A Tribute to Senator Margaret Chase Smith
Born in Skowhegan, ME in 1897, Margaret Chase Smith began her career as a teacher, the manager of a textile mill, and a newspaper circulation manager.
In 1930 she married Clyde H. Smith, a prominent political leader in Maine, and joined the Republican state committee. When her husband ran for the United States House of Representatives and won in 1936, Margaret Chase Smith assumed responsibilities for managing his Congressional office.
Clyde Smith died of a heart attack in 1940, and Margaret Chase Smith won a special election to succeed him, ultimately serving four full terms in the House of Representatives.
Smith was elected to the United States Senate in 1948, and ultimately served for 24 years as United States Senator from Maine. She was considered an expert in national defense and aeronautics. At the height of the Vietnam War and in the early days of the U.S. Space program, Smith held key positions as the ranking Republican on both the Armed Services Committee and the Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee.
Margaret Chase Smith was the first woman to win elections to both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate. She was also the first woman in U.S. history to have her name placed in nomination for the Presidency at a major party convention.
For her trailblazing career as a woman in American politics and her extraordinary commitment to public service, Margaret Chase Smith was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George H.W. Bush in 1989. She died on May 29, 1995, at age 98.
Named in her honor, the Senator Margaret Chase Smith speaker series hosts experienced military combat leaders and experts to share their knowledge and experience with Midshipmen on a range of leadership topics to help prepare them for leadership positions in our Navy and Marine Corps.