HerStory Ruth McCormick Simms

Ruth Hanna McCormick Simms was born March 27, 1880, in Cleveland. Although attending private schools, she received most of her education from her father. He sent her to investigate living conditions among streetcar employees when she was 16. Later that year, he became William McKinley's presidential campaign manager, and she accompanied him on a national tour. In 1898, he was elected U.S. senator and she served as his personal secretary.

Ruth married Medill McCormick, a newspaperman, in 1903, and they settled in Chicago and had three children. They shared an interest in politics, and she helped him get elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916 and to the Senate in 1918.

Ruth was selected as the first chairman of the Women's Executive Committee of the Republican National Committee. In 1924, she became the Republican National Committee woman from Illinois and organized a network of statewide women's Republican clubs with several thousand members.

After Medill died in 1925, Ruth ran for Republican congressman-at-large from Illinois, declaring, "I am no longer a suffragette or a feminist, I am a politician." She won the election but after only two months in office decided to run for the Senate in 1930. She won the primary but lost the election and sought an elected position again.

In 1926, she bought control of a newspaper in Rockford, Ill., and four years later, added a second newspaper and a radio station.

In 1932, she married Albert Simms, a retired congressman from New Mexico. After this marriage, Ruth withdrew from politics and founded a girl's school in Albuquerque and maintained a large sheep and cattle ranch in Colorado.

She returned to the political life for a short time to help Wendell Wilkie in his presidential campaign in 1940 and Thomas E. Dewey's in 1944.

Submitted by Midge Kirk. You can reach Midge at eurydice4@yahoo.com or at Wildheartwomen@blogspot.com.