Minnie Craig Wins Speakership; First Woman in Nation to Serve in that Office

January 12, 1933

Not since 1922, when the voters of Des Lacs elected an entire slate of women to run their town, has an event brought such national attention to North Dakota. Newspapers as far away as New York City have called the country’s attention to the unanimous election of Minnie Craig as Speaker of the North Dakota House of Representatives. First elected to the House in 1922, Craig begins her sixth term as one of the most politically powerful persons in the state.

Minnie Craig. Courtesy of North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies.

Craig, born in 1883, grew up on a Maine farm. She graduated from high school in 1896 with a teaching certificate. She met Edward Craig in 1901 and they married in 1906. Mr. Craig returned to North Dakota where his father managed a large farm. After a year of music study in Boston, Minnie Craig joined her husband in North Dakota.

Edward Craig opened a bank in Esmond, which became their life-long hometown. The Craigs became active members of and campaigners for the Nonpartisan League. By 1922 Minnie had developed significant political skill and decided to accept the NPL nomination for representative. She won easily and has been reelected five times. She has told the North Star Dakotan: “I think women should be laboring with the men.”

By Dr. D. Jerome Tweton


Originally published as The North Star Dakotan student newspaper, written by Dr. D. Jerome Tweton and supported by the North Dakota Humanities Council.

Grade Level

2-5, 7

Subject Matter

Social Studies

North Star Dakotan:

Journals and Art Work: The Indian People, The Trade, and The Land

The Indian People

The Purchase and Exploration of Louisiana

The Fur Trade

Dakota Territory

The Military Frontier

The Reservation System

George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn

The Great Dakota Boom, 1878-1890

Reservation Troubles, 1886-1890

The Making of a State and a Constitution

The North Dakota Economy, 1890-1915

Life on the Indian Reservations

The North Dakota National Guard and the Philippines

North Dakota, The Great War and After

The Nonpartisan League's Rise to Power

The Nonpartisan League in Power

The Nonpartisan League's Decline

The 1920s

1930s: North Dakota's Economic and Political Climate

The New Deal in North Dakota

The Road to World War II

North Dakota and American Society

North Dakota Optimism and Economic Developments

North Dakota and Political Change

Related Media

  1. Dakota Datebook: Madame Speaker
    Audio: Minnie Craig becomes the first female Speaker of the House in North Dakota's State House of Representatives.

Related Links

“Minnie D. Craig: Gender and Politics in North Dakota,” North Dakota History, 63.2&3, Spring/Summer 1996, pp. 28-41, by Maren Claus.