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Margaret Chase Smith for President

This Exhibit Contains 24 Items
1
Margaret Chase Smith for President Campaign Button, 1964

Margaret Chase Smith for President Campaign Button, 1964

Item 12114 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

By 1964, Republican Sen. Margaret Chase Smith of Maine had a national following.

She was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1940, following the death of her husband, Rep. Clyde H. Smith. In 1948, she was elected to the U.S. Senate, the first woman elected in her own right (not following the death of a spouse who held the office).

She was well known for her 1950 "Declaration of Conscience" speech that denounced the communist-hunting tactics of fellow Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

She also was well known as sometimes the only -- or one of two -- women in the U.S. Senate and as a member of the Armed Services and Appropriations committees.

She had challenged President John F. Kennedy's defense policies and received considerable publicity for her comments.


2
Margaret Chase Smith Presidential Campaign Hat, 1964

Margaret Chase Smith Presidential Campaign Hat, 1964

Item 25916 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

The Republican nomination for President was wide open in 1964. Richard Nixon, who ran in 1960, chose not to run.

The party was split between conservatives and moderates and Smith was a moderate voice with considerable Senate experience.

The Republican establishment did not urge Smith to run, but she said she had received thousands of letters from ordinary people asking her to become a candidate.

She also received numerous hats to "toss in the ring."


3
Margaret Chase Smith campaign hat, 1964

Margaret Chase Smith campaign hat, 1964

Item 25907 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

Other Republicans who sought the nomination were John W. Byrnes of Wisconsin, Hiram Fong of Hawaii, Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona, Walter H. Judd of Minnesota, James A. Rhodes of Ohio, Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York, William W. Scranton of Pennsylvania, John W. Steffey of Maryland and Harold E. Stassen of Pennsylvania.

Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. of Massachusetts, and Nixon were write-in candidates in some primaries.

There was no shortage of candidates, and Margaret Chase Smith wrote back to her supporters thanking them for expressing confidence in her, but noting "it could not possibly happen."


4
Margaret Chase Smith, Hat to Toss in Ring, 1964

Margaret Chase Smith, Hat to Toss in Ring, 1964

Item 25878 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

However, in January 1964, she responded to one persistent supporter that she would consider the matter and make a decision whether to run.

When that response was reported in the media, Smith said, she got mail from all 50 states and realized that people were taking her candidacy more seriously than she had.

She had planned to make an announcement in December, but postponed it after the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.


5
Margaret Chase Smith Day, Skowhegan, 1964

Margaret Chase Smith Day, Skowhegan, 1964

Item 25856 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

In a speech to the Women's National Press Club on Jan. 27, 1964, Smith listed the reasons people offered for her to run.

They included her having more national experience than the other candidates, breaking the barrier for women being seriously considered for the presidency, and giving voters the choice of a moderate candidate.

Another reason supporters gave was that she did not have a lot of money nor was she part of a political machine and that she would therefore be more politically independent.


6
Presidential Campaign Announcement Speech, Washington, 1964

Presidential Campaign Announcement Speech, Washington, 1964

Item 25858 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

She listed six reasons given why she should not run.

Some argued that women should not be president. Other reasons were that she was unlikely to win, that she would not have the physical stamina to run, that she did not have the financial resources to mount a campaign and that she did not have a political organization.

A final argument against running, she noted, was that she would have to miss Senate votes and thereby end her consecutive roll call record of 1,590 votes.


7
'Yes, I'll Try a Pair' cartoon, 1964

'Yes, I'll Try a Pair' cartoon, 1964

Item 12115 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

The day after Smith announced she would run, the Bangor Daily News ran a political cartoon showing her picking out a pair of running shoes.

A little press cat is writing "'Formidable' is the word for Margaret!" to the left of the cartoon.

While Smith assured people that she was a "serious" candidate, she also pledged to run a non-traditional campaign.


8
Margaret Chase Smith Campaigns in New Hampshire, 1964

Margaret Chase Smith Campaigns in New Hampshire, 1964

Item 25865 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

In her announcement speech, Smith said she would not raise -- nor accept -- campaign funds, but would spend her own money on personal and travel expenses.

