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McCormick, Dale



  • Existence: 1947-


Dale McCormick-carpenter, author, teacher, activist, and politician-was born in 1947 in New York City. Her mother, Elizabeth Tibbetts McCormick Kramer, was a teacher and her father, Kenneth Dale McCormick, was editor-in-chief at Doubleday. McCormick's parents divorced and her mother remarried Dale Kramer, author of numerous books. Dale McCormick's family moved to Sigourney, Iowa, in 1955; she graduated from Sigourney High School in 1965, and earned a BA and a teaching certificate from the University of Iowa in 1970.

After graduation, McCormick remained in Iowa City, where she participated in the anti-war, women's, and lesbian movements in the early 1970s. She apprenticed as a carpenter in 1971 with the International Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, and in 1975, Dale McCormick became the first journeywoman carpenter in the nation. McCormick wrote and illustrated Against the Grain: A Carpentry Manual for Women , published by the Iowa City Women's Press in 1977. (A copy of this book is shelved in the printed works collection of the Iowa Women's Archives.) McCormick ran her own company, McCormick Construction & Cabinetry, in Iowa City from 1977 to 1980.

In the early 1980s, McCormick moved to Maine, where she founded Women Unlimited, a job training program for women in trade and technical occupations. McCormick served as executive director of Women Unlimited until 1995. She taught classes, attended conferences, held workshops, wrote grants, and initiated partnerships with governmental agencies and educational institutions. In 1987, McCormick published her second book, Housemending: Home Repair for the Rest of Us.

McCormick worked on many issues as a political activist in the 1980s, including gay and lesbian issues, healthcare, welfare reform, women in non-traditional work, and housing. She was a founder and past president of the Maine Lesbian/Gay Political Alliance, and a delegate to the 1984 and 1988 Democratic National Conventions. In 1990, she ousted an incumbent in an upset election for the Hallowell seat in the Maine Senate. In 1996, McCormick was elected state treasurer of Maine, the first woman to hold that position. She served as treasurer for eight years, when Maine's term limits forced her to give up her post. In 2005, Maine's governor appointed McCormick as director of the Maine State Housing Authority, a quasi-governmental organization that finances affordable housing, weatherizes homes, and assists low-income Mainers purchase their first home. McCormick has received many honors including the Maryann Hartman Award for political leadership and for training women in non-traditional careers (1997) and the Crystal Vision Award from the National Association of Women in Construction (2006). In 2007, McCormick was inducted into the Maine Women Hall of Fame. McCormick and her partner have three children.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Dale McCormick papers

Identifier: IWA0513

Carpenter and activist for women in non-traditional jobs.

Dates: 1958-1997