Mary Teresa Norton

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Mary Teresa Norton
Mary Teresa Norton cph.3b14795.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 13th district
In office
March 4, 1933 – January 3, 1951
Preceded by District Created
Succeeded by Alfred D. Sieminski
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 12th district
In office
March 4, 1925 – March 3, 1933
Preceded by Charles F. X. O'Brien
Succeeded by Frederick R. Lehlbach
Personal details
Born (1875-03-07)March 7, 1875
Jersey City, New Jersey
Died August 2, 1959(1959-08-02) (aged 84)
Greenwich, Connecticut
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Robert Francis Norton
Alma mater Packard Business College
Religion Roman Catholic[1]

Mary Teresa Norton (March 7, 1875 – August 2, 1959) was an American politician. She and Florence Prag Kahn were the fifth and sixth women to serve in the United States House of Representatives, beginning on March 4, 1925. Norton was the first Democrat, the other five were Republicans. She chaired four House committees during her tenure. She was a labor advocate and a supporter of women's rights.


She was born as Mary Teresa Hopkins in Jersey City, New Jersey. She attended parochial schools and the Jersey City High School, and graduated from Packard Business College, New York City in 1896. She married Robert Francis Norton in 1909.

Norton was president of the Queen's Daughters' Day Nursery Association of Jersey City from 1916 to 1927. She was appointed to represent Hudson County on the New Jersey Democratic State Committee in 1920. She was elected a member of that committee in 1921, and served as vice chairperson from 1921 to 1931. She chaired the state committee from 1932 to 1935 and again from 1940 to 1944.[2][3] She also served as vice chairman of the Hudson County Democratic Committee. She was elected to the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 1922, and was a delegate at large to the Democratic National Conventions in 1924, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, and 1948. She was a delegate to the International Labor Conference at Paris, France in 1945.

Norton was elected as a Democrat to the 69th, 70th, 71st, 72nd, 73rd, 74th, 75th, 76th, 77th, 78th, 79th, 80th, 81st United States Congresses, serving from March 4, 1925 to January 3, 1951. She originally represented New Jersey's 12th congressional district, then composed of Jersey City and Bayonne; later, she represented the 13th district due to reapportionment.

Norton was the chairperson of the Committee on the District of Columbia (during the 72nd to 75th Congresses), the Committee on Labor (75th to 79th Congresses), the Committee on Memorials (77th Congress), and the Committee on House Administration (81st Congress). She helped pass the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938.

Norton was not a candidate for renomination in 1950. She became a "Womanpower Consultant" for the Women's Advisory Committee on Defense Manpower, in the United States Department of Labor from 1951 to 1952.

Norton died on August 2, 1959 in Greenwich, Connecticut, aged 84.[4] She was interred in the Holy Name Cemetery, Jersey City. Her memoir Madame Congressman was never published.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rites For Mary Norton," The New York Times, August 6, 1959, p. 27.
  2. ^ "W.H. Kelly Elected Chairman of Jersey Democratic Group; Succeeds Mrs. Norton", The New York Times, January 23, 1935. Accessed June 10, 2008.
  3. ^ "Representative Hart Elected to Succeed Mrs. Norton", The New York Times, August 18, 1944. Accessed June 10, 2008.
  4. ^ "Mary Norton, House Member 26 Years, Dies". Chicago Tribune. August 3, 1959. Mrs. Mary T. Norton, 84, the first woman Democrat in Congress, died of a heart attack Sunday. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles F.X. O'Brien
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 12th congressional district

Succeeded by
Frederick Lehlbach
Preceded by
New District
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 13th congressional district

Succeeded by
Alfred Sieminski
Party political offices
Preceded by
Harry Heher
Chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee
1932 – 1935
Succeeded by
William H. Kelly
Preceded by
Crawford Jamieson
Chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee
1940 – 1944
Succeeded by
Edward J. Hart