Clara Cressingham (1863-c. 1906)[Note 1] was one of the first women elected to serve in any state legislature in the United States. She was also the first woman to serve in a leadership position in any state legislature.
Colorado became the first state in which women obtained the right to vote, through popular election in 1893. The following year, on November 6, 1894, three women were elected to serve in the Colorado House of Representatives. Besides Cressingham, they included Carrie C. Holly and Frances S. Klock. All three were Republicans and were sworn into office in 1895. Each served one term, from 1895 to 1896.
At 32 years old, Clara Cressingham was the youngest of these three legislators. After she and her husband had moved from New York, she was employed as a writer, and she was the mother of two children when elected to the Colorado General Assembly. As Secretary of the House Republican Caucus, Cressingham was the first woman to fill a leadership position in an American legislature. 
Cressingham is credited with introducing the first law introduced by a woman in the United States. It set a government–provided bounty of $3 per ton on sugar beets raised in the state and sold to a factory within its borders, thus boosting the budding Colorado sugar beet industry. Other bills she introduced during her two years in the House addressed the creation of a state board of arbitration and a system of free schools. Along with the other two women in the legislature, she successfully supported a bill to create homes for delinquent girls.
- In addition to the recorded 1906 Denver burial for a Clara Cressingham, the 1910 US Federal Census has her husband listed as being a widower.
- "Fairmount sexton's records, 1891-1953, Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado". Denver Library. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
- "1910 United States Federal Census Record for William H Cressingham". National Archives/Ancestry.Com. 1910. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
- "Legislator Record". State of Colorado. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "House Bill 118". State of Colorado. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "First Women to Serve in State and Territorial Legislatures". National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "1900 US Federal Census (Record for Wm. H. Cressingham)". US Government/Ancestry.Com. 1900. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
- "Clara Cressingham". Colorado Legislative Women's Caucus. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
- Kopel, Jerry. "Colorado Women First to Reach Statehouse". The Colorado Statesman. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Colorado". National Women's History Museum. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
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