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- Minnie Craig Papers
Minnie Craig Papers, 1921, 1928, 1934, undated
Minnie Davenport Craig was born in Phillips, Maine, on November 4, 1883. She was the daughter of Marshall H. and Aura Prescott Davenport. She graduated from Phillips High School in 1901, and was salutatorian of her class. She taught public school in several different Maine communities for four years. At the same time, she worked toward a two year degree from the Maine Normal School in Farmington. She graduated in 1905, after which she resumed a teaching career.
In July 1908, she married Edward O. Craig at her parent's home in Phillips. Edward Craig was a resident of Farmington and a relative of the family in whose home Minnie boarded. After a brief honeymoon, Edward moved to Esmond, North Dakota, to help harvest fall crops. Minnie moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to attend the New England Conservatory of Music. She did not finish her degree before deciding to move to Esmond in 1909 to be with her husband, who had just built a new home. In Esmond, she found work as the Director of the Harmony School District. She was in this position from 1913 until 1926.
She and her husband became very interested in politics following the 1919 North Dakota Legislative Session and the controversy that followed regarding the Bank of North Dakota, the Industrial Commission and the Nonpartisan League. In 1922, she was elected as a Benson County Delegate to the Republican State Convention. After this event, she decided to run on the Republican ticket as a candidate for the North Dakota House of Representatives. She won the election, and was seated in the House beginning in 1923. She served Benson County in this capacity until 1935, and was the Speaker of the House 1933-1935. In the presidential primary election of 1928, she was elected Republican National Committeewoman for North Dakota, and attended the National Convention in Kansas City.
Minnie Craig also played an important role in North Dakota's response to the Great Depression. Beginning in 1933, she served on a five person committee to oversee the activities of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, one of the New Deal programs initiated by President Franklin Roosevelt. She toured the state, organizing the relief effort in those counties hard hit by the effects of drought and grasshoppers. She resigned from the commission on July 17, 1934, after a serious fall on a ladder. She then served as Assistant Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives from 1935 until 1937, and Chief Clerk from 1937 to 1940.
In 1941, Minnie assisted her husband with the administration of the First International Bank of Esmond and the State Bank of Leeds, two banks which Ed Craig had been involved with for many years. Unfortunately, his health began to deteriorate, and they sold their shares in the banks in May 1946. Ed Craig died on March 12, 1947, in San Diego, California.
Minnie Craig returned to Phillips in 1959. She resided there until her death in 1965. On January 11, 1975, the state of North Dakota honored Minnie Craig in a ceremony held in Bismarck. North Dakota’s celebration of International Women’s Year, declared by the United Nations for 1975, was dedicated for Minnie Craig.