Barber (1902 - 1976)
Surnames: Barber, Abel
Mildred Barber (1902 - 29 Sept. 1976)
Born to Dr. Joseph and Ella Barber in Greenwood, a town in central Wisconsin, young Mildred grew up around politics because her father was a state senator. After teaching two years in rural Marathon County, she became her father’s housekeeper at the state capital of Madison. A progressive Republican, she was elected secretary of the state platform committee, and friends soon persuaded her to run for the Wisconsin Assembly. After a vigorous campaign, she won her race by appealing to the party’s liberal wing. Mildred Barber and Joseph Barber thus became the nation’s first father/daughter legislative team.
Her legislative interests initially tracked those of her physician father, including the distribution of iodine to children who lived in areas where that was naturally deficient. As she grew into her own person, though, focus broadened to other issues, including especially prison reform.
Representative Barber made the mistake of not campaigning hard enough in 1926 and lost her reelection. She returned to teaching prior to marrying Otto Abel in 1928. They had one son, and she did not return to public office. Mildred Barber Abel died on September 29, 1976, and was buried in Wausau’s Pine Grove Cemetery.
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