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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CERMAK, ALBINA - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CERMAK, ALBINA (4 Apr. 1904-22 Dec. 1978) was a lifelong Republican and the first woman to run for mayor of Cleveland. Born in Cleveland to Frank J. and Rose Cermak, she dropped out of nursing school to become bookkeeper-secretary-buyer in the family Cermak Dry Goods Co. In 1933 she became a bookkeeper for the city public utilities department; within 2 years, she was supervisor. Active as a Republican precinct committeewoman from 1925-53, Cermak served as vice-chairman and secretary of the Cuyahoga County Republican Central & Executive Committee and chairman of the Republican Women's Organization of Cuyahoga County from 1939-53. From 1946-53 she was a member of the Board of Elections and was a delegate to the Republican Natl. Conventions in 1940, 1944, and 1952.

In 1953, Cermak resigned from many offices to become U.S. collector of customs, stepping down to run against Anthony Celebrezze in 1961 as the first woman to run for mayor. She predicted that Celebrezze, if elected, would abandon Cleveland for a cabinet post. As expected, she lost, while Celebrezze became secretary of HEW in 1962. Cermak was rewarded for party loyalty with choice and historic appointments. She was the first woman appointed bailiff to the common pleas court in 1964. In 1965, State Auditor Roger Cloud selected her as an administrative specialist, while Gov. Jas. Rhodes named her vice-chairwoman of the Ohio Status of Women Committee in 1966. Single by choice, she was considered among Cleveland's top career women and was a sought-after speaker.

Albina Cermak Papers, WRHS.

Last Modified: 11 Jul 1997 11:41:13 AM

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