Hobby, Oveta Culp

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Hobby, Oveta Culp

Oveta Culp Hobby, 1905–95, American public official and newspaper publisher, U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (1953–55), b. Killeen, Tex. She served as parliamentarian of the Texas house of representatives from 1925 to 1931 and from 1939 to 1941. In 1931 she married William Pettus Hobby, former governor of Texas (1917–21) and publisher of the Houston Post. She held various positions on the newspaper and at the family-owned broadcasting company. In World War II she became (1942) director of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), which, in 1943, became the Women's Army Corps (WAC). She was commissioned colonel in 1943 and remained director until 1945. Appointed Federal Security Administrator under President Eisenhower, she became (Apr., 1953) the first Secretary of the newly created Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare, the only woman in the cabinet. In July, 1955, she resigned to succeed her ailing husband as editor of the Houston Post, later (1965) becoming chairman of the board. The newspaper, now closed, was sold to the Toronto Sun Publishing Co. of Canada in 1983.

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