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Winifred C. Stanley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Winifred Claire Stanley
Winifred Claire Stanley.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's at-large district
In office
January 3, 1943 – January 3, 1945
Seat 2
Preceded byCaroline O'Day
Succeeded byDistrict redistricted
Personal details
Winifred Claire Stanley

(1909-08-14)August 14, 1909
Bronx, New York
DiedFebruary 29, 1996(1996-02-29) (aged 86)
Kenmore, New York
Resting placeMount Olivet Cemetery, Tonawanda, New York
Political partyRepublican

Winifred Claire Stanley (August 14, 1909 – February 29, 1996) was an American politician and attorney from New York affiliated with the Republican Party. Stanley is known for her vigorous women's rights advocacy during the WWII war time period, her work as a prosecutor, and for being the first female assistant district attorney in Erie County.[1] Although Stanley served only one term before her constituency was redistricted, she used her legislative standing to champion peacetime demobilization and equal pay regardless of sex.

Early life

Winifred C. Stanley was born to Mary and John Francis Stanley on August 14, 1909 in Bronx, NY, the eldest of six children.[2] Stanley's mother was an English and music teacher, and her father was an architect. Although she was born in Bronx, she and her family spent her childhood in Buffalo, NY.


Following graduation from Lafayette High School, Stanley pursued her undergraduate degree at the University of Buffalo, eventually graduating with honors in 1930. Stanley returned to the University of Buffalo to pursue her L.L.B. and J.D., which she earned in 1933,[3] graduating first in her class.[2]

Early career

Prior to pursuing politics, Winifred Stanley became a practicing attorney. She started this following her first year out of school in 1934 by entering the bar at age 25.[4] She gained her legal prowess following an encounter with New York Judicial System; Stanley found the barring of women from being able to participate on a jury absolutely abhorrent and started a movement by mobilizing different parts of society such as church societies, women's clubs, and political organizations to stand behind her endeavors. Her efforts were largely successful in acquiring the right for women to participate in jury panels in the state of New York.[2] Her abilities did not go unnoticed by the law community as well, landing her a job with the then District Attorney Leo J. Hagerty who appointed her as the first female assistant deputy attorney in Erie County (1938-1942).[3] Stanley accomplished this all by the age of 28 years old.

Congressional service

When New York was redistricted following the 1940 Census, two seats were lost in the process. This warranted the Republican Party to search for a candidate to take a short-term seat slated for elimination. At this point in her career, Stanley was an accomplished attorney who wouldn't threaten a higher-ranking Republican when reelection came around, making her the prime candidate for the job. Stanley ran on a campaign of $6.00[5] and was elected to the 78th Congress in November 1942. She beat out eight other candidates for the position by garnering nearly 2 million votes.[6] Three of the eight candidates she ran against were women; Stanley's female opponents were Flora D. Johnson (Syracuse Democrat also running on the American Labor Party's ticket), Elizabeth Gurly Flynn (New York City Communist and famed activist for workers' and women's rights), and Layle Lane (Harlem Socialist and African American educator, civil rights activist and labor organizer).[4] Her term would start on January 3, 1943 and would run until January 3, 1945.[7]

Committee assignments

Although Winifred Stanley vied for a position on the powerful House Judiciary Committee, she was appointed to Patents and Civil Service Committees. Her background in law inspired her inclination to be appointed to the Judiciary, however those in charge of committee assignments (such as James W. Wadsworth Jr.) opposed women in the workplace vehemently and she received little support from her Republican colleagues due to her short-term status.[2]

Winifred Stanley's committee appointments
Stanley's appointed committees Years served
Patents Committee1943-1945
Civil Service Committee1943-1945

Women's rights legislative work

Stanley was a major advocate for women's rights in society and the workplace, as she made very clear in her efforts against the New York Judicial System. She continued this work in Congress by introducing the first equal pay for equal work bill on June 19, 1944.[8] Stanley did this in the form of a bill to amend the NLRA (National Labor Relations Act of 1935). Her proposed amendment included a provision making it unlawful to discriminate against any employee on account of sex[9](HR 5056). Stanley made clear that she wanted to maintain in "peacetime the drive and energy which women have contributed to the war."[10] She introduced HR 5056 to the House floor with the accompanying statement, "It has often been remarked that this is a 'man's world.' The war and its far-reaching effects have provided the answer. It's 'our world,' and this battered old universe needs and will need the best brains and ability of both men and women."[11] Despite her efforts, the bill was referred to the Committee on Labor where it expired and was never made into law.

