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“A Dead Husband is a Better Ticket to Congress than a Log Cabin”: Widows in Office, 1920-1940

Presenter: Katherine Parkin, Ph. D. – Professor of History and the Jules Plangere, Jr. Endowed Chair in American Social History

When the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ) died in 2018, speculation turned to who the governor would appoint to fill out the remaining term, and one of the names circulating was his widow, Cindy McCain. The tradition of women finding widowhood as a path to politics is as old as women’s suffrage, dating back one hundred years to 1920.

This talk will cover the two decades after women secured the right to vote, when a minuscule number of women found their way into political office. Heralded by history as pioneering politicians, a significant portion of the women in office at local, state, and national levels in these decades only found themselves elected or appointed to hold the seat of their dead husbands. While not the pioneering politicians we might imagine, the political coverage of widows did help open the possibility for women to independently enter into politics. Indeed, widows themselves and constituents following them discovered that women could be astute, successful politicians. While not intended to extend power to women, widowhood helped introduce women to the political arena and awakened Americans to their political potential.

Please RSVP by 7/21 to Stacey Ayers.

Zoom Information

Topic: “A dead husband is a better ticket to Congress than a Log Cabin”: Widows in Office, 1920-1940
Time: Jul 23, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 987 9682 4870
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Cancelled: Lives of the ‘Brows’: Autobiography, Taste, Ethics

Photo of Dr. Max Cavitch, Associate Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Max Cavitch, Associate Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania

Please join us for a guest lecture by Dr. Max Cavitch, Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is also an affiliated faculty member of the programs in Cinema Studies, Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, and Psychoanalytic Studies.

Dr. Cavitch will be discussing literary taste and value in relation to autobiography—one of the world’s most popular and widely practiced genres. From “highbrow” triumphs of artistic intention to “middlebrow” narratives of historical significance to “lowbrow” tell-alls of gossipy celebrity, there are autobiographies to suit every taste. But what is “taste,” anyway? What does it have to do with “literary value”? And, moreover, what do either taste or literary value have to do with the question of whose lives and life-stories matter?

Refreshments will be served. Students, faculty, and interested members of the public are warmly invited to attend.

Free and open to the public.
Sponsored by the Wayne D. McMurray Endowed Chair in the Humanities, Dr. Kristin Bluemel

Ink & Electricity Lecture Series

This annual lecture series brings top scholars in the fields of digital humanities, media studies, the history of the book, print culture, and children’s literature to Monmouth University every fall.


A Talk by Dr. Priya Joshi
Professor of English
Temple University

Fan sites, new writing platforms, and new markets for the novel are now produced and curated by readers on Web 2.0 platforms. This talk reviews the story of “literature” in the age of digital production with particular attention to the future of literary theory.

This event is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served.

Ink and Electricity is sponsored by the Wayne D. McMurray-Helen Bennett Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Monmouth University, Dr. Kristin Bluemel, professor of English. She can be reached at or 732-571-3622.

Council of Endowed Chairs Fall Lecture

Future generations, wildlife, and natural resources – collectively referred to as “the voiceless” in this presentation – are the most vulnerable and least equipped populations to protect themselves from the impacts of global climate change. This presentation first identifies the common vulnerabilities of the voiceless in the Anthropocene era. It then proposes how the law can evolve to protect their interests more effectively through a stewardship-focused and rights-based system derived from the mandate inherent in the concept of sustainable development.

This presentation, sponsored by the Monmouth University Council of Endowed Chairs, is drawn from Professor Randall S., Abate’s forthcoming book, which will be published by Cambridge University Press in October 2019.