Publish date:
Updated on
Year
1890

Harrison welcomes Alice Sanger as first female staffer

President Benjamin Harrison welcomes Alice Sanger as the first female White House staffer on this day in 1890.

During an otherwise uneventful presidency remarkable only for allowing Congress a free-for-all in spending public funds, Alice Sanger’s appointment may have been an olive branch to the growing women’s suffrage movement that had gathered momentum during Harrison’s presidency. In 1890, two of the most influential organizations involved in the women’s suffrage movement, the American Woman Suffrage Association and the National Woman Suffrage Association, combined forces and became the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). NAWSA represented a coalition of women’s suffrage activists, social reformers and temperance advocates. Their demands included stronger female property rights, employment and educational opportunities for women, improved divorce and child custody laws and reproductive freedom.

Whether or not Sanger actively supported women’s suffrage has been lost in the historical record, however, Harrison’s appointment of Sanger indicated a cautious step toward strengthening female representation in government.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Georgia enters the Union

Georgia votes to ratify the U.S. Constitution, becoming the fourth state in the modern United States. Named after King George II, Georgia was first settled by Europeans in 1733, when a group of British debtors led by English philanthropist James E. Oglethorpe traveled up the ...read more

First censuring of a U.S. senator

Senator Timothy Pickering, a Federalist from Massachusetts, becomes the first senator to be censured when the Senate approves a censure motion against him by a vote of 20 to seven. Pickering was accused of violating congressional law by publicly revealing secret documents ...read more

Reconquest of Spain

The kingdom of Granada falls to the Christian forces of King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella I, and the Moors lose their last foothold in Spain. Located at the confluence of the Darro and Genil rivers in southern Spain, the city of Granada was a Moorish fortress that rose to ...read more

Callas walks out of performance

On January 2, 1958, celebrated soprano Maria Callas walks off after the first act of a gala performance of Bellini’s Norma in Rome, claiming illness. The president of Italy and most of Rome’s high society were in the audience, and Callas, known for her volatile temperament, was ...read more

U.S.-Russia detente ends

On this day in 1980, in a strong reaction to the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, President Jimmy Carter asks the Senate to postpone action on the SALT II nuclear weapons treaty and recalls the U.S. ambassador to Moscow. These actions sent a message that the age of ...read more

Stephen Crane’s boat sinks

On this day in 1897, American writer Stephen Crane survives the sinking of The Commodore off the coast of Florida. He will turn the harrowing adventure into his classic short story “The Open Boat” (1897). The 25-year-old writer had gained international fame with the publication ...read more

Congress publishes the Tory Act

The Continental Congress publishes the “Tory Act” resolution on this day in 1776, which describes how colonies should handle those Americans who remain loyal to the British and King George. The act called on colonial committees to indoctrinate those “honest and well-meaning, ...read more