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Founded in 1989 by Lynn Peters Adler, J.D.
Centenarian Expert and Older Adults Advocate

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Ms. magazine: 20th Century Foxes
Interviews by Lynn Peters Adler, Founder and Director, National Centenarian Awareness Project
A Century of

Women

 

 Polly Rosenbaum, 100

Polly Rosenbaum, 100
Born: September 4, 1899; Ollie, Ia.
Resides: Phoenix, Ariz.
Descendants: none
Occupation: Teacher, politician


Polly Rosenbaum is a legend in the state of Arizona, where she served as a member of the state legislature for 46 years. After she retired in 1995, she researched a history of women's accomplishments in the state. A graduate of the University of Colorado, Rosenbaum moved to Arizona in the late 1920s to teach in a mining camp and continued to teach until she ran for office. She lives independently in her own apartment.

What was the most important thing that happened for women during this century? I have seen women go from being housewives to different fields of endeavor. World War II had the greatest impact on this change, because the men were in service and the women found out that they could do something besides housework. Also, getting the right to vote was tied to this, because otherwise women would have had no power to bring about change by electing people to office.

How did it affect your life? This gave me the feeling of power — that I could do anything I wanted to do as long as I knew how to do it and do it well. When I went into politics, I knew it from the ground up because I had worked with my husband when he was a state legislator.

What advice would you give to girls today? You need positive faith in your ability, in your religion, and about the future.

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