NATIONAL WOMEN'S HISTORY MUSEUM; Congressional Record Vol. 160, No. 42
(House of Representatives - March 13, 2014)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Pages H2421-H2424]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. LaMalfa). Under the Speaker's announced 
policy of January 3, 2013, the Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from 
New York (Mrs. Carolyn B. Maloney) for 30 minutes.
  Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. Mr. Speaker, I thank all of you 
for joining us this evening. I am delighted to be here to speak about 
the importance of the National Women's History Museum. I am so pleased 
to be joined by some of my colleagues who will speak about outstanding 
women from their States and in the history of our country, women who 
deserve to be recognized in this museum.
  First, I would like to thank my colleague in this effort to create a 
national museum for women on or near The Mall. She is Marsha Blackburn, 
from the great State of Tennessee, whose passion and unyielding 
commitment to making the National Women's History Museum a reality is 
unrivaled. She is a godsend, an inspiration, and a great friend to 
women, and I thank her so much for her extraordinary leadership and for 
the announcement I hope she will make tonight about March 25--moving 
our legislation forward.
  Women stand on historical quicksand. With each step we take forward, 
the steps behind us disappear. Women have to re-create the wheel with 
every generation.
  Think about what is taught in our American history classes. It is 
mostly written by men and focuses on their experiences. As my daughter 
said: It is usually about a bunch of wars between men. Where are the 
stories about the women?
  In large part, women are invisible. History is empowering. It shapes 
who we are and provides role models to guide us.
  We need a museum for half the generation, half the population--women. 
There are women's museums that focus on aspects of women First Ladies, 
of women artists, but not one in the United States or around the world, 
which I am aware of, that focuses on the sole accomplishments and 
contributions of half our population--women.
  I now yield to my colleague, Marsha Blackburn.
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. I thank the gentlelady for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I am so pleased to stand on the floor of the House and 
join my female colleagues from both sides of the aisle as we work 
together to make the dream a reality, which is the dream of a women's 
history museum, to celebrate the cause of wonderful women who have 
participated in the push and preservation of freedom here in the United 
States. It will, indeed, be a wonderful day when we see this as a 
  As Mrs. Maloney mentioned, we are moving forward legislation that 
would allow for the establishment of a commission to study where to 
place a museum. By the way, I think everyone will find it so 
interesting, which is that the women of this great Nation have said 
that we don't want any Federal money at all involved in this project. 
We are going to privately raise every single penny that is necessary 
for the location, for the physical facilities, for the exhibits, for 
the maintenance and upkeep and endowment. This is a project by the 
women of this Nation for the women of future generations to celebrate 
the accomplishments that women have made to the Nation.
  Indeed, let's think about what has transpired in each and every 
State, and I hope, over the next few weeks, we have the option, as we 
celebrate Women's History Month, to talk about what women have 
accomplished in our country and what our States have contributed.
  In Tennessee, we talk a good bit about what transpired when women got 
the right to vote. We had had all of the process through the fight with 
suffrage, and it came down to the point of ratification of the 
amendment to give women the right to vote and to make certain that we 
had the 36 States to ratify the 19th Amendment. It had been through 35 
States, and on August 18 of 1920, it went to the Tennessee Legislature.
  Guess what?
  It was voted to a tie. There was a State rep, Harry Burn, and he was 
the one who broke the tie. As we often hear, the hand that rocks the 
cradle rules the world. Indeed, this is a story that is a great example 
of that because Harry Burn changed his vote and gave women the right to 
vote. Harry Burn did it because Harry got a letter from his mother. 
Here is the letter:

       Dear Son, hurrah and vote for suffrage. Don't keep them in 
     doubt. I noticed some of the speeches against. They were 
     bitter. I have been watching to see how you stood, but have 
     not noticed anything yet. Don't forget to be a good boy, and 
     help Mrs. Catt put the ``rat'' in ratification.
       Sincerely, your mother.

