Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Mary Teresa Norton
Mary Teresa Norton née Hopkins (March 7, 1875 – August 2, 1959) was an American politician. The sixth woman in the United States Congress, she was the first from an Eastern state (New Jersey), and the first non-Republican (she was a Democrat). She went on to serve an unprecedented 13 concurrent terms in the House of Representatives, from 1925 to 1951, and chaired four committees. She was a labor advocate and a supporter of women's rights.
Norton was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. She attended parochial schools and the Jersey City High School, and graduated from Packard Business College , New York City in 1896. She married Robert Francis Norton in 1909.
Norton was president of the Queen's Daughters' Day Nursery Association of Jersey City from 1916 to 1927. She was appointed to represent Hudson County, New Jersey on the state Democratic committee in 1920. She was elected a member of that committee in 1921, and served as vice chairperson from 1921 to 1931, and as chairperson 1932 to 1935. She also served as vice chairman of the Hudson County Democratic Committee. She was elected county freeholder in 1922, and was a delegate at large to the Democratic National Conventions in 1924, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, and 1948. She was a delegate to the International Labor Conference at Paris, France in 1945.
Norton was elected as a Democrat to the 69th , 70th , 71st, 72nd, 73rd, 74th, 75th , 76th , 77th , 78th , 79th , 80th, 81st United States Congresses, serving from March 4, 1925 to January 3, 1951. She represented New Jersey's 12th District, then composed of Jersey City and Bayonne.
Norton was the chairperson of the Committee on the District of Columbia (during the 72nd to 75th Congresses), the Committee on Labor (75th to 79th Congresses), the Committee on Memorials (77th Congress), and the Committee on House Administration (81st Congress). She helped pass the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938.
Norton was not a candidate for renomination in 1950. She became a "Womanpower Consultant" for the Women's Advisory Committee on Defense Manpower , in the United States Department of Labor from 1951 to 1952.
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