Preface

Millicent Fenwick's life spanned the twentieth century. In some ways her life mirrored the times, yet in other ways she was a woman ahead of her times—a pioneer. She continually challenged the status quo and succeeded. She rarely set goals for herself, nor did she visualize any barriers. She strolled along life's path, not knowing what her next step would be or where it might lead. Once Millicent made a decision she could not be derailed. She was a strong-willed, opinionated, independent woman who embodied charm, wit, and sophistication.

When Millicent Vernon Hammond was born in New York City on February 25, 1910, women did not have the right to vote, and would not for another ten years. If someone had told Millicent as a young woman that she would be elected to national office, she would have dismissed such a suggestion.

It was her passion to fight injustice that thrust her forward. Millicent always pointed to Hitler's terrorizing reign as the reason she became involved in politics. She was outraged at the possibility of government being the catalyst for social injustice. One can hardly argue with that point. But, as her son pointed out, it is likely that her passion for rectifying injustice can be traced to two additional factors: the injustices she confronted in her childhood household and the sense of noblesse oblige (a term she deplored) that characterized her upbringing.

For much of her eighty-two years Millicent commanded attention for her charisma, quick wit, impeccable English, and striking good looks. The press deemed her first congressional victory, in 1974, a “geriatric triumph.” 1 Walter Cronkite dubbed her the “Conscience of Congress”; 2 Henry Kissinger called her his “tormenter”; 3 and Garry Trudeau immortalized her through the creation of his Doonesbury character Lacey Davenport, who often mimicked Fenwick's staunch stands on social issues and addressed everyone as “dear,” just as Millicent did.

-xi-

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Millicent Fenwick: Her Way
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Millicent Fenwick *
  • 1 - A Gilded Past 1
  • 2 - Battle Cry 16
  • 3 - A Blended Family 26
  • 4 - Building Character 37
  • 5 - Ambassador's Daughter 45
  • 6 - Love, Scandal, Marriage 60
  • 7 - The Vogue Years 75
  • 8 - Retreating to the Country 99
  • 9 - Outhouse Millie 116
  • 10 - A Geriatric Triumph 134
  • 11 - The Conscience of Congress 147
  • 12 - Pursuing Human Rights 162
  • 13 - Lacey Davenport 184
  • 14 - Seeking the Senate 196
  • 15 - A Little Bit Useful 213
  • 16 - My Way 223
  • Notes 239
  • Selected Bibliography 263
  • Index 271
  • About the Author *
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