Pre-Hillary Women Candidates for POTUS
By Tiana Putric
But Secretary Clinton certainly wasn’t the first woman to make a run for the White House. Dozens of women prior to Clinton have run for the U.S. Presidency, mostly not serious contenders but rather working to break barriers for women, seeking the public platform to advance themselves, their ideas and their beliefs.
Meet Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to be nominated for President of the United States, and five female Presidential candidates whose names appeared on official voters’ ballots – from vintage Belva to once-chart-topping Linda to rare Lenora. Then check out the long, but not exhaustive, list of other women who ran for America’s highest office.
Even though historians debate whether or not Victoria Woodhull’s name actually appeared on the ballot, she was the first female ever nominated for U.S. President. Woodhull advocated for women’s suffrage and equal rights and also, together with her sister, Tennessee Celeste Claflin, aka Tennie C., launched the first ever female-run stock brokerage firm on Wall Street. Woodhull had two children: Byron and Zulu ‘Zula’ Maud(e).The Roman goddess of victory, Victoria joins other popular Roman goddess names Diana, Flora, Luna, and Juno. Also a saint and a British royal appellation, Victoria has ranked on the U.S. Top 1000 every year since at least 1880 and is currently Number 19 in the U.S. and ranks within the Top 50 in Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Mexico, and Norway. Nicknames for the timeless Victoria include the tried and true Vicki and Tori and the less common Ria, Toria, Vika, Vivi, and Plum via the fruit Victoria plum.
Belva Lockwood’s bid for the presidency was long before women gained the right to vote. She was passionate about equality for women, including their right to equal pay. But obviously those who voted for Lockwood must have been men since women did not yet have the franchise.
Belva is an old-world appellation that originated from the Italian ‘belvedere’, meaning ‘beautiful view’. Belva, last seen on the U.S. Top 1000 in 1953, may appeal to those who fancy names that contain the trendy letter ‘v’ and a more distinctive alternative to Belle and Bella.
Linda Osteen Jenness – Candidate in 1972, Socialist Workers Party
Although constitutionally too young to be President, Linda Jenness won her party’s nomination and used her candidacy to bring attention to the women’s liberation movement and to oppose the Vietnam War.
Onetime chart-topping Linda has ranked on the U.S. Top 1000 every year since it first appeared on the list in 1880, hitting first place in 1941. Related to the sacred and magical linden tree, Linda means ‘soft and tender’ in German and ‘beautiful’ in Portuguese and Spanish. Currently trending in Austria, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland, Linda has many nicknames: Lin or Lynne, Linnie, and Lynna, Modern takes could include the surname Lind, the spunky Lindy, and the rare Linza.
A Hebrew variation of Gabriela/Gabrielle, Gavrielle and Gavriella are lovely female appellations rich with nickname possibilities: Ava, Ella, Elle, Ellie, and Gavi and more boyish diminutives Avi and Gav. The versatile Gavrielle embraces the trendy ‘av’ and ‘elle’ sounds so prominent in today’s U.S. Top 100. The rarely heard Rielle, a usable name in itself, could make for a newer version of Gavrielle.
Sonia, meaning ‘wisdom’ in Greek and ‘golden’ in Sanskrit, is a variation of one of today’s most popular names – Sophia. This elegant appellation reached a high of Number 165 in 1976 in the US and is a much-loved name in Russia, France, Poland, and the U.K. Sonia embodies the trendy minimalist name Nia, which has ranked in the Top 1000 for 24 consecutive years, and has the unisex nickname name Sonny. Sonia has many spelling variations: Sonea, Sonja, and Sonya.
Lenora Fulani not only won her party’s nomination, but she was the first female and first African-American to appear on the ballot in all 50 states. Fulani fought against America’s two-party political system.
The pretty name Lenora, meaning ‘bright and shining one’, is derived from the vintage classics Eleanor, Eleanora, and Leonora and joins other female appellations with bright meanings like Aurora, Clara, Lux, and Phaedra. While Lenora was an extremely popular name in the past – appearing on the Top 1000 every year from 1880 to 1975 – only 134 girls were given the name in 2014. Elanor, Elnora, and Lorena are anagrams of Lenora and nicknames include Lena and Nora, the rising-in-popularity Leni, and the short and simple vintage Ora.
And now here are the names of some other women who ran for the White House – Democrats, some Republicans, and some third-party candidates.
Deirdre Griswold—a third-party candidate in 1980, representing the communist Workers World Party
Willa Kenoyer—Socialist Party candidate in 1988
Gloria LaRiva—Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate in 2008 and 2016
Isabell Masters—Looking Back Party candidate in 1984, 1992, 1996, 2004—most presidential campaigns for any woman in US history