Sylvia Allen Beckman Wright Warner

Sylvia Wright. Seated on the right. Courtesy the Vermont Historical Society
Sylvia Wright. Seated on the right. Courtesy the Vermont Historical Society

Time Period

1820-1860

Subject Categories

Government / Politics, Writers

Notable Facts

An educational advocate who was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives twice from the town of Rupert. Became an employee of the Central Intelligence Agency as an Information and Editorial Specialist and an Intelligence Officer.

Personal Information

Date of Birth

05/11/1911

Primary Residence

Rupert

Historical Significance

Sylvia Allen Beckman Wright Warner was an educational advocate who was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives twice from the town of Rupert. After moving to Washington, D.C., she became an employee of the Central Intelligence Agency where she was an Information and Editorial Specialist and an Intelligence Officer.

Sylvia Wright was born in Naperville, Illinois, to Bernard and May Beckman. She graduated from Wells College in Aurora, New York in 1933 and attended the London School of Economics in 1933-1934. In 1951, she was elected to the honor society, Phi Beta Kappa. After returning to the United States, she married Norman Wright in 1935 and they settled on a farm in Rupert, Vermont in 1940. Norman was one of the founders of the Southern Vermont Art Center in Manchester, Vermont and Sylvia Wright worked there as a clerk. Wright was active in her local community and was particularly interested in public education and child welfare. She was the legislative liaison for the Vermont Congress of Parents and Teachers, the Vermont League of Women Voters, the Vermont Federation of Women's Clubs, and the Vermont Conference of Social Welfare. She was regional vice-president of the National Council on State Legislation and was a member of the Vermont Joint Legislative Council. Wright was also on Governor Mortimer Proctor's Art Advisory Committee from 1946-1947, which was given the task of assessing the state's art collection.

In 1944, Wright used her lobbying experience to run for office. She was elected as the Rupert Town Representative for the Vermont House of Representatives and was re-elected two years later. While in office, she was the Clerk of the House Committee on Institutions, a member of the Public Welfare Survey Committee, Chair of the House Committee on Education and was selected to serve on a pre-inauguration advisory committee for Ernest Gibson to study education in Vermont. She wrote a weekly column about her legislative activities for the Granville (New York) Sentinel about the Rupert district. Wright resigned from office in June of 1947, and was asked to be a member of the State Board of Education, but declined the offer. She and her husband were divorced later that summer. The following year she moved to the Washington, D.C. area and then married Robert Warner in 1950. Warner had been the Dorset Representative to the Vermont Legislature for the 1943 and 1947 sessions. From 1949 to at least 1955, Wright worked at the Central Intelligence Agency, first as an Information and Editorial Specialist and then an Intelligence Officer. It is unknown how long Wright was employed with the CIA. She was widowed in 1991 and lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Organizations or Movements

  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Southern Vermont Art Center
  • Art Advisory Committee
  • Vermont Congress of Parents and Teachers
  • The Vermont League of Women Voters
  • The Vermont Federation of Women's Clubs
  • Vermont Conference of Social Welfare
  • Vermont Joint Legislative Council
  • House Committee on Institutions
  • Public Welfare Survey Committee
  • National Council on State Legislation
  • House Committee on Education.

Occupations

  • Clerk, Southern Vermont Art Center
  • Regional vice-president of the National Council on State Legislation
  • Rupert Town Representative to the Vermont House of Representatives
  • Central Intelligence Agency: Information and Editorial Specialist and Intelligence Officer
  • Wrote a weekly newspaper column.

Education

  • Wells College, Aurora, New York, (1933)
  • London School of Economics (1933-1934).

Additional Information (Bibliography)

  • The Papers of Sylvia Wright Warner of Rupert Link

  • Vermont Historical Society Finding Aid Link