The Susan B. Anthony Center for Women's Leadership Logo
About Us
Events and Programs
Support ACWL
First Women
Suffrage History
of Rochester


New York State's First Woman Member of the US House of Representatives
Ruth Sears Baker Pratt

Hillary R Clinton
Copyright the Washinton Post; available via the DC Public Library

Pratt won a seat in the House of Representatives on the eve of the Great Depression.

The following information was sourced from the following sites:

--Biographical Directory of the
United States Congress
, "Ruth Sears Baker Pratt"
--Women in Congress

Born Ruth Sears Baker, in Ware, Massachusetts, on August 24, 1877. She was the daughter of cotton manufacturer Edwin H. Baker and Carrie V. Baker.

Education: Attended private schools and Wellesley College, where she majored in mathematics. She studied violin at the conservatory in Liege, Belgium.

Ruth Pratt moved from Massachusetts to Greenwich, Connecticut in 1894, and to New York City in 1904.

In 1904, Baker wed John Teale Pratt, a pioneer Standard Oil Company executive and founder of the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. The couple raised 5 children: Virginia, Dally, Phyllis, Edwin, and John Jr. When her husband died in 1927, he left Ruth a fortune estimated at about $9 million.

Career Highlights:
--Worked with the Women's Liberty Loan Committee during WWI, and served on the mayor's wartime food commission, where she met head of the National Food Administration Herbert Hoover. Pratt worked for his presidential nomination in 1920 and helped deliver the NY state delegation to Hoover's side at the 1928 GOP convention.

-Appointed as the associate GOP leader of NY's Upper East Side Assembly district, providing a sturdy political base for the next decade.

--Became the first woman to serve in the NYC governing body when she won a position as a member of the board of aldermen of New York City. She served from 1925 through March 1, 1929.

--Member of the Republican National Committee from 1929-1943.

--Elected to the 71st and 72nd Congresses, March 4, 1929 - March 3, 1933. Pratt was unsuccessful in her bid for reelection in 1932 for a seat in the 73rd Congress.

--Delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1924, 1932, 1936, and 1940.

--Delegate to the Republican State Conventions in 1922, 1924, 1936. 1928, 1930, 1936, and 1938.

--Served as president of the Woman's National Republican Club, 1943-46.

--Passed away in Glen Cove, NY on August 23, 1965.