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IFRW History...Celebrating over 80 years 

Our IFRW History is important to know - lest we forget!

According to state history, "In 1891, the women in Illinois had been granted the right to vote in school elections, and to these women that meant political action. In 1896, a group of Illinois women felt that the time had come for action and advertised in the newspapers for a mass meeting of women to be held in Springfield just before the regular state convention." The call stated it was for the purpose of "perfecting a women's Republican club" and selecting a woman candidate for university trustee. 


Later, the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW) was founded at a conference held at the Palmer House in Chicago, Illinois, September 23-24, 1938.

In the following years, independent clubs were formed. In September 1940, Republican women from all over the state met and elected Marie Suthers the first state president.  In addition, IFRW affiliated with the NFRW in 1940.


Marie Suthers served as IFRW president until 1943, the year she was elected president of the NFRW (1944-1947). Two other former state presidents have also served as NFRW president: Patricia Hutar (1976-77) and Mary Jo Arndt (1998-99).

IFRW Past Presidents

  • Linda Yoakum                                   2018-2019

  • Susan Wynn Bence                          2016-2017

  • Michelle Buckwalter-Schurman       2012-2015***

  • Joyce Hundhausen                          2008-2011

  • Lois Frels                                           2004-2007

  • Kay Hatcher                                      2000-2003

  • Chloanne Greenhouse                     1998-1999

  • Charlotte Mushow                            1994-1997

  • Jan Landis                                         1992-1993

  •                                                            1986-1989

  • Marge Masse                                    1982-1985

  • Mary Jo Arndt                                  1977-1981*

  • Patricia Hutar                            1974-1976*

  • Virginia MacDonald                          1972-1973

  • Hazel Watson                                    1968-1971

  • Ginny Kenney                                    1965-1967

  • Phyllis Schlafly                                 1960-1964**

  • Maryan Boardman                            1956-1959

  •                                                            1954-1958

  •                                                            1950-1953

  •                                                            1946-1949

  •                                                            1944-1945

  • Marie Suthers *                                 1940-1943

* NFRW Past President

** Phyllis Schlafly served as NFRW 1st Vice President, 1964-1967

*** Michelle Buckwalter-Schurman has served on the NFRW Executive Board as Secretary, Treasurer, 1st Vice President and 2nd Vice President, 2016-2024.

Note:  If you know any history / dates  of the following past presidents, please contact us with any information you may have.  Thank you.

Shirley Fazio

Maralee Lindley

Regina Benson

Frances Killey

Josephine Oblinger

In an effort to update our look and better communicate our message,

we are working to implement "on-going data clean-up" and website refresh for

continual improvement purposes. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Below (L) is our current official logo; below (R) is a recently developed unofficial IFRW logo.

The Beatitudes for a Federated Woman


Blessed is she who stands firmly for good government, for she shall be needed. 

Blessed is she who works steadily for her nation, for she shall be happy.

Blessed is she who believes in the cause she serves, for she shall be respected.

Blessed is she who gives credit to her helpers, for she shall be successful.  

Blessed is she who has faith in her fellow man, for she shall be justified. 

Blessed is she who, when others criticize her, and say all manner of evil about her, has the strength of character to forgive, the strength of purpose to carry on, and the strength of body to continue.

For she shall be called a leader in the Federation of Republican Women.



President, Southern Division,  CFRW 1976-1977
President, CFRW 1978-1979
Second Vice President, NFRW 1986-1989
First Vice President, NFRW 1990-1993

California Republican National Committeewoman 1989-1996
NFRW President 1993-1995



A Short History of the Republican Party

The Republican Party was formed in the early 1850's by anti-slavery activists and individuals who believed that government should grant western lands to settlers free of charge. 


The first informal meeting of the party took place in Ripon, Wisconsin, a small town northwest of Milwaukee. The first official Republican meeting took place on July 6th, 1854 in Jackson, Michigan. The name "Republican" was chosen because it alluded to equality and reminded individuals of Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party. 


At the Jackson Convention, the new party adopted a platform and nominated candidates for office in Michigan. In 1856, the Republicans became a national party when John C. Fremont was nominated for President under the slogan: "Free soil, free labor, free speech, free men, Fremont." 


Even though they were considered a "third party" because the Democrats and Whigs represented the two-party system at the time, Fremont received 33% of the vote. Four years later, Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican to win the White House.

Why I am a Republican


I BELIEVE the strength of our nation lies with the individual and that each person’s dignity, freedom, ability and responsibility must be honored. 
I BELIEVE in equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, sex, age or disability.
I BELIEVE free enterprise and encouraging individual initiative have brought this nation opportunity, economic growth and prosperity. 
I BELIEVE government must practice fiscal responsibility and allow individuals to keep more of the money they earn.
I BELIEVE the proper role of government is to provide for the people only those critical functions that cannot be performed by individuals or private organizations and that the best government is that which governs least. 
I BELIEVE the most effective, responsible and responsive government is government closest to the people. 
I BELIEVE Americans must retain the principles that have made us strong while developing new and innovative ideas to meet the challenges of changing times. 
I BELIEVE Americans value and should preserve our national strength and pride while working to extend peace, freedom and human rights throughout the world.  

FINALLY, I BELIEVE the Republican Party is the best vehicle for translating these ideals into positive and successful principles of government.

The Seal of the State of Illinois, 1818.

The seal shows the bald eagle on a rock carrying a shield. It carries a banner with the state motto,

“State Sovereignty, National Union.”

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