Helen Ring Robinson

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Helen Ring Robinson circa 1913

Helen Ring Robinson (1878–1923), was either the first[1] or the second[2] woman to serve as a state senator in the United States and the first in the Colorado State Senate. She was elected in 1913.[2][3][4][5]


She was born in 1878 in Eastport, Maine.

She was elected to the Colorado State Senate for one four-year term in 1912, and took office in 1913.

Among the progressive laws she passed were a minimum wage law for women and an abatement for property used for prostitution. Both were efforts to reduce prostitution. Women were not allowed to serve on juries at that time, though women received the vote in Colorado in 1893. All of Helen's bills on this issue failed. Consequently women could not serve on juries in the state until 1944.

She died in 1923.[1] Her body lay in state in the Capitol rotunda before her service. She was buried at Fairmount Cemetery in Denver.

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  1. ^ a b "Died". Time magazine. July 23, 1923. Retrieved 2008-12-10. Mrs. Helen Ring Robinson, 45, of Colorado, first woman State Senator in the United States, suffrage leader, writer, lecturer, member of the Ford "peace pilgrimage" in 1915, at Denver, after a long illness. 
  2. ^ a b "Helen Ring Robinson". Political graveyard. Retrieved 2008-12-10. Robinson, Helen Ring (d. 1923) — of Denver, Colo. Democrat. Member of Colorado state senate, 1913-16. Female. First woman elected to Colorado Senate; second woman state senator in the United States. Author of a minimum wage law for women; also introduced a bill allowing women to serve as jurors. Died in 1923. Burial location unknown. 
  3. ^ "Senator Helen Ring Robinson Calls Herself the Housewives' Representative in Colorado.". New York Times. November 23, 1913. Retrieved 2008-12-10. " Every city in every State in the country is in need of motherliness," said Senator Helen Ring Robinson of Colorado before the League for Political Education at the Hudson Theatre yesterday morning in telling her audience that it was the womanly woman who was needed in politics, not a creature recreated in the image of man. 
  4. ^ "Helen Ring Robinson". Swarthmore College. Retrieved 2008-12-10. 
  5. ^ "Helen R. Robinson of Colorado Defends the Suffrage Cause.". New York Times. September 22, 1915. Retrieved 2008-12-10. Senator Helen Ring Robinson of Colorado was in New York City yesterday after having given a week to the suffrage campaign work in the upper part of the State and a week in New Jersey. Senator Robinson says that while she is helping the women here she is also trying to put down the incessant criticism of the suffrage States by Eastern people.