Today’s the second day of Women’s History Month, and it’s the birthday in 1860 of the first woman to serve as a mayor in the United States.

Susanna Madora Salter, of Argonia, Kansas wasn’t looking to make history.

She didn’t even run for the job!

But then sometimes you choose the moment, and other times the moment chooses you.

She was born Susanna Kinsey in Ohio, and moved to Kansas with her parents in 1872.

Her father, Oliver Kinsey, was actually elected the very first mayor of Argonia in 1885.

Salter took part in a number of civic organizations, including the local chapter of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.

In 1887, the Kansas legislature passed a law that allowed women to vote.

That angered some men in Argonia, who believed politics should be up to them and them alone.

They decided to nominate Salter as mayor.

They figured no man in town would ever vote for what was then mocked as “petticoat rule,” so she would be defeated and humiliated and then women would stay out of politics and the temperance group would fall apart.

I guess those dudes never heard the saying “be careful what you wish for.”

Local political groups who saw this stunt for what it was went to Salter’s house and asked her what she thought of the surprise nomination.

She said, essentially, if people want me to be mayor, I’ll do it.

And she won, with two-thirds of the vote.

Mayor Salter got plenty of national attention right after her election, but after that her one year term was pretty quiet.

She was paid one dollar and earned a reputation as a competent and thoughtful presiding officer.

And you won’t find many jokes in Argonia today about Salter’s term in office.

She’s featured in a big mural in town, and the Salter House Museum is open to tell visitors the story of the first woman elected mayor in the U.S.

There’s a book out now called Locked Down Looking Up.

Photographer Doris Mitsch took composite images during the pandemic that show the flight trails of flocks of birds and other flying creatures.

The shapes of their flight paths are partly a commentary on the passage of time – and they’re really their own works of art too.

Susanna Madora Salter (Kansas Historical Society)

Susanna Madora Salter (National Women’s History Museum)

Photographer Creates Mesmerizing Flight Trails of Winged Creatures as a Meditation on Time (My Modern Met)

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Photo by frank thompson photos via Flickr/Creative Commons