Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
MAY, Catherine Dean (1914-2004)

MAY, CATHERINE DEAN, (later Catherine May Bedell), a Representative from Washington; born Catherine Dean Barnes, May 18, 1914, in Yakima, Wash.; graduated from Yakima Valley Junior College, Yakima, Wash., 1934; B.S., University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., 1936; teaching certificate, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., 1937; attended the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Calif., 1939; teacher of English in Chehalis (Wash.) High School, 1937-1940; women's editor and news broadcaster, Takoma, Wash., in 1941 and 1942; head of radio department for a Seattle advertising agency, 1942-1943, and for a Seattle insurance company, 1943-1944; writer and assistant commentator, National Broadcasting Co., New York City 1944-1946; women's editor, station KIT, Yakima, Wash., 1948-1957; office manager and medical secretary, Yakima Medical Center, in 1957 and 1958; president, Bedell Associates; member of the Washington state legislature, 1952-1958; elected as a Republican to the Eighty-sixth and to the five succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1959-January 3, 1971); unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the Ninety-second Congress in 1970; United States International Trade Commission, 1971-1981; Special Consultant to the President on the 50 States Project, 1982; died on May 28, 2004, in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Washington, DC
Oral History: Transcript in the Oral History Collection of the Association of Former Members of Congress.
Restricted. Sound recording in the Library's Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.


The Pennsylvania State University
Special Collections, Paterno Library
University Park, PA
Oral History: In "A Few Good Women" Oral History Collection, ca. 1997-1998, 2 folders.
In the interview with Catherine Bedell, she begins by describing her youth in rural Washington, her background in broadcasting, and her involvement in local Republican politics leading to her election to the state legislature. After four years, she ran for and was elected to Congress, a first for the state of Washington. She discusses her women colleagues in the House, their bipartisan efforts to advance women's issues, and her realization that many issues, like hydroelectric power damsa critical issue for her districthad aspects that were critical to women. In the Nixon administration she was appointed chairman of the Tariff Commission, which later became the International Trade Commission. She discusses the role of Barbara Franklin and believes she played an important role and accomplished a great deal. She reflects on her family background, her strong grandmother and her mother's encouragement, but also teachers and legislative leaders as mentors. She also discusses her experiences with Senators Jackson and Magnusson, the four presidents she worked with, and her work on corporate boards.


Washington State University
Pullman, WA
Papers: 1959-1970, 275 linear feet.
The papers include correspondence, notes, memoranda, radio broadcasts, clippings, photographs, and other papers relating to Catherine May's congressional service. Subjects covered in the collection include the Fourth District (which Catherine May represented), the Republican Party, the House Agriculture Committee, the National Commission on Flood Marketing, the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, schools, and academy appointments. A finding aid for the papers is in the repository and online.

Oral History: 1979, 236 pages.
An interview of Catherine May by Fern S. Ingersoll conducted in March 1979.

Papers: In the Washington-Oregon Canning Pear Association Records, 1953-1974, 2.5 linear feet.
Correspondents include Representative Catherine May.

  • "Catherine Dean May" 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: Government Printing Office, 2006.
  • Hagne, Elizabeth Anne. "A Congresswoman and Her Constituency: Catherine May and the Fourth Congressional District of Washington." M.A. thesis, Washington State University, 1968.
  • Pidcock, Patricia Graham. "Catherine May: A Political Biography." Ph.D. diss., Washington State University, 1992.
  • Washington State Library. Catherine May: An Indexed Register of Her Congressional Papers 1959-1970 in the Washington State Library. Pullman: Washington State University, 1972.