Millicent Hammond Fenwick
(February 25, 1910 – September 16, 1992) was an American fashion editor, politician and diplomat. A four-term Republican member of the
House of Representatives from New Jersey, she entered politics late in life and was renowned
for her energy, colorful enthusiasm and for being that rare thing,
a female pipe-tobacco
She was regarded as a moderate and progressive
within her party and was outspoken in favor of civil rights
and the women's
Millicent Vernon Hammond, she was the middle of
three children born to renowned politician and later Ambassador to Spain,
Ogden Haggerty Hammond (October 13,
1869 – October 29, 1956) of Louisville, Kentucky and his first wife, Mary Picton Stevens (May 16,
1885 – May 7, 1915) of Hoboken, New Jersey. Her paternal grandparents were General John
Henry Hammond (June 30, 1833 – April 30, 1890), who served as chief
of staff for William Tecumseh
Sherman during the Vicksburg Campaign, and Sophia Vernon Wolfe (1842 – May 20, 1923),
daughter of Nathaniel Wolfe, a lawyer and legislator from
Louisville. Her maternal grandparents were John Stevens
(July 1856 – January 21, 1895), oldest son of Stevens
Institute of Technology founder Edwin
Augustus Stevens and grandson of inventor John Stevens, and Mary Marshall
McGuire (May 4, 1850 – May 2, 1905).
She had a sister, Mary Stevens Hammond, and a brother, Ogden H.
Jr. When Millicent was five, her mother died in the sinking of the
British ocean liner RMS Lusitania, which her father survived.
remarried Marguerite McClure Howland two years later and by that
marriage Fenwick had a stepbrother, McClure (Mac) Howland.
comfortable circumstances in Bernardsville, New Jersey, she attended the exclusive Nightingale-Bamford School in
nearby Manhattan, and college at Columbia University and the New School for Social
She married and divorced, and worked for
fourteen years as an editor at Vogue
, with a wardrobe and style to
match the position.
In 1931 Millicent Hammond got to know Hugh McLeod Fenwick (February
17, 1905 – July 24, 1991), who was already married to the former
Dorothy Ledyard, daughter of New York attorney Lewis Cass Ledyard.
He divorced his wife to marry Millicent on June 11, 1932. They had
two children, Mary Stevens Fenwick (born February 25, 1934) and
Hugh Hammond Fenwick (born January 28, 1937), but separated a few
years later and were divorced in 1945. Hugh Fenwick remarried while
Millicent Fenwick did not.
In the 1950s, Fenwick became involved in politics via the Civil Rights Movement
. Often described
as being blessed with exceptional intelligence, striking good
looks, and a keen wit, she rose rapidly in the ranks of the
Republican Party. She was elected to the Bernardsville Borough
Council in 1957, serving until 1964, and around the same time was
appointed to the New Jersey Committee of the United States
Commission on Civil Rights
, on which she served from 1958 to
1974. She was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly
1969, serving from 1970 to 1973, when she left the Legislature to
become director of New Jersey Division of
Elected to Congress from New Jersey in 1974 at age sixty-four,
Fenwick became a media darling during her four terms in the House
of Representatives. Television
commentator Walter Cronkite
her "the conscience of Congress
." She was known for her
opposition to corruption by both parties and special interest
groups. She was one of the most liberal Republicans in the House.
Fenwick was also instrumental in establishing the Commission on
Security and Cooperation in Europe
(CSCE), which oversaw the
implementation of the Helsinki
, which covered relations between states and human
rights across Europe.
Once, when a conservative male congressman attacked a piece of
equal rights legislation by saying, "I’ve always thought of women
as kissable, cuddly, and smelling good," Fenwick responded, "That’s
what I’ve always thought about men, and I hope for your sake that
you haven’t been disappointed as many times as I’ve been." In 1982,
she ran for a U.S. Senate
seat, defeated conservative Jeffrey Bell
Republican primary, but then narrowly lost the general election
to liberal Democratic businessman Frank
. He had used Fenwick's age at the time - she was 72
- as part of an attack upon her fitness to serve as a U.S. Senator,
and this was credited as a large part of the reason why Lautenberg
won the election.
leaving the House of Representatives following the 1982 election,
Fenwick was appointed by President Ronald
Reagan as the United States representative, with rank of
ambassador, to the United Nations Agencies for
Food and Agriculture in Rome, Italy.
held this position from June 1983 to March 1987, when she retired
from public life at the age of 77. Fenwick died in her home town of
Bernardsville on September 16, 1992.
Fenwick is considered by some to be the model for the character of
in Garry Trudeau
's comic strip Doonesbury
, although Trudeau's Lacey was not
modeled on anyone in particular, according to Trudeau.
- 1974,1976,1978,1980 Races for U.S.
- 1982 Race for U.S. Senate
- Ogden H. Hammond, The Lusitania Resource.
Accessed August 9, 2008.
- Mary Stevens Hammond, The Lusitania Resource.
Accessed August 9, 2008.
- Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Lake
Region (1905), p. 5.
- "Mrs. Sophia Hammond Dies In Paris".
The New York Times. May 21, 1923.
Accessed August 9, 2008.
- The Cox Family in America (1912), p.
- "John Stevens". The New York
Times. January 22, 1895. Accessed August 9, 2008.
- "Mrs. Mary M. Stevens Hyde". The New York
Times. May 3, 1905. Accessed August 9, 2008.
- Shapiro, Amy. Millicent Fenwick: Her Way (2003).
- Lambert, Bruce. "Millicent Fenwick, 82, Dies; Gave Character to
Congress", The New York Times. September 17,
1992. Accessed October 18, 2007.
- Chiasmus.com quote of the week mailing list archive for
February 21–27 2004, accessed April 22, 2007]
- United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture
- Doonesbury FAQ
Shapiro, Amy. Millicent Fenwick: Her Way