Calling herself "the housewife of the senate," Helen Ring Robinson was Colorado's first female state senator and only the second in the United States. Serving from 1913 to 1917, she worked for social and economic justice as a champion of women, children, and workers' rights and education during a tumultuous time in the country's history. Her commitment to these causes did not end in the senate; she continued to labor first for world peace and then for the American war effort after her term ended. Helen Ring Robinson is the first book to focus on this important figure in the women's suffrage movement and the 1913, 1914, and 1915 sessions of the Colorado General Assembly.
Author Pat Pascoe, herself a former Colorado senator, uses newspapers, legislative materials, Robinson's published writings, and her own expertise as a legislator to craft the only biography of this contradictory and little-known woman. Robinson had complex politics as a suffragist, peace activist, international activist, and strong supporter of the war effort in World War I and a curious personal life with an often long-distance marriage to lawyer Ewing Robinson, yet close relationship with her stepdaughter, Alycon. Pascoe explores both of these worlds, although much of that personal life remains a mystery. This fascinating story will be a worthwhile read to anyone interested in Colorado history, women's history, labor history, or politics.