Boiler Room Girls
The "Boiler Room Girls" were the female members of Senator Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign staff. The boiler room contained desks divided by regions of the country, i.e. Northeast (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine), etc. Each "girl" was assigned a regional desk and was responsible for daily communication in and out of the Washington campaign headquarters to each state director in their region. Issues and problems were discussed daily and at the end of the day a decision book was compiled and sent to the candidate (RFK) and the campaign manager (Stephen Smith). Decision were reached on each daily issue and the following morning those decision came out from the regional desk officer ("boiler room girl") to the state director. So if there was an issue with labor, or abortion rights or there weren't enough bumper stickers, etc. those issues were resolved. Also as each state primary was held, the desk officers kept track of the delegate count - both for RFK, McCarthy and Humphrey - leading up to the convention. Just before the Democratic National Convention the boiler room was to be moved to a temporary office right off the convention floor where the same delegate officers conversed with the same state leaders. Thus at any given moment, the boiler room became the heartbeat of the campaign.
Six of them, listed in descending order of age (in 1968), were the following:
- Mary Jo Kopechne, 28, who died a year after RFK's campaign, off Chappaquiddick Island in 1969 in a highly publicized and controversial car accident involving her driver, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who pleaded guilty after leaving the scene of an accident;
- Mary Ellen Lyons, a graduate of Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts, sister of Nance Lyons, and now a practicing attorney in Boston;
- Nance Lyons, 26, a graduate of College of the Sacred Heart in Newton, Massachusetts, sister of Mary Ellen Lyons, and now a practicing attorney in Boston;
- Esther Newberg, 26, now a New York literary agent and executive
- Susan Tannenbaum, 24, now a retired lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and wife of a Washington lawyer; and
- Rosemary "Cricket" Keough (now Rosemary Keough Redmond Kerrebrock), 23, a graduate of Manhattanville College and Boston University who went on to be partner in a Lincoln, Massachusetts law firm with her late husband.
- Who's who at the Kennedy inquest - time.com, September 5, 1969