The photo in this clipping from the Duluth Herald is dated July 10, 1922, and appears in the July 14 issue of the paper. That summer — one hundred years ago — Anna Dickie Oleson of Cloquet was campaigning to represent Minnesota in the United States Senate.
In 1922, at age thirty-six, Olesen ran for and won the endorsement of the state Democratic Convention in Minneapolis for the US Senate seat held by Republican Frank Kellogg, making her the first woman nominated for the body by a major party. Driving a Ford sedan given to her by friends for the purpose, Olesen, sometimes accompanied by her brother and/or daughter, maintained an exhaustive campaign schedule across the state. Some days she would make as many as twelve stops, delivering speeches that earned her comparisons to populist former governor John A. Johnson. In the end, both Olesen and Kellogg fell short to Farmer-Labor candidate Henrik Shipstead. Olesen came in third with just over 120,000 votes.
Olesen was also a survivor of the Fire of 1918 and lobbied President Franklin Roosevelt for aid to its victims.
“Perhaps her single greatest political achievement was helping steer an aid bill through Congress and pressuring Roosevelt to sign it, which he did on August 27, 1935,” MNPedia notes. “In total, $10.8 million would be paid out to fire survivors as a result of the law.”
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