The Nation’s First Female Governor

Willamette Heritage Center Presents “Caralyn B. Shelton – The Nation’s First Female Governor” Now – May 31 as Part of the Capitol History Gateway Exhibit Program

The Willamette Heritage Center presents “Caralyn B. Shelton – The Nation’s First Female Governor” now through May 31 on This virtual exhibit will be available to explore through the Oregon State Capitol website as part of the Capitol History Gateway program. This digital presentation was funded by the Oregon State Capitol Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c) 3 and includes a narrated video that encompasses the entirety of the digital exhibit.

Caralyn B. Shelton served as Oregon’s acting Governor in 1909 — three years before Oregon women were granted to the right to vote. In her three-day tenure, Shelton demonstrated that a woman could execute the duties of the highest state office. Her story was told by newspapers all over the world at the time, but few today know her name and her remarkable story.

This exhibit explores Shelton’s experience and the ways in which Oregon’s unique system of government provided politicians an opportunity to make a statement about women’s suffrage on the national and international stage.

Since the historic portion of the Capitol is not accessible due to construction until 2025, the physical exhibit will not be scheduled in the Capitol Galleria until then.

For more information about future events and exhibits at the Capitol, visit .

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