  Harry Burn changed his vote, and Tennessee became the ``perfect 
36''--the State that gave women the right to vote.
  So, because of that, we are able to stand today in Women's History 
Month and push for a museum to celebrate the accomplishments of people 
like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the suffragettes 
and so many other women whom we will have the opportunity to learn 
about and talk about.
  Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. My colleague pointed out the 
historic importance of Tennessee in its giving women the right to vote.
  It is interesting that both of our States played such a crucial 
effort in the women's leadership in achieving this right--Tennessee, 
the final vote, giving women the right to vote, and, New York, the 
birthplace of the women's movement and of the first resolutions and 
efforts to gain that right to vote--in Seneca Falls, New York, with 
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony. 
Incidentally, they were all Republicans, and yet they gave their lives 
so that we could have the right to vote.
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. I think it is so significant that, again, those two 
States joined in pushing forward H.R. 863.
  I want to commend Chairman Candice Miller and the Admin Committee for 
the hearing they have already held on the legislation and to

[[Page H2422]]

take the opportunity to announce that Chairman Hastings and the Natural 
Resources Committee will hold their hearing on March 25. So it is 
another step as our States and women from our States move forward on 
moving this to becoming a reality--something women have wanted in this 
country since they got the right to vote.
  Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. The gentlelady is so correct. We 
are making history tonight, and we are making history with these 
  It was noteworthy of Candice Miller, from the great State of 
Michigan, that the day she held the hearing was the day that Mary Barra 
came up the ranks from an intern to the head and CEO of one of 
America's greatest companies, General Motors.
  So I look forward to hearing from my colleagues here. In order of 
appearance, Marcy Kaptur, from the great State of Ohio, is a great 
leader for women and, really, all people, thank you for joining me. You 
are making history, too, with all of your hard work.
  Ms. KAPTUR. Thank you. It is just great to be here this evening and 
to have so many women gathered on the floor--women Members. That in 
itself is historic.
  As an Ohio Representative, I want to voice my support of your bill, 
H.R. 863, the National Women's History Commission Act, to study the 
potential creation of a National Women's History Museum in Washington, 
D.C., on our mall of democracy, our Nation's Mall.
  I can't thank Carolyn Maloney of New York and Marsha Blackburn of 
Tennessee more on behalf of the people whom I represent. The part of 
Ohio that I come from has really been the leading region of our State 
to elevate women to public life. I will enter some of that in the 
Record this evening, but in a personal way, let me say that, when I 
first got here in the 1980s, there were 24 women who were serving in 
the House.

                              {time}  2000

  A dear, dear Member from Louisiana, Congresswoman Lindy Boggs, took 
me and shepherded me through those rather unusual days. I can remember 
finally being elected to the Appropriations Committee. When I walked 
in, there were only the two of us. Virginia Smith from Nebraska was 
there. Virginia was a Republican. That was it. And me. It was just a 
different experience. It was like you ended up in heaven and you just 
saw who was there for the first time.
  Over the years, I befriended many people. In 1995, I wrote a book 
about the women of Congress. I thought it would be easy. But what I 
found so difficult was, where were the primary materials? I ended up 
spending more time doing research on women who had served up to that 
point. I thought, Wow, this is really a huge vacuum.
  I drove up to Maine to interview then retired-Senator Margaret Chase 
Smith. I recorded her. She had created next to her home a tiny little 
museum where she had some of her papers, and I thought, Oh, my gosh, 
there really isn't any place for this nationally, and yet this is such 
a significant person--the first woman to have served both in the House 
and the Senate.
  So as I got into that book, I realized how these materials were all 
over the country and not really well gathered at all. Then, one of the 
women from our State, Mary Regula, who was married to former 
Congressman Ralph Regula of Ohio, worked for years to build the 
National First Ladies Museum in Canton, Ohio. I went there for the 
dedication. I am on the board. I saw how Mary and Ralph fought for that 
for years. It should have been so easy, but it was so hard.
  As you go through that particular museum and you start reading the 
lives of the First Ladies, you are actually shocked to read what really 
happened and the materials that have been brought together. It was 
proof to me that the history of women really is yet to be recorded.
  So I came down here tonight to compliment you on your efforts and to 
say that in the region that I come from, we have now seen women rise to 
positions of heading universities and major corporations. Obviously, 
women are the anchors for their families and communities in so many 
ways. They are physicians, engineers, attorneys, judges, athletes, 
Justices of our Supreme Court. Janet Yellen is now the first woman to 
head the Federal Reserve of our country. Finally, maybe she will 
straighten things out.
  They are military personnel and legislators. They are career paths 
that had once been blocked or not even considered for women.
  I wanted to come down here this evening and say I stand with you.
  I am dedicating my remarks tonight in honor of a constituent of my 
own district, Mrs. Mattie McAlister, who has just celebrated her 90th 
birthday. Even as she begins her tenth decade of life, she maintains a 
full schedule. She is a grandma to all. She teaches children--and she 
has for years--full time at the Grace Community Center in the heart of 
our community of Toledo.
  The lessons she has learned in her own life are passed on to new 
generations as the children learn through example. Mrs. McAlister 
maintains an active social life as well and is involved civic and 
church life. Throughout her life she has never hesitated to be involved 
serving her family, church, and community with dignity and grace.
  She deserves to be honored in this Women's History Month because she 
is, fundamentally, a teacher. No child that walks by her doesn't learn. 
All these years that she has technically been retired, she still 
teaches in a community that is most in need of her shepherding ways and 
her incredible gifts as a teacher.
  So I want to compliment both of you for allowing the American people 
to record the history of over half of our citizenry in a way that 
brings them into full view.
  I can guarantee you that you have begun a project that is going to 
take the rest of your lives to complete. It is a mammoth undertaking, 
and one that certainly deserves our attention here in the Congress. How 
great to be living in this great moment in history where we can 
actually make it a reality.
  Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. Thank you so much for your 
inspiring comments.
  I would just to briefly note that one needs to go no further than 
today's history textbooks to see why our museum is so important.
  Approximately 10 percent of historic references in U.S. history 
textbooks refer to women. Less than 8 percent of the statues in 
National Parks are of women leaders. Our U.S. Capitol building, which 
hosts millions of tourists each year, displays only 15 statues of women 
out of the more than 200 currently on exhibit.
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. We are so delighted that Mrs. Lummis is here to join 
with us. I have to tell you she was quite a trailblazer in her State 
before coming to Congress, as she served as her State's treasurer.
  Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. At this time I yield to the 
gentlelady from Wyoming (Mrs. Lummis).
  Mrs. LUMMIS. I thank the gentlelady from New York and the gentlelady 
from Tennessee. Along with the gentlelady from Ohio, and someone we 
will hear from shortly, the gentlelady from Florida, it is an honor to 
be with you tonight.
  I represent the State that is officially known as the ``Equality 
State,'' and that is for this reason: Wyoming is the first government 
in the world to continuously and fully grant women the right to vote.
  Most people think that had to have been some State associated with 
the Eastern intelligentsia, but here is the real story.
  In the Wyoming Territory, the legislature passed into law on December 
10, 1869, a measure stating:

