Obit of the Day: Before Elizabeth Warren
On April 11, 1969 President Richard Nixon appointed Virginia Knauer as his Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs, the first person to hold the position. Mrs. Knauer would serve in this capacity until 1977 under both Nixon and President Ford. She returned, at the behest of President Reagan, in 1981 and left at the end of Mr. Reagan’s second term.
President Nixon named Mrs. Knauer, a life-long Republican and the first member of the GOP elected to an at-large seat on Philadelphia City Council, to run the Office of Consumer Affairs in order to “give every American consumer a permanent voice in the White House,” as he wrote in a special message to Congress. Of all her work, Mrs. Knauer was most famous for fighting to have ingredient information made available to consumers - especially for hot dogs. She also created the Consumer Information Center in Pueblo, Colorado which distributed more than 20 million pamphlets a year. (You may remember their commercials.)
A graduate of both the University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Mrs. Knauer enjoyed raising champion Doberman Pinschers as a hobby. She died at the age of 96.
(Image courtesy of the Richard Nixon Foundation. The photo, circa 1972, was taken by the White House to highlight the women serving in high level positions in the administration.
First row (left to right): Ethel Bent Walsh - EEOC Commissioner; Major General Jeanne M. Holm, USAF - then a Brigadier General, she was the first female two-star general in the U.S. Armed Forces; Rose Mary Woods - Nixon’s secretary, most famous for the missing 18 minutes on the Watergate tapes;Virginia Knauer; Helen Delich Bentley - Federal Maritime Commissioner, later U.S. Rep. from Maryland; Jayne Baker Spain - Vice-chairman U.S. Civil Service Commission; Evelyn Eppley - unknown; Barbara H. Franklin - Special Assistant to the President, later Secretary of Commerce under George H.W. Bush; (second row): Sallyanne Payton - Assistant to the President, also worked under Nixon in the USDOT; Elizabeth Hanford - deputy under Virginia Knauer who introduced Ms. Hanford to Sen. Bob Dole, Elizabeth Dole was later senator from North Carolina; Georgiana Sheldon - unknown; Virginia Allan - Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs; Carol Khosrovi - Office of Consumer Affairs; Paula Tennant - U.S. Board of Parole; Brereton Sturtevant - First Examiner-in-Chief on U.S. Patent Board of Appeals; and Gloria Toote - Assistant Secretary of Equal Opportunity in HUD
An impressive group.)