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Ruth Bryan Owen Rohde


Congresswoman and diplomat Ruth Bryan Owen Rohde (October 2, 1885-July 26, 1954) was the daughter of the great populist orator, William Jennings Bryan. She was born in Illinois. The first woman elected to Congress from the South and America’s first female ambassador, she represented Florida’s Fourth District, 1929–33, and was U.S. Minister to Denmark, 1933–36. In Congress she sponsored legislation creating the Everglades National Park, and later she served on the drafting committee for the United Nations charter and as an alternate delegate to the United Nations.

In 1939, Rohde came to the Alderson mansion known as the Cedars, owned by Borge Rohde, a Danish captain whom she met in Denmark and married in 1936. For the next several years she lived off and on at the Greenbrier County estate, which previously had been the home of Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller, a novelist. Rohde served on the advisory board of Alderson’s Federal Reformatory for Women, 1938–54.

Rohde died on a trip to Denmark. She is buried in Copenhagen.