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Jewesses with Attitude

Florence Kahn Portrait Unveiled at the Capitol

As a student at Wellesley College, I'd gotten used to seeing portraits of powerful women displayed on the walls of the library and in academic buildings.

As we know, though, most portrait-adorned walls are occupied by portraits of powerful men, so I was pleased to learn that earlier this week, in commemoration of Jewish American Heritage Month, Nancy Pelosi helped unveil a U.S. Capitol portrait of the first Jewish woman to serve in Congress. "Who's that?" you ask. That would be Florence Kahn, a Republican who represented California's Fourth District from 1925-1937, winning a special election after her husband Julius died in office, and was the seventh woman to serve in Congress. In addition to being the first female member of Appropriations, Kahn also was the first woman to serve on the Military Affairs -- now Armed Services -- committee.

Learn more about Florence Kahn and other Jewish women in American politics in JWA's "Jewish Women in Politics" feature.

How to cite this page

Namerow, Jordan. "Florence Kahn Portrait Unveiled at the Capitol." 22 May 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on October 27, 2016) <>.


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