As conservative women of some intellect, we all know that there is so much that isn’t in our history books. The modern teaching tries to tell us that conservatives hate women, oppress them, don’t give them opportunities, and worse. We know that isn’t the case though, don’t we? 

This March, I want to tell you the story of one woman that provides the perfect counter-example to mainstream trash-talking of conservative women. Since March 10th would have been her birthday (she would be 118 in 2021!), I think it’s time to talk about Clare Boothe Luce, because you’ll never learn about her in your school’s history book, and she lived quite the life. 

I first learned about Clare Boothe Luce when I interned at a conservative non-profit named in her honor, and I got the chance that summer to dive deep into her life. The more I read, the more I was amazed that the world didn’t know more about this amazing woman. A war-journalist, a playwright, a socialite, a congresswoman, an ambassador? She did it all–and no one talks about her because she doesn’t fit the stereotypes of the time and of how the Republican movement treats women. 

We all know life was not always easy–isn’t always easy–for women, but trust me when I say that Clare Boothe Luce was breaking glass ceilings before we even started using that term. 

Let’s start with the basics: Clare Boothe was born in 1903–well over a decade before white women got the right to vote nationally. She had a good childhood–even appeared on Broadway as an actress!–and then worked in the suffrage movement. 

She married young and had her only child–a daughter–but divorced her first husband less than a decade later, likely due to his alcoholism.  She found love again though–with the publisher Henry Luce, the publisher of magazines such as Time, Fortune, and more. Impressive, I know. Her daughter died a few years later in a car accident, which was of course the tragedy that marred much of Clare’s happiness, but she also credits it with bringing her more into her Catholic faith. 

But who cares about who she married when we can talk about what she did—she was a journalist abroad during times of war. She wrote amazingly witty captions and articles for Vogue (and became a managing editor!)–and profiled General MacArthur for Life magazine. She was so much more than a socialite, even if she did have a nice life due to her second marriage. 

In the early 1940s, Clare was elected to Congress in Connecticut and served two terms. Much of her political platform was based on fighting communism and winning World War II. While Clare was certainly not the first woman elected to Congress, or even the only one serving at the time, to be a woman in Congress in the 1940s was still abnormal, and Clare did it with poise and wit. She was the first woman to represent Connecticut in the House. There were nine women–including her–serving in Congress during her first term–11 during her second. 

In 1953, though, Luce did punch right through the glass ceiling when she was appointed the first woman to hold a major ambassadorial post–she became the ambassador to Italy! She ended up being well-liked in the position, but she also got very ill while there. They thought she was being poisoned! But it ended up being the result of lead paint on the ceiling…less spy novel, but far better than a hit by a foreign nation, right? 

Clare wasn’t done on the global stage though–she was also appointed to be the ambassador to Brazil, but she ended up only serving four days in the position. Politics are messy–we all know that. 

She passed away in 1987 from cancer. 

Oh, did I mention throughout this all she wrote an acclaimed play that has been adapted to film twice and also coined so many great witticisms–like (supposedly) “Courage is the ladder on which all virtues mount”? Seriously, why are we not learning about this woman in school? She’s proof that women can conquer whatever they put their minds too. They can overcome trials and tribulations. They don’t have to acquiesce to a working man and let him be the star of the show. And they don’t have to just write letters to their representatives–they can be those representatives. They can use their voice in so many ways. 

March 10th is Clare Boothe Luce’s birthday. I hope you’ll take a moment today to learn more about her. She’s a fascinating woman–tell her tale!

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member