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A Trailblazer for Women

Reva Beck Bosone, 1895-1983

Reva Beck Bosone

Reva Beck Bosone voting in 1954. (Notice how she's voting! How is it different from the way we vote today?)

In short:

Reva Beck Bosone blazed a trail for women in politics. She was one of the first women in the state to become an attorney, and then a representative in the Utah State House.  She was the first woman to be elected to a judgeship, and she followed that up by being elected to Congress out of Utah’s second district.  She capped off an astonishing career as Chief Judicial Officer for the United States Postal Service. 

More of the story:

An unconventional woman!
In the early 1900s, women might have thought about becoming nurses or teachers. But Reva Beck Bosone (whose parents valued education) thought outside this box. She wanted to be a lawyer. 

So she went to law school at the University of Utah and graduated in 1920.  Twelve years later she ran for the state legislature, where she became the floor majority leader.

While she served in the legislature, she worked for women’s rights. She managed to pass a minimum wage law for women and children and to create the Women’s Division of the State Industrial Commission. 

She also sponsored pieces of New Deal legislation in the House, helping further Utah’s recovery from the Great Depression. 

Investigate: What was the New Deal?

Her Honor, the judge.
In 1936, she became the first woman elected to a judgeship in Utah.  During twelve years on the bench, she especially tried to help young people who broke the law and alcoholics. She recognized that addiction is a disease that should be treated, rather than punished, and so she advocated for rehabilitation programs. 

Mrs. Bosone goes to Washington.
In 1948, she ran for the U.S. House of Representatives and won. She won again in 1950. While in Congress, she focused on water rights, conservation issues, women’s issues, and American Indian issues. She became the first woman to serve on the House Interior Committee. 

Voting her conscience.
Representative Beck was also one of only four people in the House to vote against the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  The people who wanted to create the agency would not explain exactly how they would use taxpayer money. Beck worried that the agency could misuse taxpayer money and no one would be the wiser for it.  

Life after Congress.
In 1952, William Dawson defeated her re-election bid in 1952. His campaign accused her of taking money illegally and of having Communist sympathies. 

But Bosone wasn’t out of the spotlight for long!  She was appointed Chief Judicial Officer for the United States Postal Service in 1961, and remained there until she retired in 1968.