“Jeanette Rankin: (1880-1973) U.S. reformer, first woman member of the U.S. Congress (1917-1919, 1941-1943). Born in Missoula, Montana, she was social worker from 1909 and became active in women’s suffrage work. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916, she introduced the first bill to give women the vote. A pacifist, she voted against declaring war on Germany (1917). She lost her bid for a U.S. Senate seat (1918) and returned to social work. In 1940 she won reelection to the House, where she became the only legislator to vote against declaration of war on Japan. Declining to seek reelection, she continued to lecture on social reform. In 1968, at 87, she led 5,000 women, the “Jeanette Rankin Brigade,” to protest the Vietnam War.”
Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.