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Gerta Bendl (1931-1987) papers


Collection : Gerta Bendl (1931-1987) papers
Date/Extent : 1957-1987 (bulk: 1975-1987), 16 linear ft.
Description : Legislator and activist Gerta Koperek Bendl lived in Pennsylvania until 1962, when she and husband Richard Bendl moved to Louisville after a brief stay in Atlanta. In Louisville Bendl organized a group of neighborhood women to challenge the boundaries of the local school district and to work on the problem of frequent flooding of the south fork of Beargrass Creek. In November 1972 she ran and won as the Democratic nominee for alderman from the third district, becoming known for her outspoken humanitarianism. Bendl was elected to represent the thirty-fourth district in the Kentucky General Assembly in 1976 and focused her attention on issues affecting the poor and the elderly. In 1980 she became the first woman to chair a standing committee in the state legislature. Bendl died of a heart attack in June 1987, cutting short a promising political career. The collection fully documents Bendlís terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives, with a small amount of material on her community involvement in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, from 1957 to 1958 and in Louisville from late 1960s to early 1970s.
Repository : University Archives