Born: 1881 (Black River Falls, Wisconsin)
Died: 1968 (Houston, TX)
Noted For: Helen Edmunds Moore is remembered as one of the first women to serve in the Texas House of Representatives and president of the Texas League of Women Voters.
“I decided to run for the legislature because I thought a woman could pass some good laws.” —Helen Edmunds Moore
Helen Edmunds Moore was in her late forties when she decided to run for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives, representing the Texas City area where she’d lived since 1905.
The former nurse and energetic women’s rights leader mounted a campaign that emphasized her impressive record of civic, wartime, and organizational leadership, including her years at the helm of the then-new Texas League of Women Voters from 1923 to 1925. “I have worked earnestly and faithfully for better citizenship, especially among the women of Texas whose civic and political responsibilities require more active interest in public matters,” she said in a campaign statement in 1928.
Helen would go on to serve three terms in the Texas House between 1929 and 1936. During the first term, she was one of only two women representatives in Texas (the other being Laura Burleson Negley of San Antonio.)
During her TLMV presidency, Helen was heavily involved in legislative advocacy on behalf of the League’s interests, experience that no doubt served her well as she began her political career. Her legislative tenure was marked by a number of efforts benefiting disadvantaged and marginalized Texans, including improved standards for medical training, literacy programs for Texas inmates, better conditions monitoring and funding for Texas mental institutions and children’s homes, the establishment of a psychiatric hospital in Galveston, and shorter hours for working women in Texas.
After retiring from the legislature, she again entered into wartime service as the chair of an auxiliary unit of the Galveston chapter of the American Red Cross and as the Chief of Women’s Activities for the Texas City Civilian Defense Unit. Throughout all phases of her career, she encouraged women to take an active role in civic and political affairs. The Moore Public Library in Texas City is named in her honor.
“Helen Edmunds Moore Biography”: From the Moore Public Library