THURSDAY 9/15: Author Talk with Sara Fitzgerald
The League of Women Voters of Falls Church will kick off its 2011-12 program year with an event featuring a new biography of a nationally known female political leader written by one of its members.
The book signing, which will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday September 15 at One More Page Books, 2200 Westmoreland Street, will spotlight “Elly Peterson: ‘Mother’ of the Moderates,” written by Sara Fitzgerald. The event is free and open to the public.
Peterson was a leading figure in moderate Republican politics in the 1960s and 1970s. She was an early leader of the National Women’s Political Caucus, and later served as co-chair, with Liz Carpenter, of ERAmerica, the coalition of organizations, including the League, that worked for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. In 1976, she served as deputy chairman of the Gerald R. Ford’s presidential campaign, at that time the highest professional job a woman had held in a presidential campaign. She was the first woman to chair a state party organization for the Republicans, ran for a U.S. Senate seat from Michigan in 1964, and twice served as assistant chairman of the Republican National Committee.
When Peterson stepped down from the RNC in 1970, the late David S. Broder wrote: “It is, I think, accurate to say that her abilities would have earned her the national chairmanship were it not for the unwritten sex barrier that both parties have erected around that job. Certainly, her organizational talents made her views as respected and her advice as sought-after among her colleagues in the party as anyone in the past decade. . . .”
Fitzgerald, a former editor at The Washington Post, earned a B.A. in history from the University of Michigan and was the first woman to serve as editor-in-chief of The Michigan Daily, the campus newspaper. Her work on the book included personal interviews with Peterson before her death in 2008. Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Haynes Johnson contributed a Foreward to the biography.
By Falls Church Times Staff
July 27, 2011