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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

PYKE, BERNICE SECREST - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

PYKE, BERNICE SECREST (22 Mar. 1880-10 May 1964), the first woman ever elected a delegate to a national political convention and the first woman to serve in a Cleveland mayor's cabinet, was born Bernice Secrest in Frankfort, Ross County, Ohio. After high school graduation in Chillicothe, Ohio, in 1898, she attended Ohio Wesleyan University and received her A.B. degree from Smith College in 1902. She taught mathematics in Illinois schools until her marriage in 1905, when she and her husband came to Cleveland. Pyke was active in the women's suffrage movement in Cuyahoga County and in 1920 was elected a delegate to the Democratic Natl. Convention, where she was in charge of the women's effort to promote the candidacy of Gov. Jas. M. Cox of Ohio for president. She was elected a delegate to 4 more national Democratic conventions. Mayor RAY T. MILLER† appointed her director of public welfare in 1932; she served through 1933. In 1934, Pres. Franklin Roosevelt appointed her collector of customs for the Cleveland district, a position she held until 1953. She had married Arthur B. Pyke on 4 Jan. 1905, and had a son, John Secrest Pyke. She died at her home. Last Modified: 22 Jul 1997 11:18:32 AM

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