Clara E. Weisenborn
Clara Weisenborn at Women's Recognition Day
Clara Weisenborn was a prominent politician in Ohio from the 1950s to the 1970s.
Weisenborn was born on February 9, 1907, in Dayton, Ohio. Her maiden name was Nies. Weisenborn attended school until the eighth grade. At that time, she left school to stay home to help her parents raise her ten younger siblings. In 1923, she married Herbert Weisenborn, an insurance salesman and eventual trustee of Wayne Township. Clara Weisenborn remained at home, caring for her husband and her two children. She was active in the community, serving as president of the local Parent Teacher Association and as a member of band parents and of the local 4-H chapter. She also taught Sunday School at her church for fifty-three consecutive years and wrote a weekly newspaper column on gardening for the Journal Herald for forty-two years.
Upon her sons attaining adulthood, Weisenborn embarked upon a political career, winning election to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1952. She ran as a member of the Republican Party. Weisenborn served in this body until 1967. In 1966, she won election to the Ohio Senate. She remained in the senate until 1975, having lost reelection in 1974. While serving in the Ohio House and Senate, Weisenborn focused her attention on health and education issues. She was the first woman to serve as chair of the Senate's Education and Health Committee. Weisenborn also served on the House's Health Committee and Education Committee and on the Senate's Finance Committee and the Agriculture, Conservation and Environment Committee. Perhaps, Weisenborn's greatest contribution was cosponsoring a bill that established Wright State University. She also played a leading role in establishing the Wright State University School of Medicine.
Weisenborn died on January 26, 1985. Her life illustrates the difficulties many women faced during the twentieth century. It also symbolizes the increasing opportunities that occurred during this same time period for women.
- Booth, Stephane Elise. Buckeye Women: The History of Ohio's Daughters. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2001.