Edna F. Kelly

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Edna Kelly
Edna Flannery Kelly.jpg
Secretary of the House Democratic Caucus
In office
January 7, 1964 – January 3, 1965
LeaderJohn McCormack
Preceded byLeonor Sullivan
Succeeded byLeonor Sullivan
In office
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1957
LeaderSam Rayburn
Preceded byChase Woodhouse
Succeeded byLeonor Sullivan
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from New York
In office
November 8, 1949 – January 3, 1969
Preceded byAndrew Somers
Succeeded byShirley Chisholm
Constituency10th district (1949–63)
12th district (1963–69)
Personal details
Edna Flannery

(1906-08-20)August 20, 1906
East Hampton, New York, U.S.
DiedDecember 14, 1997(1997-12-14) (aged 91)
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Edward Kelly
(m. 1928; died 1942)
EducationHunter College (BA)

Edna Kelly (née Flannery; August 20, 1906 – December 14, 1997) was an American politician who served as a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from New York.

Kelly was born in East Hampton, New York. She graduated from Hunter College in 1928. She was a delegate to the 1948 Democratic National Convention, 1952 Democratic National Convention, 1956 Democratic National Convention, 1960 Democratic National Convention, and 1968 Democratic National Convention. She spoke for the nomination of New York Governor W. Averell Harriman, touting his anti-communist credentials at the 1956 convention; and she seconded his nomination.[1][2] She was elected to Congress in 1949 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Andrew L. Somers and served from November 8, 1949 until January 3, 1969. She was a Democratic National Committee member from 1956 until 1968.

Throughout her 19-year career in the House, Kelly was recognized for her expertise in foreign affairs, serving as the chair of the Subcommittee on Europe and retiring from Congress as the third ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.[3] During her tenure, Kelly was responsible for measures that settled displaced people after World War II and refugees for Russia and Eastern Europe. She also helped to create the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.[4]

One news report pointed to her advocacy of "women's and social issues, drawing attention to inequities in pay, credit and tax policy, including what she considered inadequate deductions for child care."[5] This work culminated in passage of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.

Kelly can also be credited with promoting the first equal pay for equal work bill, which she introduced in 1951. It was a landmark effort, which established a new era in the fight for women's equality. She was in attendance when President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law June 10, 1963.[6]

Instead of run against Shirley Chisholm, who ultimately was elected to the district Kelly represented, Kelly challenged Rep. Emanuel Celler in the 1968 Democratic primary election. Kelly lost to Celler in 1968.[7]

She was married to New York City Court Justice Edward L. Kelly of Brooklyn, who was killed in a 1942 car crash.[8][9]

Kelly died in Alexandria, Virginia of cancer and a series of strokes at the age of 91. She had two children, eight grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.[10]

See also[edit]


  • United States Congress. "Edna F. Kelly (id: K000070)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.


  1. ^ 'DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION 1956 AVERELL HARRIMAN FOR PRESIDENT' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOKOcr-h1s8
  2. ^ Congressional Record, Extension of Remarks, October 2, 1968, p. 29254
  3. ^ "KELLY, Edna Flannery". United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  4. ^ "Edna Kelly, Congresswoman From Brooklyn, Is Dead at 91". The New York Times. 17 December 1997. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  5. ^ "Edna Kelly, Congresswoman From Brooklyn, Is Dead at 91". The New York Times. 17 December 1997. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  6. ^ "PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY SIGNING THE EQUAL PAY ACT". UPI.com. United Press International. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  7. ^ "A Woman Leader in Brooklyn To Challenge Celler in Primary". The New York Times. 29 March 1972. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  8. ^ "Kelly Park Playground". NYC Parks. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  9. ^ "Justice E.L. Kelly Killed in Collision". The New York Times. 24 August 1942. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Edna Kelly, Congresswoman From Brooklyn, Is Dead at 91". The New York Times. 17 December 1997. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Andrew Somers
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 10th congressional district

Succeeded by
Emanuel Celler
Preceded by
Hugh Carey
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 12th congressional district

Succeeded by
Shirley Chisholm
Party political offices
Preceded by
Chase Woodhouse
Secretary of the House Democratic Caucus
Succeeded by
Leonor Sullivan
Preceded by
Leonor Sullivan
Secretary of the House Democratic Caucus