Texas Day by Day
On this day in Texas history…
First woman elected to state legislature dies
March 21st, 1966
On this day in 1966, Edith Wilmans, who in 1922 became the first woman elected to the Texas legislature, died in Dallas. Wilmans, born in Louisiana in 1882, moved to Dallas at an early age. She helped organize the Dallas Equal Suffrage Association and was president of the Democratic Women's Association of Texas. To learn more about the legal problems involved in improving the status of women and children, she studied law and in 1918 was admitted to the bar. She served only one term in the legislature, and in 1924 and 1926 she ran unsuccessfully for governor. In 1925 Governor Pat M. Neff appointed her to the All-Woman Supreme Court, but she was disqualified from serving because she lacked by a few months the required seven years' experience in the practice of law. She ran for the legislature again in 1935 but was defeated. She also ran for congress in 1948 and again in a 1951 special election but lost both races.