Book | Excerpts

A Few Good Women in Their Own Words


Early Influences


Helen Delich Bentley
Helen Delich Bentley grew up in Nevada mining towns in the most difficult circumstances. As a journalist, she covered maritime, labor, and transportation affairs for almost twenty-five years, a most unusual beat for a woman reporter at that time. She was named chair of the Federal Maritime Commission by President Nixon in 1969.


“I guess that I was a pretty strong person, I would say, had to be to make my way from a very small mining town, Ruth, Nevada, and Ely, 8,000 feet above sea level. And I had a wonderful mother—my father died when I was eight. So there was my mother who was keeping boarders and trying to make things go for herself, my two brothers and me.”


Cynthia Holcomb Hall
Cynthia Holcomb Hall (1929–2011) credited her father with being the primary influence on her career in the law. She worked in the Justice Department, the Treasury Department and in private practice prior to being nominated by President Nixon to a seat on the Tax Court in Washington in 1972.


"My father was a Naval officer, and he had seen many of his peers killed during World War II, leaving behind widows with small children who did not have the ability to make a living, and he felt that it was important that I learn to make a living, and he stressed that to me, I knew that if not with the first degree, then with a second degree, I was going to have to come out with the ability to carry on a job."


doleElizabeth Hanford Dole
In 1973, President Nixon nominated Elizabeth Hanford to a term on the Federal Trade Commission, where she served until 1979.


“Mother and Dad certainly didn’t have a career in mind for me, but I think the values that they instilled in me and the fact that they were such encouragers definitely had an impact on my future career life. I can hear my Dad now, saying, ‘If it’s worth doing, it’s worth giving it your very best effort.’ And Mother would say, ‘You’re finishing your homework early.  Wouldn’t you like to enter that essay contest?’ It’s the little extras, just being motivated by wonderful parents who gave me every sort of support and love but had no idea of a career in my future.”



Helen Delich Bentley



Cynthia Holcomb Hall