Mary Risteau

Just one year after the 19th amendment provided women with the right to vote, Harford citizens elected Mary Eliza Watters Risteau to the Maryland House of Delegates. Clearly, they recognized a born leader.

Ms. Risteau or “Miss Mary” to neighbors and friends, was the first woman elected to the Maryland House of Delegates. Not resting on that distinction alone, she was later the first woman in the State Senate as well as on the State Board of Education. A career politician at a time when most women had few career choices, Ms. Risteau was also the first woman delegate to the Democratic National Convention, held in 1936 in Philadelphia. The Third Circuit Court of Harford County appointed Ms. Risteau as Clerk of the Circuit Court of Harford County in 1937. Again, she was the first woman to hold that position.

 

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