Priest, Ivy Baker, 1905-1975

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Priest was born and grew up in Utah and was active in the Republican Party there. In 1953 she was appointed Treasurer of the United States.

From the description of Papers, 1945-1955 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 232007508

Ivy Baker Priest was born on September 7, 1905 in Kimberley, Utah. She became active in politics in the early 1930s, and joined the Young Republicans. Although she repeatedly won leadership positions in the Republican Party, she was defeated in a 1934 race for the Utah state legislature. Shortly after the legislative race, she was elected to a two-year term as co-chairman of the Young Republican organization for the eleven western states, from 1934 to 1936. From 1937 to 1939, Priest served as the president of the women's Utah Legislative Council and helped to formulate a minimum-wage law for workingwomen. She also served as the Republican committeewoman from Davis County and as a member of the Utah Central Committee. In 1944, she was chosen as the Republican national committeewoman from Utah, a post she held until 1953. In 1946, she became vice chairman of the Western Conference of Republican party leaders of the eleven Western states. In 1948, Priest attended the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia as a delegate of the National Committee on Women from Utah. In 1952 she was one of the leaders of a Republican faction known as the "Young Turks," party members who were working for the selection of Dwight D. Eisenhower as the Republican presidential nominee. After Eisenhower received the nomination, Priest was appointed as the assistant chairman in charge of the women's division of the Republican National Committee. President Eisenhower appointed Priest as Treasurer of the United States, the second woman to hold this position. She used her position to foster Eisenhower administration programs, political candidates, and other civic causes, including some for which she had been a long-time worker and supporter: the American Red Cross, the Utah and National Safety Councils, and the National Society for Crippled Children and Adults. She retired from federal service in 1961 and moved to California. In 1966 she won her first elected office, Treasurer of California. She was the first woman to serve in this position, and she served two four-year terms in Governor Ronald Reagan's administration. In 1968 she became the first woman to nominate a candidate for U.S. president for a major political party when she placed Governor Reagan's name before the Republican National Convention. In 1974 she declined to run for a third term as state treasurer due to poor health. She died on June 23, 1975 in Santa Monica, California.

From the description of Priest, Ivy Baker, 1905-1975 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10610507

Ivy Maude Baker was born to a Utah mining family in Kimberly on September 7, 1905. From Kimberly the family moved to Coalville, Utah and finally, in 1911, to Bingham Canyon and the copper mines. Mrs. Clara Fernley Baker, an English emigrant, was active in local political affairs. It was through her mother that the young Ivy became interested in politics.

Educated in the Utah public school system, Ivy went to grammar school in Bingham, and graduated from Jordan High School in 1924. She had no further formal schooling although she later took some extension courses through the University of Utah. After her appointment as U. S. Treasurer Ivy received honorary doctorate degrees from Elmira College in New York, Rider College in New Jersey and Bryant College in Rhode Island.

After her marriage to Harry Howard Hicks on July 31, 1924, she went to North Carolina, his native state. Separated after four years, Ivy returned to Utah where she later learned Harry had been killed in an airplane crash.

With the onset of the depression and her father's mine-related illness, Ivy helped support the family. Working as a telephone operator she was gradually advanced to a supervisor. Later she worked for Auerbachs as a model and a merchandiser. It was during these depression years she also taught citizenship night-school classes for emigrants.

At the urging of her mother, a force to be reckoned with in the local Republican party, Ivy became actively involved in politics. She ran for a seat in the Utah State House of Representatives in 1934. The campaign was unsuccessful, however, she was elected to be the co-chairman of the Young Republican Organization for eleven western states for a two-year term.

Roy Fletcher Priest and Ivy Baker were married for twenty-four years, from December 1935 until his death in 1959. Shortly after their marriage they settled in Bountiful, Utah, where Ivy continued her activities on behalf of the Republican party. Moving through the grass-roots establishment while raising their three children, Ivy was finally elected as Utah Representative to the Republican National Committee. She served in this capacity from 1944 to 1953.

In 1950 Ivy ran for a seat in the U. S. House of Representatives against incumbent Reva Beck Bosone. The campaign never disintegrated into the predicted "cat-fight," nor was the spectre of communism raised. As the only national campaign between two women, the election received wide-spread publicity. Ivy Baker Priest was defeated but had gained national attention. As an Eisenhower supporter early in the campaign, Ivy was appointed to by the Assistant Chairman of the 1952 Eisenhower Committee in charge of the Women's Division. Following the successful campaign President Eisenhower nominated Priest for the position of U. S. Treasurer. Her appointment was confirmed and she took office on January 28, 1953. During her eight years as Treasurer, Ivy spent much of her time on speaking tours to promote Savings Bond sales or discuss finances and the Treasury.

