Forty-two years ago today, RN named consumer affairs expert Virginia Knauer to the top position in the federal government on consumer affairs. In a ceremony in the Rose Garden, the President watched as Mrs. Knauer was sworn in as his Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs.
Virginia Knauer was a Philadelphia native who graduated from both the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the University of Pennsylvania, and became interested in politics in the 1950s when she organized women’s groups in support of President Eisenhower. She had been elected to consecutive terms on the Philadelphia City Council when Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Schafer —recognizing a growing trend and concern in American society— created a new post for her as his principal advisor on consumer affairs.
In addition to her consumer affairs responsibilities, RN named Mrs. Knauer to the Cost of Living Council and a number of other domestic policy committees. She later served in the Ford and Reagan White Houses as consumer advisor.
We wish a belated happy birthday to Mrs. Knauer — who turned 96 at the end of March.
In this Rose Garden photograph of women serving in high-level positions in the Nixon White House, Special Assistant to the President Virginia Knauer is in the middle (in the dark coat, next to Rose Mary Woods).
First row (left to right): Ethel Bent Walsh, Brigadier General Jeanne M. Holm, Rose Mary Woods, Virginia Knauer, Helen Delich Bentley, Jayne Baker Spain, Evelyn Eppley, Barbara H. Franklin; (second row): Sallyanne Payton, Elizabeth Hanford, Georgiana Sheldon, Virginia Allan, Carol Khosrovi, Paula Tennant, Brereton Sturtevant, Gloria Toote. For more about the roles and achievements of women in the Nixon White House, look at “A Few Good Women” — Barbara Franklin’s historic archive at Penn State University.
Top Photo and original caption courtesy of Corbis Media: Pres.Nixon sent a special message to Congress 10/30 asking for creation of a new Office of Consumer Affairs to “give every American consumer a permanent voice in the White House”. With the President is Mrs.Virginia Knauer, his consumer affairs advisor, who briefed newsmen on the message.