Nell Chadwick Scott (c.1901-unknown)
"ALASKANS ELECT WOMAN; 'Flying Nell Scott,' Without a Speech, Goes to Legislature" the New York Times proclaimed in November 1936.
The "flying" referred to her abilities as a pilot: even now, many Alaskans must fly because there are no roads in much of the vast state, which is five times bigger than Texas, the biggest continental state. Alaska then was a territory with few roads, and like many other women, Scott flew a plane instead of driving a car. Indeed, even after World War II, experts predicted that all Americans would learn to fly, just as they had learned to drive a generation earlier.
A Democrat, Nell Scott won with the landslide re-election of President Franklin Roosevelt in 1936. Previously a legal secretary, she had worked in Seattle, Washington, before moving to Anchorage. When her husband was appointed a Deputy United States Marshall in 1934, the couple moved to Seldovia, a town southeast of Fairbanks, and it was those voters who elected her. During her campaign, she famously did not make speeches; rather she flew around the area and spoke with people individually. Scott served just one term, leaving the territorial legislature in 1939.
Image credit: Alaska State Library, Trevor M. Davis Photographs Collection, Trevor M. Davis, ASL-P97-0032.