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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BOLTON, FRANCES PAYNE - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BOLTON, FRANCES PAYNE (29 Mar. 1885-9 Mar. 1977), served as Republican congresswoman for 29 years and supported projects in nursing, health, and education. Born in Cleveland to banker-industrialist Chas. W. and Mary Perry Payne Bingham, and educated at HATHAWAY BROWN School and in New York City, in 1904 she began volunteering with the Visiting Nurse Assoc., which sparked her lifelong interest in nursing.

During WORLD WAR I, Bolton persuaded Secretary of War NEWTON D. BAKER† to establish an Army School of Nursing rather than rely on untrained volunteers. Believing that nurses should have college educations as well as nursing training. Bolton funded a school of nursing at Western Reserve University, enabling Western Reserve University to raise the school from a department of the College of Women to a separate college in 1923, which was renamed the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing in June 1935.

In 1907 she married CHESTER CASTLE BOLTON†, and had 4 children, Chas. B., Oliver P., Kenyon C., and Elizabeth. When her husband, a Republican congressman from the 22d district, died in 1939, she served out his term and was elected to the seat in her own right in 1940. During her long tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives, her major interests were nursing and foreign affairs. She sponsored the Bolton Bill creating the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps in WORLD WAR II. As a long-time member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, she was the first woman member of Congress to head an official mission abroad, to the Middle East in 1947. In July 1953, Pres. Eisenhower appointed her a congressional delegate to the U.N. She was defeated for reelection by Chas. Vanik in 1968 and returned to Cleveland. In addition nursing, Bolton also founded the Payne Study & Experiment Fund in 1927 to finance projects benefitting children and donated the land in LYNDHURST for HAWKEN SCHOOL. She died at her home in Lyndhurst and was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.

Loth, David. A Long Way Forward (1957).

Frances Payne Bolton Papers, WRHS.

Last Modified: 23 Sep 2011 12:00:00 AM

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