March brings us Women’s History Month and today in particular is International Women’s Day (thanks for reminding us, Google). In honor of these events, we are celebrating an influential congresswomen whose papers we hold in the Special Collections.
Marilyn Lloyd (pictured above) made her mark as a Democratic congresswoman of Tennessee from 1974-1994. Following the tragic death of her husband, who had just won the Democratic nomination to the U.S. House of Representatives, Ms. Lloyd was selected to succeed her husband as the Democratic candidate (despite her lack of experience). She went on to beat the GOP incumbent and would serve her state in Congress for the next 20 years.
During her tenure she served on and chaired many committees, including the Subcommittee on Energy Research and Development (Chair) and the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. She also authored several bills including the Energy Research Development Administration Bill (1976 & 1977) and the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.
During her 20 years in Congress, Representative Lloyd maintained one of the highest voter records and spoke out on many issues important to women, including sexual abuse of women in the military and women’s reproductive rights. After her own struggle with breast cancer, Rep. Lloyd also played a critical role in shedding light on women’s health issues, most notably the need for improvement of mammography standards. She also successfully campaigned to increase breast cancer awareness programs and petitioned the FDA to keep silicone breast implants on the market.
The Special Collections department holds over 120 boxes of materials from Rep. Lloyd’s time in office. The collection includes scrapbooks, press clippings, subject files, district projects, speeches, presidential correspondence, floor information from each Congressional session, files relating to her committee work and miscellaneous other legislative activities.
Our hats are off to Rep. Lloyd!
For further reading, see the House sponsored site Women in Congress for more information about Rep. Lloyd and the official International Women’s Day site for information on IWD-related events worldwide.