Meyner, Helen Stevenson, 1929-1997

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Helen Day Stevenson Meyner (March 5, 1929 – November 2, 1997), was an American politician. A member of the Democratic Party, she served as a U.S. Representative from New Jersey from 1975 to 1979.

Born Helen Day Stevenson in Queens, New York, she graduated from Rosemary Hall High School in Greenwich, Connecticut, in 1946 before earning her bachelor’s degree from Colorado College in 1950. Immediately following graduation, Stevenson served as a field worker for the Red Cross in Korea from 1950 to 1952 and then as a tour guide at the United Nations. From 1953 to 1956, she was hired by a major airline to travel around the globe on a promotional tour under the name Mary Gordon. In 1956 Stevenson volunteered for the presidential campaign for her mother’s distant cousin, Adlai Stevenson. During the campaign, she met New Jersey Governor Robert Meyner, and they married in 1957. After Robert Meyner left office in 1962, Helen Meyner began writing a twice-weekly column for the Newark Star-Ledger, which she continued until 1969. She also hosted a New York–New Jersey television interview program from 1965 to 1968. Beginning in 1971, Meyner was appointed to the New Jersey rehabilitation commission.

After losing an initial bid for the U.S. House in 1972, Meyner benefitted from the Watergate scandal two years later, winning by thirteen points. During her two terms in the House, Meyner actively promoted women’s rights and their increased involvement in politics and developed a reputation as an even-tempered, thoughtful, and effective legislator. She served as an active member of the newly founded Congresswomen’s Caucus. She won a second term in the 1976 elections in a close race against William E. Schluter, but lost her bid for a third term in 1978 to Republican James A. Courter.

After leaving Congress, Meyner returned to Princeton, New Jersey, where she again worked for the state rehabilitation commission. She also served on the boards of several major corporations, where she developed a reputation for pushing women’s equality in corporate management. After her husband’s death in 1990, she moved to Captiva Island, Florida. Meyner subsequently oversaw the establishment of the Robert B. Meyner and Helen S. Meyner Center for the Study of State and Local Government at her husband’s alma mater, Lafayette College, in Easton, Pennsylvania. Helen Meyner died on November 2, 1997, in Captiva Island.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Meyner, Helen. Correspondence with Marian Anderson, 1977. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Candidates for public office campaign materials, 1966-1976 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers, 1917-1995 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Meyner, Helen Stevenson, 1929-. Robert B. and Helen Stevenson Meyner papers, 1910-1990, bulk 1930-1978. Lafayette College
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
employeeOf American Red Cross corporateBody
almaMaterOf Colorado College corporateBody
correspondedWith Marietta Tree person
spouseOf Meyner, Robert B. person
child-in-law of Meyner, Sophia Mary Baumle, 1881-1968. person
relativeOf Stevenson, Adlai E. (Adlai Ewing), 1900-1965. person
childOf Stevenson, Eleanor Bumstead, 1902-1987. person
childOf Stevenson, William Edwards, 1900-1985. person
memberOf United States. Congress. House. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Fort Myers FL US
Phillipsburg NJ US
New York City NY US
Greenwich CT US
Captiva Island FL US
Easton PA US
Princeton NJ US
Trenton NJ US
Colorado Springs CO US
Subject
Advertising
Advertising
Environmental protection
Korean War, 1950-1953
Legislators
Military bases
Patronage, Political
Radio in politics
Women legislators
Occupation
Governors' spouses
Journalists
Nurses
Representatives, U.S. Congress
Activity

Person

Birth 1929-03-05

Death 1997-11-02

Female

Americans

English

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