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Grace Kaercher Davis, Clerk of Supreme Court 1923-1935, 1939-1955

Grace Kaercher Davis

Portrait of Grace Kaercher Davis


Grace Kaercher Davis was the first woman elected to statewide office in Minnesota



Grace Fayette Kaercher was born June 17, 1887 in Auburn, Iowa to Aaron Benjamin and Gertrude Johnson Kaercher and was the fourth of 11 children. She grew up in Ortonville, Minnesota where her father was an attorney, a land owner, and owned the local newspaper. Grace worked in all of those areas, on the farm, in her father's law office and as associate editor of the Ortonville Independent newspaper, which he also owned.

In 1922 she ran for Supreme Court Clerk on the Republican Ticket. She overcame the opposition of at least 5 other candidates to win the endorsement. She went on to win the election and became the first woman elected to a statewide office.

Grace Kaercher married Edward A. Davis May 25, 1927. She continued to use her maiden name officially until 1928 when she changed it to Kaercher Davis.

She held the position as Clerk, running for re-election every four years until 1934, when she was beat in the election by Russell O. Gunderson. After his term was up, he didn't run for re-election and Kaercher Davis ran again and won her position back, which she held until her retirement in 1954 after losing the election. She served in the position for a total of 28 years. After her retirement from the court, she joined the insurance firm Fred L. Gray Insurance Co.

Edward Davis died in 1943. She had no children and never remarried. After her husband's death she lived with a friend who wrote poetry and Grace drew the illustrations for her published books.

In 1956, the position of Supreme Court Clerk was converted to an appointment rather than elected position.

She died September 27, 1965 in Minneapolis after a long illness. She was 78 years old.

You may read more about Grace Kaercher Davis in the resources linked in this guide which are the sources for this brief biography. 

Image Credits: Grace Kaercher Davis, Minneapolis, (1932), Photograph courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society, por 14345 Lee 1