Stanley also argued for women to be commissioned as surgeons in the US Army, as well as being a great supporter for the fight to renew the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1943.[12]

Post-war planning legislative work

Beyond being an advocate for Women's rights, Stanley was a major proponent of Post-World War II reconstruction, and was well known as a driving force in sensible post-war planning.[2]

Stanley introduced a concurrent resolution calling for a special joint committee to discuss plausible legislation addressing postwar employment on January 24, 1944. This committee was, per her request, to deal with the influx of returning soldiers into the economy, who would flood the job market. In order to handle this effectively, Stanley suggested this be a bipartisan committee with members from every region of the country.[13]

Legislative records show that Stanley also supported Beardsley Ruml's 1943 plan to forgive all 1942 income taxes while instating a withholding tax on all 1943 wages. She supported this in hopes that the withheld tax could bring in an easily acquired source of revenue for federal government's war effort.[13]

In addition to this work, Stanley made a speech in the House of Representative's chambers proposing a resolution that would support an American delegation to the proposed UN (United Nations).

Other noted legislative support

Stanley was a noted supporter of increasing wages for postal employees, along with eliminating the poll tax.[14]

She was a vocal opponent of New Deal programs during the 1944 campaign.[15]

She favored protecting veteran's rights, attempting to put forth legislation for construction of more Veterans' Administration hospitals in her constituency of Upstate New York.[2]

Missed votes

From January 1943 to December 1944, Stanley missed 8 of 156 roll call votes. This translated to missing 5.1%, better than the median of 7.1% among the lifetime records of Representatives serving in Dec 1944. The chart below reports missed votes over time.[16]

Winifred Stanley's Voting Record
Time period Votes eligible Missed votes Percent Percentile
1943 Jan-Mar 17 1 5.9% 24th
1943 Apr-Jun 49 3 6.1% 48th
1943 Jul-Sep 13 0 0.0% 0th
1943 Oct-Dec 12 0 0.0% 0th
1944 Jan-Mar 23 1 4.3% 32nd
1944 Apr-Jun 32 2 6.3% 53rd
1944 Sep-Oct 3 0 0.0% 0th
1944 Nov-Dec 7 1 14.3% 32nd

Later career

After her short-lived career in Congress, Stanley stayed in the public sector and was appointed to New York Governor Dewey's administration. She was appointed counsel for the State Employees' Retirement System(1945-1955)[3] and later returned to her position as an Assistant District Attorney in Albany(1955-1979).[3] She retired in 1979, but continued in private practice until 1986.

Death and interment

Stanley died in Kenmore, NY on February 29, 1996, following an illness. She is interred Mount Olivet Cemetery in Tonawanda, NY.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Women in Congress, 1917-2006. Wasniewski, Matthew A. (Matthew Andrew), 1969-, United States. Congress. House. Committee on House Administration., United States. Congress. House. Office of History and Preservation. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O. 2006. ISBN 9780160767531. OCLC 71427081.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f "STANLEY, Winifred Claire | US House Of Representatives: History, Art & Archives." N. p., 2018. Web.
  3. ^ a b c d "STANLEY, Winifred Claire - Biographical Information". Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  4. ^ a b Project), Jeff Z. Klein (Niagara Frontier Heritage. "Heritage Moments: The Buffalo congresswoman and the fight for equal pay". Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  5. ^ Rosenwald, Michael S. (2017-04-04). "Meet Miss Stanley, the forgotten 'Buffalo beauty' who first introduced equal pay legislation in Congress". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  6. ^ "Election Statistics, 1920 to Present,"
  7. ^ a b "Winifred Claire Stanley". Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  8. ^ "Representative Winifred Stanley of New York | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  9. ^ "Miss Stanley Backs Bill and Plank on Equal Pay," 20 June 1944, New York Times: 22.
  10. ^ Hope Chamberlin, A Minority of Members: Women in the U.S. Congress (New York: Praeger, 1973): 161.
  11. ^ "Equal Pay for Equal Work Bill | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  12. ^ "Mrs. Luce Presses Equal Rights Bill," 23 February 1943, New York Times: 16.
  13. ^ a b Women in Congress, 1917-2006. Wasniewski, Matthew A. (Matthew Andrew), 1969-, United States. Congress. House. Committee on House Administration., United States. Congress. House. Office of History and Preservation. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O. 2006. ISBN 9780160767531. OCLC 71427081.CS1 maint: others (link)
  14. ^ "Submits Poll—Tax Ban Amendment," 18 May 1944, New York Times: 22. Congressional Record, House, 78th Cong., 2nd sess. (12 December 1944): A4721.
  15. ^ "Anti—New Deal Tide Seen," 6 November 1944, New York Times: 16.
  16. ^ "Winifred Stanley, former Representative for New York -". Retrieved 2018-03-07.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Caroline O'Day
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's at-large congressional seat

January 3, 1943 – January 3, 1945
alongside Matthew J. Merritt
Seat abolished
This page was last edited on 14 January 2021, at 19:07
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