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Cora Reynolds Anderson

Cora Reynolds Anderson was both the first woman and the first Native American elected to the Michigan House of Representatives (1925–26). In 2001, she was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.

Early life

Anderson was born in L'Anse, Michigan in 1882.[1] She was a member of the La Pointe band of the Chippewa tribe.[2]

She graduated from the L'Anse High School in 1899 and completed her teacher's diploma from Haskell Institute.[3]


She began her career as a teacher at Zeba mission in L'Anse. Deeply concerned about public health, Anderson campaigned in support of Prohibition and against tuberculosis.[3] In 1924, she became the first woman and first Native American to be elected to the Michigan House of Representatives, succeeding Republican Patrick H. O'Brien.[4][3] She represented the Baraga, Iron, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties in the lower house of Michigan legislature and headed its Industrial Home for Girls Committee.[1][5] During her tenure from 1925–26, she was also served on the state house committees for Agriculture, Insurance, and Northern State Normal School.[3]

Death and legacy

Anderson died in 1950.[5]

She was inducted to the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 2001.[5] In Lansing, both the Anderson House Office Building and Cora's Cafe within the Anderson House Buildingare named in her honor.[6][7] A portrait of her created by Joshua Adam Risner was unveiled at the Michigan House Building in December 2016.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Cora Reynolds Anderson was a trailblazer in UP". The Mining Journal. December 13, 2016. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  2. ^ "50 Women Who Made American Political History". Time. Retrieved 2018-03-15.
  3. ^ a b c d e Pietila, Alissa (December 6, 2016). "Michigan House to unveil portrait to honor former UP Representative". WLUC-TV. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  4. ^ "First Michigan Woman Elected to House". The News-Palladium. Benton Harbor, Michigan. November 5, 1924. p. 10. Retrieved November 12, 2017 – via Free to read
  5. ^ a b c "Cora Reynolds Anderson" (PDF). Michigan Women's Hall of Fame. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  6. ^ "Cora's Café Opens in House Office Building; New Restaurant Offers Michigan Products and Advance Training to Blind Entrepreneurs". Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. May 20, 2014. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  7. ^ "November 2, 1924: Cora Reynolds Anderson, First Woman and Only Native American Woman Elected to House | MSU Libraries". Retrieved 2018-03-15.