Cora Louise Boehringer

General Information

C. Louise Boehringer
Female
September, 1874
Morrison, Whiteside Co., IL, USA
September 11, 1956
Seattle, King Co., WA, USA
Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park, Seattle, King Co., Washington, plot: section 15

Biographical Information

The following is from Jo Conners' Who's Who in Arizona (Tucson, AZ:  Jo Conners, 1913), pp. 617-619:

Miss C. Louise Boehringer, Superintendent of Schools in Yuma County, the only woman Superintendent in Arizona, who is well known as an educator in several States, was born thirty-five years ago in Morrison, Illinois.  Her parents, Jacob and Louise Greenawald Boehringer, came to America shortly after the close of the Civil War.  They removed to St. Louis when she was four years old, where she entered the kindergarten at the age of five, and there acquired her first knowledge of the English language.  She later attended the public schools, but as the family returned to Illinois when she was about ten, her education was completed in that State.  Having been graduated from the High School she took a two years' course at the State Normal, at Normal, Illinois, then a critic course at the DeKalb Normal, from which she received her diploma in 1902.  Meanwhile, however, she had teaching experience in the rural and grade schools, and has since held various positions of responsibility.  She was Director of Normal Department, Genessee, Illinois, from 1903 to 1905, and in charge of the Training School of the State Norman at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, for one year.  While in the latter position the new Normal at Springfield, Missouri, was opened, and Miss Boehringer was asked to organize and superintend the Training School, which position she accepted and filled for five years.  The following year she spent in study in New York City, and in 1911 received a diploma in supervision from Teachers' College, New York, and the B. S. degree from Columbia University.  The next year she was Superintendent of the Springfield, Illinois Training School for Teachers, and resigned this position to spend the following year with her family in Yuma.  Miss Boehringer has been recognized as an authority in the matter of courses of study for children for six years by the Missouri State Department, and is author of the work in literature, language and nature study in the Missouri State Course of Study for Rural and Village Schools.  She has been an active club worker and member of the most progressive clubs in the various communities in which she has lived, and now holds membership in the Ocotillo and Commercial Clubs of Yuma, the only woman member of the latter; Woman Suffrage League and Woman's Trade Union League, Springfield, Illinois; The Helmet Club, composed of women selected for scholarship and personality, Teachers' College, Columbia University, and at their banquet, held during the Superintendents' meeting in St. Louis in 1911, was one their speakers.  She has also been an active member of the N. E. A. since 1908, and usually attends the Superintendents' meetings in mid-winter.  Miss Boehringer has always been interested in rural life and its problems, and five years ago purchased a small ranch near Yuma; here she spent a part of each year, and during the past year made her home.  She first became identified with educational work in the county by teaching in the rural schools and speaking before the county institutes.  When the present recall election was first discussed, Miss Boehringer was approached by several and asked to become a candidate for the office of County Superintendent.  She consented and was the first woman candidate in the field, but later three other women announced their candidacy, and the campaign was an intense one.  The general feeling was that a woman should fill the position, because it deals largely with young women, many of whom are far away from home, and because this was the first opportunity to recognize woman in an elective position since Arizona granted suffrage to its woman.  Miss Boehringer, whose unusual qualifications for the position had been recognized, was a popular candidate from the beginning, and was elected by a surprising majority.  Since her election the feeling displayed toward her has been the most cordial, even by those who voted for her opponents, and many have assured her of their interest and support for the welfare of the schools.  she has high ideals and standards for the schools, which are substantiated by her valuable experience in other pioneer situations.  It is her aim to raise the office of County Superintendent from one that is largely clerical to one that will do constructive work for the schools of Yuma County, and so great has she been in office, no doubt is felt that her strong personality, wide experience and exceptional ability will enable her to thoroughly develop her ideals, to the great benefit of Yuma County schools.

The following is from the Arizona Women's Hall of Fame biography:

C. Louise Boehringer became the first female elected to the position of School Superintendent in Yuma County in 1913, a position which she held until 1917.  She was recognized as an authority in the area of children’s courses of study and in 1917 she bought and became editor of the Arizona Teacher Magazine, a teaching journal that she published ten times a year.  For many years this was the only vehicle that unified the far-flung schools of the state and provided a forum for teachers and the Arizona Education Association.  She continued publishing this until 1939 when she turned the magazine over to the Arizona Education Association.  For many years, she wrote articles for journals and magazines on education and pioneer women.

In 1920 Boehringer was elected to the State Legislature.  As chairman of the education committee, she initiated many educational reforms including the establishment of the State School Board and the first per capita state funding of schools.  She later became director of curriculum for the Department of Education, a position she held for six years.  In 1926 she was legislative chairman for the Arizona State Federation of Women’s clubs.  Because women were often excluded from men’s professional groups, she organized several professional organizations for Arizona’s working women to help them network, including the Arizona Federation of Business and Professional Women.  She served as President of the Arizona Council of Administrative Women in Education, an organization for female county school superintendents, high school department heads and principals.  She was a pioneer member of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women when it was founded in St. Louis in 1919.  She organized the Arizona Federation of Business and Professional Women, became the state’s first President of that group and worked hard for equal pay, opportunity and education for working women.  While serving as President, she drove over 1,500 miles on unpaved roads visiting the local organizations. She also organized the Arizona branches of the National League of American Penwomen.

Herbert Hoover appointed Louise in 1928 to spearhead the Arizona State Better Homes Committee to provide communities with information on improving housing conditions.

Often called “the mother of the Arizona educational system” Louise Boehringer devoted her life to obtaining better education for all Arizona students by continuously striving to improve the quality of the state’s educational system.  Her contributions to Arizona as a writer, educator, feminist and legislator created a lasting legacy for future generations of working women. Her dedication to civic and educational organizations leaves an indelible mark on the state.

Additional Information

"in 1913 was elected county school superintendent, which office she held until 1917.  She was the first woman to hold an elective office in the State of Arizona." ("Death Takes C. Louise Boehringer."  Yuma Daily Sun, Sept. 13, 1956)

Employment

Occupation Title Years
Education/Library teacher
Government Yuma County Superintendent of Schools 1913 - 1917
Media/Arts/Design editor and publisher, Arizona Teacher Magazine 1917 - 1939
Government Director of Curriculum, State Department of Education 1932 - 1940

Arizona Legislative Service

Session Chamber Party District City County Office Notes
5th Legislature, Regular House Democrat Yuma - (1912-30) (1931-66 Senate) Yuma Yuma
5th Legislature, 1st Special House Democrat Yuma - (1912-30) (1931-66 Senate) Yuma Yuma

Sources

Birth and first name: 1900 IL census for Cora L. Behringer (sic), location:  Jo Conners.  Who's Who in Arizona (Tucson, AZ:  Jo Conners, 1913), p. 617; Death: obituary:  "Death Takes C. Louise Boehringer."  Yuma Daily Sun, Sept. 13, 1956; Occupation(s): obituary; Find A Grave Memorial# 68500029 created by: Diane Payne, record added: Apr 17, 2011