FELTON, Rebecca Latimer (1835-1930)
Senate Years of Service: 1922-1922

FELTON, REBECCA LATIMER, (wife of William Harrell Felton), a Senator from Georgia; born near Decatur, De Kalb County, Ga., June 10, 1835; attended the common schools and graduated from the Madison Female College in 1852; moved to Bartow County, Ga., in 1854; taught school; writer, lecturer, and reformer with special interest in agricultural and women's issues; served as secretary to her husband while he was a Member of Congress 1875-1881; appointed by the Governor as a Democrat to the United States Senate on October 3, 1922, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Thomas E. Watson, and served from October 3, 1922, to November 22, 1922, a successor having been elected; did not take the oath of office until November 21, 1922, and served just twenty-four hours while the Senate was in session; was not a candidate for election to fill the vacancy; aged 87 at the time of her appointment, is the oldest senator ever sworn in for a first term; the first woman to occupy a seat in the United States Senate; engaged as a writer and lecturer and resided in Cartersville, Ga., until her death in Atlanta, Ga., January 24, 1930; interment in Oak Hill Cemetery, Cartersville, Ga.

Emory University
Robert W. Woodruff Library
Atlanta, GA
Papers: In Medora Field Perkerson papers, 1905-1966 (bulk 1920-1960), and the Georgia Woman's Christian Temperance Union records.

Duke University
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Durham, NC
Papers: Rebecca Latimer Felton letter and William J. Northen pamphlet, 1894, 1899 6-page letter, dated 7 June 1899, from Rebecca Latimer Felton to William J. Northen, Georgia's governor (1890-1894).

University of Georgia
Hargrett Library for Rare Books and Manuscripts
Athens, GA
Papers: 1835-1930. 4,812 items. Letters, speeches, scrapbooks, articles, clippings, accounts, sheet music, and greeting cards chiefly pertaining to Georgia politics, women's rights, the temperance movement, penal reform, education, religion, banking laws, and other national and state affairs. Finding aid.

  • Chamberlin, Hope. "Benefit of the Doubt," A Minority of Members: Women in the U.S. Congress, 19-37. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1973.
  • Feimster, Crystal N. Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009.
  • Felton, Rebecca Latimer. Country Life in Georgia in the Days of My Youth. 1919. Reprint. New York: Arno Press, 1980.
  • ___. My Memoirs of Georgia Politics. Atlanta: Index Printing Co., 1911 (memoirs of William H. Felton, written by Rebecca Felton).
  • "Rebecca Latimer Felton," in Women in Congress, 1917-2006. Prepared under the direction of the Committee on House Administration by the Office of History & Preservation, U.S. House of Representatives. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2006.
  • Floyd, Josephine Bone. "Rebecca Latimer Felton, Champion of Women's Rights.'' Georgia Historical Quarterly 30 (June 1946): 81-104.
  • ___. "Rebecca Latimer Felton, Political Independent.'' Georgia Historical Quarterly 30 (March 1946): 14-34.
  • Hirsch, Eleanor G. "Grandma Felton and the U.S. Senate." Mankind: The Magazine of Popular History 4 (1974): 52-57.
  • Hunter, Joan Conerly. "Rebecca Latimer Felton.'' Master's thesis, University of Georgia, 1944.
  • Mellichamp, Josephine. "Rebecca Latimer Felton.'' In Senators from Georgia, pp. 224-29. Huntsville, AL: Strode Publishers, 1976.
  • Talmadge, John E. "Rebecca Latimer Felton.'' In Georgians in Profile: Historical Essays in Honor of Ellis Merton Coulter, edited by Horace Montgomery, pp. 277-302. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1958.
  • ___. Rebecca Latimer Felton: Nine Stormy Decades. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1960.
  • ___. "Rebecca Latimer Felton, Georgian.'' Georgia Review 9 (Spring 1955): 65-73.
  • ___. "The Seating of the First Woman in the United States Senate.'' Georgia Review 10 (Summer 1956): 168-74.
  • Whites, LeeAnn. "Rebecca Latimer Felton and the Wife's Farm: The Class and Racial Politics of Gender Reform.'' Georgia Historical Quarterly 76 (Summer 1992): 354-72.