) politics and public policy in Georgia and an array of issues related to the American political system. The Russell Library enjoys a national reputation as one of the largest and foremost repositories for modern congressional papers. In 2014, the Russell Library received a Governor's Award for the Arts and Humanities. l https://www.libs.uga.edu/russell-library