Jeannette Rankin Hall, built in 1908, was named for University of Montana alumna and U.S. Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin in 1983. The fifth building on campus, the hall housed the university library and several academic departments over the years; it currently is home to the Social Work Department and the Environmental Studies Program. Tours are available through the Admissions Office Monday through Friday.
Jeannette Rankin Hall was the fifth building to be built on the University of Montana campus by an architect named A.J. Gibson. It was built in 1908, when the university was only 15 years old. Before it was Jeannette Rankin Hall, it was home to many other departments. It was the University Library from 1908 to 1922 and the Law School from 1923 to 1948. Then it was home to the Psychology Department in 1948. It currently is home to the Social Work Department. In 1983, the building was named after Jeannette Rankin.
Jeanette Rankin was born in 1880 and raised in Missoula. She went to the University of Montana and graduated in 1902. In 1908, she went to New York to study social work, inspired by Jane Addams. Rankin later became known for her work towards woman suffrage. She worked for woman suffrage all over the country as a leader of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Jeannette Rankin returned to Montana to lead the successful campaign for woman suffrage in the state in 1914. In 1916, she successfully ran for political office, becoming the nation's first female member of the U.S. House of Representatives when she took her seat in Congress the following year.
Rankin served two terms in Congress. During her first term, from 1917 to 1919, which coincided with World War I, she voted against the United States' entry into the war. She served her second term in Congress from 1941 to 1943, during World War II. She opposed the United States entering this war as well; this time, she was the only dissenting vote.