SKOWHEGAN — The Portland Sea Dogs will celebrate women’s voting rights later this month and honor Maine’s own U.S. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman whose name was placed in nomination for president at a major party’s national convention, by giving away bobblehead dolls of the iconic politician.

The Boston Red Sox affiliate will recognize passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the one that gave women the right to vote starting in 1920 with a Margaret Chase Smith bobblehead doll giveaway day, Saturday, Aug. 26, Women’s Equality Day.

The bobblehead will be given to the first 1,000 fans to enter the ballpark and won’t be available commercially, said David Richards, director of the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan. He said the bobblehead idea was a surprise, but an honor, too.

“It very much took us by surprise when the Sea Dogs approached us about doing it,” Richards said. “They wanted to do something to honor Women’s Equality Day. They thought Margaret would be someone good to symbolize that event.”

Women’s Equality Day was established in 1971 at the behest of Rep. Bella Abzug, D-N.Y., according to the National Women’s History Project.

Smith, a Republican, was born in Skowhegan and served 32 years in Congress, first in the House of Representatives from 1940 to 1949 and later as a U.S. senator from 1949 to 1973.


She was the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress. Smith gained national attention in 1950 as the first senator to oppose McCarthyism with her “Declaration of Conscience” speech. In 1964 she became the first woman whose name was placed in nomination for president at a major American political party’s national convention. Sen. Barry Goldwater, of Arizona, won the Republican nomination that year.

“We were honored that they thought of her as a good person to symbolize that event,” Richards said. “The board of the Margaret Chase Smith Foundation, which runs the library, has always been very cautious about how Margaret’s image is used, but they were persuaded that it was meant to honor her.

“They’re only making up a supply to give out at the game. They’re not going to carry them at the gift shop. There’s only going to be 1,000 of them.”

The Sea Dogs are hosting the Binghamton Rumble Ponies that day at 6 p.m. Gates will open at 4:30 p.m. A bus to Hadlock Field has been arranged by the Skowhegan Parks and Recreation Department to include transportation and reserved seating. The bus will depart at 4 p.m. the day of the game. Skowhegan residents pay $10; nonresidents, $15. Registrations are being accepted at the Skowhegan Community Center by calling 474-6901. Space is limited, so fans are advised to register early.

Richards said the late senator was a fan of the Boston Red Sox, which is the parent club of the Double A Portland Sea Dogs.

“Along the way, Senator Smith was a diehard Red Sox fan,” according to promotional material on, the official site for minor league baseball. “In 1950, she wrote in her nationally syndicated newspaper column, ‘Washington & You,’ that ‘every time the Red Sox lose a game, we Red Sox fans die just a little.’ A year later she added: ‘When I think of baseball, I think of the Red Sox.'”


Richards said the library has many newspaper clippings on display in which Smith talks about the Red Sox in the 1950s, a period when the Red Sox “were very much in the shadow of the New York Yankees.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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