       That every woman at the age of 21 years, residing in this 
     territory, may, at every election, to be holden under the 
     laws thereof, cast her vote.

  This Suffrage Act granted women in the Wyoming Territory the right to 
vote with full civil and judicial equality with men.
  The first woman to cast her ballot pursuant to those rights was 
Louisa Swain. She voted in Laramie on September 6, 1870, becoming the 
Nation's first woman voter under laws guaranteeing absolute political 
equality with men.
  Now think about that. That is 1870. That is 50 years before the 19th 
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. She was a 70-year-old woman.
  Here is the account of her vote in the Laramie Daily Sentinel:

       It is comforting to note that our first woman voter was 
     really a lady . . . of the

[[Page H2423]]

     highest social standing in the community, universally beloved 
     and respected. The scene was in the highest degree 
     interesting and impressive. There was just too much good 
     sense in our community for any jeers or neers to be seen on 
     such an occasion.

  And so it was. Wyoming became the inspiration for the rest of the 
  Wyoming didn't become a State until 1890, and that brought upon the 
codification of this suffrage right through the ratification of the new 
Wyoming State constitution.
  The Congress of the United States--the very Congress in which we 
stand--threatened to withhold statehood from Wyoming because we had 
granted women the right to vote. The Territory's legislators replied 
with a telegram stating that Wyoming would remain out of the union a 
hundred years rather than join without women's suffrage.

