At This Place in History takes us to Fairfield this week. Vermont Historical Society tells us the story of Consuelo Northrop Bailey. Perkins says she was a woman with a lot of Vermont firsts.
“She was the first female Lieutenant Governor of the state of Vermont and right around the first in the United States as well.” said Perkins. “She was the first Vermont woman to be able to practice law in front of the Supreme Court of the United States and she was also the first female speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives.”
Perkins says Northrop Bailey grew up on a farm in Fairfield right across the street from the historical marker. She went to UVM and graduated from Boston University School of Law in 1921.
“She immediately runs for state senate and she represents Chittenden County in the Vermont state senate. She then becomes a secretary to Earnest Gibson who was a Congressman and goes down to Washington DC. That’s when she’s able to practice in front of the United States Supreme Court.” Perkins said.
Perkins explains she then started her own law practice in Burlington, got married, went back to the Vermont House of Representatives representing South Burlington. Then she decided to run for speaker.
“So, she goes and she visits every single member of the Vermont legislature leading up to that election.” Perkins said. “Now this is driving all over the state in 1951 to say I need to be the speaker of the house. And huge, historic win.”
She used that as a springboard to the Lieutenant Governorship and then went on to serve on the national Republican committee until 1973.
“To honor her, the state of Vermont retired her desk that she used when she was legislator and speaker of the house. And that desk now resides at the Vermont Historical Society.” said Perkins.
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