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Geraldine Ferraro Biography: Five Things You Didn’t Know

Geraldine Ferraro has died at age 75. 

See our full Geraldine Ferraro biography for the details of her life. The headline, of course, is that she was the first woman to win a place on a major-party presidential ticket in the United States.

That was nearly 27 years ago, when she was Walter Mondale‘s choice for vice president on the Democratic ticket.  Mondale got walloped by incumbent Ronald Reagan in the general election, but Geraldine Ferraro’s place in history was assured.

Here are five things you may not have known about Geraldine Ferraro:

Finally, A Tough Democrat” — her slogan during her first run for Congress in Queens in 1978. She won.

She was named for an older brother, Gerald, who died in a car crash not long before she was born.

“Geraldine Ferraro excelled in academics, skipping the sixth through eighth grades and graduating early from high school in 1952.”

Her parents, Dominick and Antonetta Ferraro, were Italian immigrants.  Her father died of a heart attack in 1943; when she married in 1960, Geraldine Ferraro kept her name as a tribute to her hard-working mother.

She was first diagnosed with incurable blood cancer in 1998.  Shortly afterward she was treated (successfully) with the controversial drug Thalidomide. The was the blood cancer, alas, that finally ended her life today.

The source for several of these tidbits is the U.S. government’s excellent Women In Congress site, which we recommend highly.

(Who2 editor Paul Hehn displays a Geraldine Ferraro campaign button from 1984.)

See our full Geraldine Ferraro biography >>

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