  So President Benjamin Harrison, deferring to the wiser Wyoming 
territorial legislature, on July 10, 1890, signed into law a bill 
admitting Wyoming into the union and recognizing it as the Nation's 
Equality State.
  Once again, events of the first woman voter happened in Wyoming 50 
years before every woman in this country received the same rights. 
Consequently, Wyoming has an exemplary early history.
  We have the first woman elected to statewide office in the Nation in 
1804. She was Wyoming's superintendent of public instruction, Estelle 
  Why does that matter? Because she died and her estate and her 
belongings are currently in a little tiny, neglected museum in a town 
in the district belonging to the chairman of the House Natural 
Resources Committee, Doc Hastings, giving our chairman, who is going to 
hold a hearing later in this Congress, pride and reason to help us 
support obtaining Estelle Reel's property for this museum.
  In 1870, Esther Hobart Morris from South Pass, Wyoming, was the first 
woman to hold judicial office in the world.
  The first women delegates to both the national Democratic and the 
national Republican convention came from Wyoming.
  We had the first woman elected Governor in the United States in 1925. 
She became the first woman director of the U.S. Mint.
  By the way, Estelle Reel later became the first woman national 
superintendent of Indian schools.
  The list goes on and on. We had the first woman bailiff and the first 
woman grand juror.
  Wyoming's history is illustrious. That is why we are called the 
Equality State. We want very much to share that history with the rest 
of the country, and thanks to the gentlewomen here tonight who are 
leading the effort to share women's history in this country, that may 
become a reality.
  I want to thank and salute the gentlewomen from New York and 
Tennessee who are leading this Special Order tonight and are leading 
this effort to create a national women's history museum. Wyoming looks 
forward to being a proud contributor. I look forward to being at the 
ribbon-cutting. I want to send so much history to you and share it with 
the people of this country. I am so delighted that you are leading this 
  Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. I thank the gentlelady from 
Wyoming for sharing that incredible equality history and really 
inspiring me and Congresswoman Blackburn to work harder and harder to 
pass this important bill.
  Imagine how much more inspired, confident, and successful women in 
general could be if our national narrative included an equal proportion 
of women's stories? I firmly believe that we wouldn't be trying to lean 
in--we would already be in.
  Also helping us with this museum is the Representative from the great 
State of Florida. After very personal observation, I can tell you she 
is very hardworking. She happens to live with me. We share what we call 
the Members' House together. She is a trailblazer who keeps on knocking 
down trails and building new opportunities.
  In addition to being an outstanding Member of Congress, she was 
elected and appointed by the President of the United States to chair 
the National Democratic Committee.
  So I now yield to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, my very good friend and 
housemate. Thank you for joining us tonight and thank you for all of 
your hard work.
  Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Thank you so much to my friend, the gentlelady 
from New York. It is an absolute privilege and pleasure to be your 
friend, to be your housemate, and to join you and our distinguished 
colleagues and friends on the House floor tonight to continue the press 
and the push for a national women's museum. This has been a longtime 
goal and passion of yours.
  I was so pleased when you came home and told me of your excitement 
that you had enlisted the gentlelady from Tennessee to cosponsor this 
effort. I just knew between the two of you, it is very clear that this 
is going to happen, because the combination of Blackburn and Maloney is 
just unstoppable, there is no question.

                              {time}  2015

  It is wonderful to be here with our colleague from Wyoming. We have 
had an opportunity to travel internationally together and actually, 
specifically, to the state of Israel, in which we had an incredible 
opportunity to bond.
  That is what the women Members--in spite of maybe some of the 
disagreements and vitriol that, sadly, permeates the House of 
Representatives from time to time, the women Members really do have a 
  The wonderful thing about our Women's Caucus is that we come together 
around issues like this, so when everything else is swirling around us 
in disagreement, the Women's Caucus' goal is always to come together 
and try to find some common ground and advance the cause of women.
  Let me just take a moment to honor and acknowledge our wonderful 
colleague from Ohio, Marcy Kaptur, because she is too humble and modest 
to brag on herself.
  We should point out that she is actually currently the dean of women, 
the longest-serving woman in the House of Representatives today, and 
someone who I have the honor of serving on the House Appropriations 
Committee with.
  She does a wonderful job, is an incredible advocate for the State of 
Ohio and for the Midwest, so I wanted to make sure we acknowledged her.
  I am here, I am proud to join you, not only to continue our quest for 
a National Women's History Museum, but also to honor and acknowledge 
Women's History Month. We do that each March, where we honor and we 
remember the women who came before us, the women who worked to make the 
world a better place, who blazed trails for us to walk on and who 
opened doors for us to walk through.
  I think each of us could tell a story about a woman whose shoulders 
we stand on. I know that, when I ran for the Florida House of 
Representatives when I was 25 years old, 21 years ago, that would never 
have been possible without the trail blazed by the women in Florida who 
came before me, who had it so tough, and who made it possible for me to 
even think about the possibility of running at that stage of my life.
  So, really, we are here during Women's History Month to honor our 
foremothers and create a Women's History Museum to do just that.
  We have historical activists like Mildred Loving, who, in 1967, 
successfully challenged the banning of interracial marriage in the U.S. 
Supreme Court.
  We have more recent leaders, like Janet Yellen, who, this past year, 
became the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve.
  Amazing women that I have met and come to know in my own home 
district in South Florida:
  Ronnie Oller, a community organizer and philanthropist who organizes 
an annual event to provide children with free health care and education 
  Josie Bacallao, the leader of Hispanic Unity, which provides Hispanic 
and other immigration communities with the services and tools they need 
to live productive, civically engaged lives;
  And a young woman who named Valeria Hansen who, at just 15 years old, 
is the founder of the first south Florida chapter of Girl Up, a 
campaign that promotes girls' empowerment and education worldwide 
through social media, fundraising, and advocacy.
  We celebrate all of these women, not only for their accomplishments, 
but for having the drive and tenacity to overcome barriers to equal 
opportunity and lead by example.