She planned to have no paid campaign workers and no radio or television advertising.

In addition, she pledged to campaign only when the Senate was not in session voting on legislation.

Therefore, Margaret Chase Smith campaigned very little and in only two states: New Hampshire and Illinois.


9
Margaret Chase Smith at 45th Parallel, 1964

Margaret Chase Smith at 45th Parallel, 1964

Item 12113 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

Smith began her New Hampshire campaign on Feb. 10 in Pittsburg, New Hampshire, near the Canadian border.

The temperature was 30 below zero.

A group of reporters joined Smith on her first chilly day of campaigning.


10
Margaret Chase Smith, Newberry's Department Store, New Hampshire, 1964

Margaret Chase Smith, Newberry's Department Store, New Hampshire, 1964

Item 25853 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

Smith's campaign motto was, "There is nothing more effective than a handshake and a little conversation."

She believed in a personal style of campaigning, eschewing organized rallies and receptions.

In New Hampshire, she drove over 1,000 miles visiting barbershops, newspaper offices, diners, dry goods stores and post offices, shaking hands with everyone she met.


11
Margaret Chase Smith, Manchester, New Hampshire, 1964

Margaret Chase Smith, Manchester, New Hampshire, 1964

Item 25859 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

During her campaign, and her time in office, Smith liked to stress her roots as a working woman and an ordinary person.

Having once been a telephone operator, she visited the New England Telephone & Telegraph Office in Manchester, New Hampshire, while on the campaign trail there.

From left are Helen Mackenzie, Senator Smith, Phyllis Burkish and Nathaniel Orr.

She also frequently spoke of her time working in a newspaper office.


12
Margaret Chase Smith, George D. Aiken, 1964

Margaret Chase Smith, George D. Aiken, 1964

Item 25857 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

On March 10, 1964, a month after she began campaigning, Smith waited with Sen. George D. Aiken of Vermont in Washington, D.C., for returns from the New Hampshire Primary.

She came in fifth behind Henry Cabot Lodge, Barry Goldwater, Nelson Rockefeller, and Richard Nixon.


13
Margaret Chase Smith, Chicago, 1964

Margaret Chase Smith, Chicago, 1964

Item 25851 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

Smith's next -- and last -- campaign stop was Illinois. She met the filing deadline and requirements with just minutes to spare.

The Illinois Young Republicans had gathered the signatures to get Smith on the primary ballot, challenging the party's front runner, Barry Goldwater.

As in her New Hampshire effort, she focused on personal contact, shaking hands with people she encountered and talking about her record in the Senate.

Here, a Maine constituent, Peter M. Sangillo, stationed at Great Lakes Naval Training station, greets Senator Smith upon her arrival at O'Hare Airport in Chicago as her campaign begins.


14
Margaret Chase Smith for President Committee, Illinois, 1964

Margaret Chase Smith for President Committee, Illinois, 1964

Item 25880 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

Women gathered in LaGrange, Illinois, in support of Senator Margaret Chase Smith's presidential nomination.

They typed press releases, painted posters, and sent out mass mailings advocating for Smith.

Seated are Katheryn Winslow, Vi Dawson (Chair), Ruth Dobler and Mrs. Kenneth Soderstrom.

Standing are Ruth Baxter, Mrs. John Zwalley, Mrs. William J. Bauer, Mary Imrie and an unidentified woman.


15
Campaign car, Illinois, 1964

Campaign car, Illinois, 1964

Item 25847 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

The women's group and the Young Republicans worked tirelessly on Smith's behalf in Illinois

Their support was crucial as Smith campaigned just two weekends in Illinois, both in the Chicago area, and spent $85. Nevertheless, she got about 26 percent of the vote -- a quarter of a million votes.

Goldwater got 63 percent.

Here, Senator Smith shakes hands with high school student Linda Miller in Wheaton, Illinois.


16
Mainers, San Francisco Airport, 1964

Mainers, San Francisco Airport, 1964

Item 25850 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

Despite not campaigning elsewhere, Smith won votes in Massachusetts, Texas, and Oregon.

She did not get any votes in Republican primaries in California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania or South Dakota -- and Barry Goldwater seemed to have the nomination wrapped up.

