Helen F. Holt

Charleston Daily Mail
December 4, 1957

Mrs. Holt Chosen W. Va. Secretary

Ex-Solon's Widow In Interim Position

Gov. Underwood announced today that Mrs. Helen Holt of Lewisburg has accepted an interim appointment as the 19th secretary of state of West Virginia and becomes the first woman to serve on the state's Board of Public Works.

A faculty members [sic] of Greenbrier College, Mrs. Holt is the widow of former U. S. Senator Rush D. Holt of Weston, who was also the 1952 Republican candidate for governor.

Mother of two children, she succeeds the late D. Pitt O'Brien who died last Friday. She will serve at a salary of $11,000 a year until the next general election in 1958.

Underwood made the announcement from New York where he is on a speaking engagement. He conferred with Mrs. Holt yesterday in his office here, offering her the position, and the announcement that she had accepted came shortly before noon today.

No woman has served on the seven-member executive board, where, prior to O'Brien's death, Democrats outnumbered Republicans, 5-2.

The new secretary of state is a native of Illinois, a graduate of Stephens College, Northwestern University and University of Missouri. She married Sen. Holt in 1941 in Washington, shortly after he finished his term as a Democrat member of the Senate.

Mrs. Holt maintained an active interest in her husband's career, joining in his political campaigns through the 14 years of their marriage. After his death, the widow was appointed to fill out the unexpired term of her husband in the House of Delegates, representing Lewis County. She served during the 1955 legislative session.

Mrs. Holt is a Methodist and a district president of the West Virginia Federation of Women's Clubs, which actively campaigned for her appointment as secretary of state since O'Brien's death.

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