Elizabeth MONROE

Elizabeth MONROE

Female 1913 - 1996

Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All

  • Name  Elizabeth MONROE  [1, 2, 3
    Born  5 Apr 1913  Cleveland, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3, 4
    Gender  Female 
    Died  27 Jan 1996  Cooper Medical C, Camden, New Jersey Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID  I546  Munro
    Last Modified  31 Jan 2009 

    Father  Francis Adair MONROE, Jr.,   b. 26 Nov 1878, New Orleans, Orleans Par., Louisiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Nov 1969 
    Mother  Elizabeth MCNAIRY,   b. 8 Sep 1888,   d. 1974, New Orleans, Orleans Par., Louisiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  12 Jun 1912 
    Family ID  F259  Group Sheet

    Family  Fitzhugh Willets BOGGS,   b. 23 Dec 1911,   d. 1971 
    Married  20 Sep 1941  [3, 4
     1. Living
    Last Modified  31 Jan 2009 
    Family ID  F260  Group Sheet

  • Notes 
    • Elizabeth was born 5 Apr 1913, in Cleveland, Ohio. Her father was an engineer and her mother was from a well-to-do Cleveland family. Early in life, Elizabeth displayed intellectual gifts, but she was not particularly interested in the social graces of high society.

      She graduated summa cum laude from Bryn Mawr in 1935 and then became the only woman studying theoretical chemistry at Cambridge University. She received her Ph.D. there in 1939 just as war was breaking out in Europe. She agreed to delay her return to the United States after being asked to do secret work involving explosives.

      Elizabeth accepted a position at Cornell University and went back to the United States. She shared an office with Fitzhugh Boggs, a graduate student at Cornell. Their sharing of space became a sharing of lives. They were married in Sep 1941.

      During the war, both of them worked on secret projects which neither could discuss with the other. Fitzhugh worked on devices being developed to jam German radar. Elizabeth was involved in the Manhattan Project, America's successful effort to build an atomic bomb.

      Their son, David, was born in 1945. An early illness is believed to have caused his mental retardation, which led to a major fork in Elizabeth's career road. Reluctantly turning from science, she applied her brilliant mind to research into special education, residential services and other aspects of treatment of people with disabilities. They kept David at home as long as they could, but finally made the difficult decision to place him in a private residential home on the Jersey shore. Although Elizabeth didn't cry easily, she broke down in tears after returning home from leaving her son.

      Elizabeth dedicated her life to public policy and founded The Arc of Hunterdon County, New Jersey; The Arc of New Jersey; and in 1950, The Arc of the United States. She served as chairman of The Arc's Governmental Affairs Committee from 1965-1971 and continued as a member or advisor for the rest of her life. In 1995, she served on the Year 2000 Strategic Plan committee and attended all 46 of The Arc's national conventions.

      Elizabeth commanded the attention of presidents, congressmen and heads of state. She served on The President's Panel on Mental Retardation during the Kennedy administration, and she worked with members of Congress to craft the Supplemental Security Income program for people with developmental disabilities. During the Nixon administration, Dr. Boggs helped write the Developmental Disabilities Act, another key piece of legislation. With disabilities activist Justin Dart, she worked on the Americans with Disabilities Act. She also wrote the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons.

      At the last national convention of The Arc that she attended in Oct 1996, she asked to address the audience at the annual meeting. She presented some wide ranging observations about The Arc that were a mix of praise, criticism, great pride and gentle rebuke. She also spoke of slowing down and said she may not be back for the next convention. Many in the audience feard she was saying good bye. At about 1:30 p.m. on Jan 21 1996, her car skidded and crashed into a telephone pole on an icy street in Union Township, New Jersey, near her home. She was airlifted to Cooper Medical Center in Camden, where she died of her injuries on 27 Jan.

      Upon her death, President Bill Clinton said, "Elizabeth has left to the world a priceless legacy of hope and opportunity. But I know that if she could speak to us today, she would challenge us to remember that our words of support for empowerment and equality must be reflected in our policies."

      Beyond her legendary, steel-trap mind, it was Elizabeth's energy and wide-ranging interests that amazed others. Well into her final decade, she was a world traveler, gourmet cook, gardener, photographer, and she regularly went ballooning. There is a wonderful photo of her snorkeling, gliding through tropical waters in her bathing suit, gear, and T-shirt with The Arc's logo.

      Elizabeth lived in Hampton, New Jersey, and at 75 Edgemont Road in Upper Montclair, New Jersey.

      Ref: Clan Munro files - Kendall, Moyna Monroe
      - Williams, John Herbert - letter 29 Jan 1996


      (1) "Munro Eagle" - #26 - 1996 - p. 19-21

      Compiled and edited by Allen Alger, Genealogist, Clan Munro Association, USA

  • Sources 
    1. [S344] Clan Munro files - Johnson, Monroe, Monroe Johnson, Descendants of Andrew Monroe - received 22 Apr 2004 - p. 104 (Reliability: 3).

    2. [S645] Clan Munro files - Boggs, Elizabeth Monroe, Elizabeth Monroe Boggs, Membership application for Elizabeth Monroe Boggs - 18 De c 1982 (Reliability: 3).

    3. [S666] Descendants of Judge Frank Adair Monroe, (reprint, n.p.: n.p., 1991.).

    4. [S645] Clan Munro files - Boggs, Elizabeth Monroe, Elizabeth Monroe Boggs, Francis Adair Monroe, Jr. (descendants) (Reliability: 3).