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Ruth Bryan Owen

First Congresswomen from the South

Ruth’s List is named for Ruth Bryan Owen, the first woman elected to Congress from the South.

A widow and mother of four children, Ruth successfully ran for office in 1928, only eight years after women were given the vote.

Her district stretched from above Jacksonville to Key West, and during her campaign she cruised the coastline in a sporty green Ford coupe dubbed “The Spirit of Florida,” driving across the entire district which stretched more than 500 miles along the Atlantic. She was determined to reach as many citizens as possible in the district, then one of the largest geographic areas in the country.

In Congress, Ruth sponsored a bill to create a cabinet-level agency, The Department of Home and Child, and wrote legislation to create Everglades National Park. She became the first woman to serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

In 1933, President Roosevelt appointed Ms. Owen as minister to Denmark, a diplomatic first for women. In 1948, President Truman named her an alternate delegate to the U.N. General Assembly.

Ruth Bryan Owen is a stellar example of the kind of difference Florida women can make as elected officials. Ruth’s List was founded to elect more trailblazers like her to office in Florida.

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