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Anastasia (Ana) Frohmiller  (b. 1891, d. 1971)
Ana Frohmiller Arizona Capitol Museum Ana Frohmiller campaign ad, 1950
Ana Frohmiller, the first woman to hold the position of state auditor in Arizona, became known as the "Watchdog of the Arizona Treasury" during her twenty-four year tenure. In 1950, she took on a new challenge, becoming the first woman to run for governor in the state.

Region: Phoenix and Central Arizona
Theme: Women in Politics and Government

Anastasia Frohmiller was born in Burlington, Vermont, on July 18, 1891. Her family moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1898. When her mother passed away, Ana was only sixteen, yet she assumed the responsibility of caring for her six younger siblings. Although she was unable to complete her education at Phoenix Union High School, Ana quickly found work as a bookkeeper, and accepted a job at the Babbitt Brothers Mercantile store in Flagstaff in 1911. Anna moved her brothers and sisters with her to Flagstaff. There she continued her education through night school and correspondence classes in the law.

Frohmiller accepted an appointment as Coconino County Treasurer in 1920. Two years later she ran on the Democratic ticket for this office and won. In 1925 she founded the Flagstaff Business and Professional Women's Club which backed her successful run for state auditor in 1926. Frohmiller became one of only two women to hold that office in the United States. She served until 1950, often coming into conflict with state officials. She supervised a staff of 50 people overseeing the state payrolls, expense accounts, contractor bills, and relief pensions. During her tenure, she filed numerous suits against public officials for malfeasance, fraud, and waste of public funds, earning the title "Watchdog of the Arizona Treasury." In 1943, she was able to enact a new financial code for the state that granted the state auditor comprehensive control over the state budget.

Frohmiller resigned her position to run for governor in 1950 and surprised everyone in the Democratic Party when she won over five male nominees in the primary election. In the general election, she faced Howard Pyle, a popular radio talk show host whose campaign manager was Barry Goldwater. She had several factors working against her campaign, including the reluctance of the Democratic Party to raise money for a twice-divorced female candidate who had often prosecuted Democrats for fraud. With only lackluster support from her own party, Frohmiller lost in a closely contested race, narrowly missing the opportunity to become Arizona's first female governor. She died in Prescott in 1971. Visit the Arizona Capitol Museum, located at 1700 W. Washington where Ana Frohmiller worked. It is open to the public Monday through Saturday. Call for hours 602-926-3620.

For additional information see:
Jones, Kay F. "Ana Frohmiller: Watchdog of the Arizona Treasury," Journal of Arizona History (1984): 349-368.

Photo Credits:
Ana Frohmiller - Courtesy of Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, Archives Division, 97-8528
Arizona Capitol Museum - Courtesy of Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, Museum Division
Ana Frohmiller campaign card, - Courtesy of Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, Archives Division, 97-8530

 

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