Leonor Sullivan

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Leonor Sullivan
Leonor K. Sullivan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1977
Preceded by Phil J. Welch
Succeeded by Richard A. Gephardt
Personal details
Born Leonor Kretzer
(1902-08-21)August 21, 1902
St. Louis, Mo.
Died September 1, 1988(1988-09-01) (aged 86)
St. Louis, Mo.
Resting place Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum
38°42′11″N 90°14′20″W / 38.70306°N 90.23889°W / 38.70306; -90.23889
Political party Democrat
  • John B. Sullivan 1941-1951
  • Russell L. Archibald 1980-1988
  • Frederick William Kretzer
  • Nora Jostrand
Alma mater Washington University - St. Louis
  • Educational director
  • Teacher
  • House - Banking and Currency
  • House - Banking, Currency, and Housing
  • House - Merchant Marine and Fisheries
  • Joint Committee on Defense Production
Religion Christianity

Leonor Kretzer Sullivan (August 21, 1902 in St. Louis, Missouri – September 1, 1988 in St. Louis) was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Missouri. She was a Democrat and the first woman in Congress from Missouri.

Sullivan attended Washington University in St. Louis and was a teacher and director at St. Louis Comptometer school. She was married to John B. Sullivan, who served four terms in Congress, and she served as his administrative aide. Following her husband's death in 1951, she served as an aide to Congressman Leonard Irving until she left to run for Congress herself in 1952. She was re-elected eleven times. In Congress, she served for many years as Secretary of the House Democratic Caucus.

Sullivan helped create the food stamp program,[1] which was opposed by Agriculture Secretary Ezra Taft Benson and became law in the 1960s during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

Sullivan was one of very few members of Congress, and the only woman member of Congress, to vote against the Equal Rights Amendment for women in the early 1970s.

She did not seek re-election in 1976, and was succeeded by Dick Gephardt.

In 1979, the Supersisters trading card set was produced and distributed; one of the cards featured Sullivan's name and picture.[2]

The former Wharf Street in front of the Gateway Arch in Downtown St. Louis was renamed Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard in her honor.


"A woman with a woman's viewpoint is of more value when she forgets she's a woman and begins to act like a man."


  1. ^ Taylor, B. Kimberly (2002). "Sullivan, Leonor Kretzer". Women in World History, Vol. 15: Sul-Vica. Waterford, CT: Yorkin Publications. pp. 4–5. ISBN 0-7876-4074-3. 
  2. ^ Wulf, Steve (2015-03-23). "Supersisters: Original Roster". Espn.go.com. Retrieved 2015-06-04. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Phil J. Welch
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Dick Gephardt
Party political offices
Preceded by
Edna F. Kelly
Secretary of Democratic Caucus of the United States House of Representatives
1959–1975, except 1964
Succeeded by
Patsy Mink
Political offices
Preceded by
Edward Garmatz
Chairman of House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee
Succeeded by
John M. Murphy
New York