to enlarge |Artist: Mike
Sponsor: Sen. Charles R.
Size: 24" x 30"
Type: Oil on Canvas
Location: Senate Lounge
In 1920, Alice Mary Robertson
became the second woman elected to the House when she defeated
the three-term incumbent William W. Hastings, in Oklahoma’s
Second Congressional District. At the age of 67, Robertson
had a diverse career behind her.
She was born January 2, 1854,
at the Tullahassee Mission of the Creek Nation in Indian
Territory. Taught by her missionary parents, she went on
to attend Elmira College in New York. From 1873 to 1879,
she worked as the first woman clerk in the Office of Indian
Affairs in Washington and also taught at the Indian school
in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She later founded Minerva Home,
a school for Creek girls, which later became Henry Kendall
College (now the University of Tulsa).
Miss Alice’s helpfulness
to troops passing through Muskogee station came to the attention
of Col. Theodore Roosevelt and after he became President,
named Miss Alice to serve as the first woman Postmaster in
a first class postoffice in Muskogee. Later she operated
a dairy farm which provided milk and butter and other produce
which was used by the cafeteria she operated in Muskogee.
As a candidate for Congress in
the first election following ratification of the Nineteenth
Amendment, Robertson disassociated herself from suffragists
and other women’s rights advocates. Robertson’s
opposition to what she saw as a bureaucratic intrusion on
personal rights provoked condemnation from women’s
political groups and such organizations as the Daughters
of the American Revolution. And despite her support of servicemen
in the First World War, she voted against the Soldiers’
On June 20, 1921, during a roll
call vote on funding for a United States delegation to the
centennial celebrations of Peru’s independence, Robertson
became the first woman to preside over a session of the House
Her first term in Congress, however,
was also to be the last for the outspoken Robertson. In a
rematch with William W. Hastings in 1922, Robertson lost
her seat. Failing to receive an appointment in Indian Affairs
in the Harding administration, Robertson returned to Oklahoma
where she worked in the Veterans’ Hospital in Muskogee,
and for the Oklahoma Historical Society.
She resided in Muskogee, Oklahoma,
until her death in 1931.
Images are copyright
of The Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund,
Inc. and the artist. Please contact Sandra Shelton at 521-5663
or email@example.com for
further copyright information.