With about 16 delegates expected to vote for her, Smith and her supporters went to San Francisco in August for the Republican Convention.

Awaiting Smith's arrival at the San Francisco Airport are from left, Don Hansen, a reporter for the Portland Press Herald; Brad Hutchens of Waterville, Helen Mitchell of Houlton, and Wilde McIntire of Perham.


17
Margaret Chase Smith at Republican National Convention, 1964

Margaret Chase Smith at Republican National Convention, 1964

Item 25848 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

Margaret Chase Smith arrived at the Cow Palace in San Francisco for the National Republican Convention, prepared to have her name placed in nomination and to remain in the contest "until the final vote was cast."

While her race for the nomination was, by this point, largely symbolic, Smith's centrist beliefs were important to the Republican Party, which remained bitterly split between Barry Goldwater's conservative views and the more liberal ideas of Nelson Rockefeller.


18
Guest Badge, 1964 Republican National Convention

Guest Badge, 1964 Republican National Convention

Item 25920 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

A guest badge for Margaret Chase Smith admitting her to the 1964 Republican National Convention in San Francisco.

It states "Margaret Chase Smith Honored Guest-1964 Convention-San Francisco."

Smith and her supporters awaited the nominating process and selection of a candidate on July 15.


19
View of floor of Republican Convention, San Francisco, 1964

View of floor of Republican Convention, San Francisco, 1964

Item 25862 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

The several days leading up to the selection of a candidate were contentious. The party's moderates and conservatives openly expressed their contempt for each other.

During a discussion on the platform, Nelson Rockefeller was loudly booed. He criticized the party's conservatives, which led many in the galleries to yell and scream at him.

A group of Republican moderates tried to rally behind William Scranton of Pennsylvania to stop the conservative Goldwater, but were unsuccessful.


20
Margaret Chase Smith, San Francisco, 1964

Margaret Chase Smith, San Francisco, 1964

Item 25861 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

Vermont Governor George D. Aiken, age 75, who had been in the Senate for 25 years, agreed to nominate Margaret Chase Smith.

Here, Aiken stands behind Smith as she greets supporters at the Cow Palace.


21
Clifford and Wilda McIntire, San Francisco, 1964

Clifford and Wilda McIntire, San Francisco, 1964

Item 25864 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

Smith supporters from Maine, Illinois and elsewhere rallied in her behalf.

Smith's was one of eight names placed in nomination during the convention.

By nominating day, it was clear that Goldwater would get the party's nod, but contenders remained in the running.

The nominating process took seven hours.


22
Margaret Chase Smith, San Francisco, 1964

Margaret Chase Smith, San Francisco, 1964

Item 25860 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

Aiken commented in his nominating speech that, "I am severely restricted in what I can offer you for your support. Not a cabinet job, an ambassador’s appointment, or even a government contract.

"I can't even invite you all out for coffee, because my candidate sent every big check, every little check, every $10 bill, every $1 bill, and every penny straight back where they came from."

He stressed her integrity, ability, common sense and courage.


23
Margaret Chase Smith, John Reed, San Francisco, 1964

Margaret Chase Smith, John Reed, San Francisco, 1964

Item 25852 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman to have her name placed in nomination at a major party's political convention, got the votes of 27 delegates.

Unlike other candidates, she did not release her delegates to add their names to Goldwater's total. She, therefore, came in second in the balloting -- 883 for Goldwater, 26 for Smith.

Here, she poses with Maine Governor John Reed, Lieutenant Governor Patrick Lucey of Wisconsin and Governor Warren P. Knowles of Wisconsin at the convention.


24
Clifford McIntire, San Francisco, 1964

Clifford McIntire, San Francisco, 1964

Item 25868 info
Margaret Chase Smith Library

Democrat Lyndon Johnson soundly defeated Barry Goldwater in November.

Margaret Chase Smith claimed she wanted to be president for the same reasons men did, and that she wanted to help break the barrier against women being seriously considered for the presidency.

She believed she had broken new ground. Yet her reluctance to participate in standard politics helped doom her candidacy.


This Exhibit Contains 24 Items
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