[[Page H2424]]

  The challenges of sexism, discrimination, and inequality future 
generations of daughters will have to face are significantly diminished 
thanks to the brave women who have come before us.
  I think we should also acknowledge our colleague, Congresswoman 
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, who was the first Hispanic woman 
elected to Congress, someone who is a great friend of all of ours, who 
we are so proud of, and is so collegial, so warm, and such a wonderful 
person and leader to work with.
  Former Congresswoman Carrie Meek, and our current colleague, 
Congresswoman Corrine Brown, who were the first African American women 
elected to Congress from Florida. These are tremendous sources of pride 
for us as women leaders.
  I want to congratulate the gentlelady from New York and the 
gentlelady from Tennessee on their commitment to building the National 
Women's History Museum. We really need to build it, so that we can note 
the accomplishments and progress of women throughout American history 
because it is important to do that in so many ways.
  As the mother of two young daughters--and each of the women here 
tonight have met my daughters on numerous occasions--and are all about 
girls' empowerment, we are a girl power caucus as women Members.
  If we build this National Women's History Museum, we are going to 
have an opportunity to have a showcase--a place where we can show our 
daughters everything that is possible because of the achievements of 
who came before us.
  Instead of having to try to thumb through a history book and hope 
that a teacher or a professor along the way gave them some 
understanding about what was possible, we give them a place that they 
can go, show them what is possible, and show generations of younger 
women coming behind them as well.
  Thank you so much.
  Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. I thank my good friend for her 
inspiring and thoughtful remarks.
  Women's history is not focused strictly on the accomplishments and 
contributions of individuals; rather it includes recognition of the 
collective efforts of women to enrich society.
  After all, it was women who lobbied pasteurization of milk, 
vaccinations for our children, and sewage systems for our communities. 
Women banded together during World War II to support the war effort.
  They planted victory gardens, donated nylons to be used for making 
equipment, and even took up collections that yielded enough money to 
purchase aircraft bombers.
  Clearly, women have succeeded in shaping our Nation in important and 
lasting ways. A women's museum would chronicle those important 
achievements of women throughout history that are scattered across the 
Nation, as Marcy said, and we need to work to make this happen.
  I yield to my good friend and colleague in this effort, Congresswoman 
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. Thank you, Mrs. Maloney.
  I want to talk for just a moment about some of the women from 
Tennessee who have made such a significant contribution.
  Now, each of us standing on the floor tonight have stood in this 
Chamber and have fought for children.
  Dr. Mildred Stahlman--Millie Stahlman--is from Nashville and is part 
of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center team. She is a pioneering 
professor in pediatrics and pathology at Vanderbilt.
  Anyone who has ever been in a neonatology unit has seen some of the 
pioneering work of Dr. Stahlman because she was the first to ever look 
at, study, and develop methods for monitoring lung disease in premature 
  With over 1,300 preemies born every single day, if you were to go 
into a hospital neonatology unit, you would see some of the knowledge, 
the experience, the insight, and the discovery that has been brought 
about by Dr. Stahlman in helping these young babies to live.

  I would also like to mention Beth Harwell. Beth is our speaker of the 
house in Tennessee. She is the first female speaker of the house ever 
in our State's history.
  Beth started her career in public service when she was elected to the 
general assembly in 1988; and then, in 2011, she was unanimously 
elected to serve as speaker of the Tennessee House.
  She is a diligent worker. She is very devoted to public service, and 
she represents our State so well.
  Chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, Connie Clark, who is 
one of my constituents.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman from New York's time has