Consuelo Northrop Bailey
1940 to Today
Woman of many firsts, including first female Lieutenant Governor in the U.S. (1956); first Vermont woman admitted to to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court (1933); first woman State's Attorney in Vermont; and first woman to try (and win) a murder case in Vermont (1929). Elected Vice-Chairman of the Republican State Committee (1934) and Republican National Committeewoman for Vermont (1935), an office which she held for 37 years.
Date of Birth10/19/1899
Date of Death09/09/1976
Consuelo Northrop Bailey was born on the Northrop family farm in Fairfield in 1899. She attended high school in St. Albans and graduated from the University of Vermont in 1921. Bailey later entered Boston University Law School, graduating in 1925.
Bailey was the seventh Vermont woman to be admitted to the Vermont Bar Association. She was the Chittenden County State's Attorney from 1927-1931, making her one of the first elected prosecutors in the country. She was the first woman to try (and win) a murder case in Vermont. She was also the first Vermont woman to be admitted to practice law before the U.S. Supreme Court. As State's Attorney, Bailey was an adamant prohibitionist and recommended heavy sentences for convicted criminals.
Consuelo Bailey served as Chittenden County State Senator for one term before becoming executive secretary for U.S. Senator Ernest W. Gibson in Washington from 1931-1937. Here she met many national political figures, including President Herbert Hoover and New York Governor and presidential candidate Thomas E. Dewey.
In 1934, Bailey was elected Vice-Chairman of the Republican State Committee. From 1936 to 1976, Consuelo Bailey represented Vermont on the Republican National Committee.
In 1941, Consuelo Bailey married fellow lawyer and Republican activist, H. Albon Bailey. Albon Bailey was the first mayor of Winooski after its separation from Colchester in 1923. Together they set up the law firm of Bailey & Bailey in Burlington.
As South Burlington's elected representative to the Vermont Legislature, Bailey ran a tireless grassroots campaign in 1953 that led to her victory in being elected as Speaker of the House.
In 1954 Consuelo Bailey won the election for Lieutenant Governor, making her the first woman in the country to hold this office.
Bailey chose not to run for the governor's seat. After leaving office, she cared for her husband who had Parkinson's disease.
Consuelo Northrup Bailey was involved in many charitable organizations throughout her life. She stayed active in the Republican Party until her death in 1976. At this time, she had finished her autobiography, "Leaves Before the Wind", which was published after her death.
Bailey bequeathed to the Town of Fairfield monies to build The Bent Northrop Memorial Library which opened in 1988.
Bailey also left behind a vast amount of correspondence which is now located at the University of Vermont Special Collections Library. Her papers serve not only as a valuable political record, but also give an extensive account of women's lives during this time through personal correspondence with her mother and sisters.
Throughout Consuelo Northrop Bailey's lifetime, she ran for political office 24 times and won every one.
Organizations or Movements
- Vermont Bar Association
- Republican National Committee
- Calvin Coolidge Foundation
- Vermont Governor's Commission on the Status of Women
- Keep Vermont Beautiful
- Vermont Historic Sites Commission
- Zonta Club
- Vermont League of Women Voters
- Vermont Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs
- Boston University School of Law, 1925