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Leonor Kretzer Sullivan (August 21, 1902 – September 1, 1988) was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Missouri. She was a Democrat and the first woman in Congress from Missouri.

Leonor Sullivan
Secretary of the House Democratic Caucus
In office
January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1975
LeaderJohn McCormack
Carl Albert
Preceded byEdna Kelly
Succeeded byPatsy Mink
In office
January 3, 1959 – January 7, 1964
LeaderSam Rayburn
John McCormack
Preceded byEdna Kelly
Succeeded byEdna Kelly
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1977
Preceded byPhil Welch
Succeeded byDick Gephardt
Personal details
Leonor Kretzer

(1902-08-21)August 21, 1902
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
DiedSeptember 1, 1988(1988-09-01) (aged 86)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)John Sullivan (1941–1951)
Russell Archibald (1980–1988)
EducationWashington University


Born Leonor Kretzer in St. Louis, Missouri, three of her grandparents were German immigrants.[1] Sullivan attended Washington University in St. Louis and was a teacher and director at St. Louis Comptometer school. She was married to John B. Sullivan, who served four terms in Congress, and she served as his administrative aide. Following her husband's death in 1951, she served as an aide to Congressman Leonard Irving until she left to run for Congress herself in 1952. She was re-elected eleven times. In Congress, she served for many years as Secretary of the House Democratic Caucus.

Sullivan helped create the food stamp program,[2] which was opposed by Agriculture Secretary Ezra Taft Benson and became law in the 1960s during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

Sullivan was one of very few members of Congress, and the only woman member of Congress, to vote against the Equal Rights Amendment for women in the early 1970s.

She did not seek re-election in 1976, and was succeeded by Dick Gephardt.

In 1979, the Supersisters trading card set was produced and distributed; one of the cards featured Sullivan's name and picture.[3]

The former Wharf Street in front of the Gateway Arch in Downtown St. Louis was renamed Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard in her honor.


"A woman with a woman's viewpoint is of more value when she forgets she's a woman and begins to act like a man."

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "United States Census, 1920", FamilySearch, retrieved March 15, 2018
  2. ^ Taylor, B. Kimberly (2002). "Sullivan, Leonor Kretzer". Women in World History, Vol. 15: Sul-Vica. Waterford, CT: Yorkin Publications. pp. 4–5. ISBN 0-7876-4074-3.
  3. ^ Wulf, Steve (2015-03-23). "Supersisters: Original Roster". Retrieved 2015-06-04.

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Phil Welch
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Dick Gephardt
Preceded by
Edward Garmatz
Chairperson of the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee
Succeeded by
John Murphy
Party political offices
Preceded by
Edna Kelly
Secretary of the House Democratic Caucus
Succeeded by
Edna Kelly
Secretary of the House Democratic Caucus
Succeeded by
Patsy Mink