Eva McCall Hamilton, Michigan’s first female lawmaker

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Eva McCall Hamilton was the first woman to ever serve as a lawmaker in Michigan. She was elected to the state Senate, representing the 16th District (which included Grand Rapids). She served one 2-year term. (Public Domain)

State Sen. Eva McCall Hamilton sits on the steps of the State Capitol. Hamilton was a noted progressive for her time — in these times it was not considered formal etiquette for a woman to sit on the ground. (Rare Book Room, Library of Michigan)

Before being elected to the State Senate, Eva McCall Hamilton did lots of work in the Grand Rapids area. She was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement and led a successful campaign to establish a farmers market in the city — now known as the Fulton Street Farmers Market. In this photo, Hamilton is leading a float calling for women’s voting rights in the 1910 Grand Rapids annual homecoming parade. (Rare Book Room, Library of Michigan)

This photo from 1912 shows Eva McCall Hamilton working in support of the Equal Suffrage Amendment in 1912. The state’s campaign was headquartered in Grand Rapids. The amendment failed in a statewide vote by less than 1,000 votes. (Rare Book Room, Library of Michigan)

Eva McCall Hamilton, here identified under her husband’s name as “Mrs. C. B. Hamilton” was featured in a 1913 article in the Grand Rapids Herald about local leaders of the women’s suffrage movement. (Grand Rapids Public Library Archives)

A 1920 article in the Grand Rapids Herald talks about Eva McCall Hamilton’s campaign for State Senate. (Grand Rapids Public Library Archives)

A copy of state Sen. Eva McCall Hamilton’s business card. She served one term (1921-1922). (Rare Book Room, Library of Michigan)

State Sen. Eva McCall Hamilton (back, center) looks on as Gov. Alex Groesbeck signs a bill into law. Hamilton introduced 12 bills during her two years in the Senate. Seven of them were passed. (Rare Book Room, Library of Michigan)

A 1949 article in the Grand Rapids Herald shows the capitol portrait of former state Sen. Eva McCall Hamilton being presented to the Senate the year after her death. It has since been replaced by a new portrait. (Grand Rapids Public Library Archives)

This is the portrait of former state Sen. Eva McCall Hamilton that hangs in the Capitol today. It was done by Larry J. Blovits and dedicated in the Capitol in 1995. (Public Domain)