More than 60 years ago, in 1948, Reva Beck Bosone became the first woman elected to the United States Congress from Utah.
Born in American Fork to Presbyterian parents, Reva Beck graduated from the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute (now Westminster College), and went on to earn a bachelors degree from the University of California at Berkley and a law degree from the University of Utah. While she was in law school, she met and married Joseph Bosone, a fellow student from Helper.
After finishing law school, the Bosones moved to Carbon County where they opened a joint law practice. Reva immediately jumped into politics, campaigning for a seat in the state house of representatives which she handily won. While a member of the Utah legislature, Bosone helped pass a badly needed minimum wage and hours law for women and children. Over time, she won the respect of her legislative colleagues, and was eventually named the Democratic Party’s majority floor leader.
After serving in the legislature for several years, Bosone was voted in as a Salt Lake City judge. But her political ambitions extended to national office, and she was elected to Congress in 1948, thanks in part to a visit to Utah by then-President Harry Truman. During her time in the House of Representatives she became heavily involved in water reclamation projects, American Indian policy, and women’s rights issues. Years after she retired from the House, she was brought back into politics one last time by John F. Kennedy who named her judicial officer of the US Post Office Department.
Reva Beck Bosone died in 1983.
Content for this episode of the Beehive Archive was provided by the Utah State Historical Society, a program of Utah State History. Sources consulted in the creation of the Beehive Archive and past episodes may be found at www.utahhumanities.org/BeehiveArchive.htm.