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Virginia Dill McCarty Papers, 1824–2003

Virginia Dill McCarty is best known as the first woman who was appointed and served a full four-year term as U.S. Attorney. Recommended by Senator Birch Bayh in February 1977, she was appointed to the Southern District of Indiana by President Jimmy Carter in June 1977 and served until 1981.

Her collection reflects her activities in the Hoosier community and supports the claim that she helped pave the way for women in politics in Indiana. In 1971, she co-founded the Indiana Women’s Political Caucus and the Greater Indianapolis Women’s Political Caucus and served as the first president for both. She was also involved in the Equal Rights Amendment campaign in Indiana during the same time. In 1976, she became the first woman nominated by the Democratic Party to run for Indiana Attorney General.

After her stint as U.S. Attorney, she went back to practicing law locally and focused on her next target – running for Indiana Governor in 1984. Although she lost the bid for governor in the primary election, she was the second woman to run for governor in Indiana. She continued to practice law until her death.

Her collection encompasses her political activities and interests, professional and legal career, and other personal material.

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