With the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960, Ivy resigned her position and returned to private life. Both daughters were living in California at that time, and Ivy returned to the West to take up residence in California. On June 20, 1961 Ivy married Sidney William Stevens, a prominant realtor.

Defeating incumbent Democratic State Treasurer, Bert Battes, in 1966 Ivy became the first woman elected to a California high constitutional office. She was re-elected to a second term by a 1.2 million vote margin in 1970.

The death of her son Roy in a boating accident in May of 1971 and the loss of her husband, Sidney, less than a year later combined with the discovery that she was suffering from cancer caused Ivy to retire without seeking a third term as State Treasurer in 1974.

At her death in June of 1975 she was remembered not only for her political activities, but also her lifetime of public service. She was involved in the National Safety Council and the National Society for Crippled Children and Adults as well as local California chapters of these groups. Ivy belonged to the Business and Professional Women's Club, the Women's Advertising Club of Washington, Beta Sigma Phi, and Delta Zeta. As a member of the Soroptomist Club she once received the national association's Women's Achievement Award. The Women's National Press Club also presented her with an Achievement Award. She also received the nomination of the Women's Newspaper Editors and Publishers Association for one of America's twenty most outstanding women.

From the guide to the Ivy Baker Priest papers, 1889-1975, (J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Ivy Baker Priest photograph collection, 1920-1975 J. Willard Marriott Library. University of Utah Photograph Archives
referencedIn Bosone, Reva Beck, 1895-. Papers, 1927-1977. University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library
creatorOf Serrano, John,. [Collection of briefs, pleadings, memoranda and other documents from defendant's attorneys in Serrano v. Priest case]. University of California, Los Angeles
referencedIn Frank A. Armstrong Jr. Papers, 1927-1969, 1999, 2001 East Carolina University. J.Y. Joyner Library
referencedIn United States. Department of the Treasury. Photographs of U.S. Presidents, Department Officials and Personalities, and Facilities, 1949-1995 National Archives at College Park
creatorOf Serrano, John,. [Collection of depositions taken on behalf of plaintiffs in Serrano v. Priest case]. University of California, Los Angeles
creatorOf Serrano, John,. [Collection of briefs, pleadings, memoranda and other documents from plaintiff's attorneys in Serrano v. Priest case]. University of California, Los Angeles
referencedIn Papers, 1922-1963 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Priest, Ivy Baker, 1905-1975. Papers, 1889-1975. University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library
creatorOf Ivy Baker Priest Papers. 1953 - 1961. Personal Files Dwight D. Eisenhower Library
referencedIn Reva Beck Bosone papers, 1927-1977 J. Willard Marriott Library. University of Utah Manuscripts Division
creatorOf Serrano, John,. [Collection of newspaper articles and radio and television news transcripts regarding Serrano v. Priest case ruling]. University of California, Los Angeles
referencedIn Weis, Jessica McCullough, 1901-1963. Papers, 1922-1963 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Priest, Ivy Baker, 1905-1975. Papers, 1945-1955 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Ivy Baker Priest papers, 1889-1975 J. Willard Marriott Library. University of Utah Manuscripts Division
creatorOf Serrano, John,. [Collection of amici curiae briefs filed in Serrano v. Priest case]. University of California, Los Angeles
referencedIn Bosone, Reva Beck, 1895- . Papers, 1927-1977. Landmarks of Science Microform Service
referencedIn USU student folklore genre collection of character legends, 1960-2011 Utah State University. Merrill-Cazier Library. Special Collections and Archives.Fife Folklore Archives
Ivy Baker Priest Papers Dwight D. Eisenhower Library
creatorOf Serrano, John,. [Collection of internal memos and documents regarding Serrano v. Priest case]. University of California, Los Angeles
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Armstrong, Frank A. (Frank Alton), 1902-1969. person
associatedWith Baker, Orange Decatur, 1876-1934. person
associatedWith Bosone, Reva Beck person
associatedWith Bosone, Reva Beck, 1895- . person
associatedWith Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969. person
associatedWith Fife Folklore Archives corporateBody
associatedWith Jessica Weis, 1901-1963 person
associatedWith Serrano, John, person
associatedWith United States. Dept. of the Treasury. corporateBody
associatedWith Weis, Jessica McCullough, 1901-1963. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Utah
Subject
Women
Women
Women
Women in politics
Political campaigns
Diaries
Government, Law and Politics
Material Types
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1905-09-07

Death 1975-06-23

Americans

English

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