Chase Going Woodhouse

Chase Going Woodhouse

Induction Category:
Politics, Government & Law

Born: 1890

Died: 1984

Inducted: 1994

Town: Baltic

A growing frustration with the Great Depression and a desire for social change motivated Chase Going Woodhouse, a professor of economics at Connecticut College in New London, to run for political office in 1940. In her first political campaign she won a two-year term as Secretary of the State by a larger margin than any other candidate on the ballot. She returned to politics in 1946, when she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut’s Second District, becoming only the second woman to represent the state in Congress and the first from the Democratic party. Her background in monetary policy and finance landed her a seat on the Committee on Banking and Currency where she waged fierce battles in support of international economic cooperation.

Chase Going was born in Victoria, British Columbia, the only child of a railroad developer and a teacher. She earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in economics from McGill University. She went on to pursue doctoral work in economics at the University of Berlin. After the outbreak of World War I, she continued her studies at the University of Chicago.

While serving as a fellow in political economics at the University of Chicago, Chase Going met and married a professor of government, Edward Woodhouse. They had two children, Noel and Margaret. As a child, Noel was quoted as saying, “Dad talks about Thomas Jefferson, Mother about better jobs for women.” In fact, throughout her life, Woodhouse stressed the need for women to participate fully in a nation's civic and economic life. She took this message beyond the United States to Mexico, where she organized the first Business and Professional Women's Club, and to Germany, where she organized the Woman's Division of the U.S. military government.

After serving on the faculties of Smith College and the University of North Carolina and working as an economist for the Bureau of Home Economics, Woodhouse became a professor at Connecticut College. Her two non-consecutive terms (1945-1947, 1949-1951) as a Congresswoman drew upon her economics expertise and included both domestic and international post-war legislation. At the time, Connecticut had two women serving in Congress, Woodhouse and Clare Boothe Luce, who represented the Fourth District. In addition to her stints in elected office, Woodhouse held many leadership positions in her long and impressive career, including with the Institute of Women's Professional Relations, the Connecticut Federation of Democratic Women's Clubs, the International Association of University Women, the Connecticut League of Women Voters, the Auerbach Service Bureau, and the Connecticut War Labor Board. She was also a member of the Founders Committee of the University of Hartford. In 1965, she served as a member of Connecticut’s Constitutional Convention.

Still active in her 80s, Woodhouse would commute from her home in Baltic to her Hartford office daily. In 1973, she was named to the newly formed Permanent Commission on the Status of Women as a charter commissioner. Her many writings include several books, journal articles, and reports which have left a lasting impact on Connecticut civic life. She died in New Canaan, Conn., in December 1984.

During This Time
1921 - 1945: Prosperity, Depression, & War