Edith Nourse Rogers, Republican Congresswoman from the Fifth District of Massachusetts, was born March 19, 1881 in Saco, Maine. She graduated from Rogers Hall School in Lowell, Massachusetts and Madame Julien's School in Paris, France. In 1907 she married John Jacob Rogers, who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1913 until his death in 1925. During World War I, ENR served in France and England on a special assignment from President Wilson to survey medical care of wounded American soldiers, and was also a Red Cross nurse in France. In 1922, following four additional years of Red Cross work in Walter Reed Hospital, ENR was appointed by President Harding as his personal representative to oversee the care of disabled veterans. She was reappointed to this position by President Coolidge in 1923 and President. Hoover in 1929. ENR again served overseas during World War II, inspecting soldiers' care, under a special assignment from President Roosevelt.
Mrs. Rogers was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives during the 69th Congress, on June 30, 1925, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of her husband. She was re-elected to every successive Congress, and died in office on September 10, 1960. Legislation attributed to ENR includes the improvement of the American Foreign Service; the establishment of the Women's Army Corps (WAC); the enactment of the G.I. Bill of Rights; the enactment of the bill for Korean Veterans Benefits; the establishment of a permanent Nurse Corps for veterans; and many other laws providing aid and assistance to permanently disabled American war veterans.
Although forced to give up her position on the Foreign Affairs Committee upon assuming the Chairmanship of Veterans' Affairs, Mrs. Rogers continued her interest in U.S. foreign policy. She vigorously opposed Vice President Nixon's proposal to intervene in Indochina in 1954 because she fervently believed that, "If America is to strike a blow at Communism, it must be struck at Moscow, the heart of Communism." She was a strong supporter of Senator Joseph McCarthy, and of military predominance, and opposed the admittance of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations; other favorite causes included highway safety, cancer research, and legislation to help Massachusetts' Fifth District.
Congresswoman Rogers received awards and citations from veterans' and other groups, including the American Legion's Distinguished Service Medal. She was the recipient of honorary degrees from Tufts College, Bates College, Staley College, Washington College of Law, and the Lowell Textile Institute.
From the guide to the Papers, 1854, 1881-1961, (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)