Founded in 1987, serving St Louis for 30 years,  WDF brought distinguished speakers to our meetings to provide a political education for our members.

Sadly, after 30 years, our final meeting was Oct. 25, 2017.  

We thank our many members for their years of loyalty and friendship.  

President:  Barbara Eagleton  





Women's Democratic Forum of Greater St Louis

 Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Doris Kearns Goodwin is a world-renowned presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

Goodwin is the author of six critically acclaimed and New York Times best-selling books, including her most recent, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism (November, 2013). Winner of the Carnegie Medal, The Bully Pulpit is a dynamic history of the first decade of the Progressive era, that tumultuous time when the nation was coming unseamed and reform was in the air. Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners has acquired the film and television rights to the book.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Amy Walter is an American political analyst, currently serving as national editor of The Cook Political Report.  Before this, she served as the political director of ABC News, based in Washington, DC. Walter's work has been featured in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. She has also been featured on numerous broadcasts, most recently  Washington Week, Face the Nation (CBS), PBS Newshour (PBS), Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Andrea Mitchell Reports (MSNBC), the Daily Rundown (MSNBC), the Chris Matthews Show (MSNBC), and Meet the Press (MSNBC)


 Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Blanche Wiesen Cook:  

Distinguished Professor of history at John Jay College in

the City University of New York.  She is the author of

Eleanor Roosevelt,  Volume Three:  The War Years

and After,  1939-1962



Previous Speakers

October 24, 2016  

Mark Shields

Mark Shields is an American political columnist and commentator. Since 1988, Shields has provided weekly political analysis and commentary for the PBS NewsHour. His current on-screen counterpart is David Brooks.



Ken Rudin


Ken Rudin is an American radio journalist. As the political editor for National Public Radio, he is involved with political news on a variety of NPR programs.



Tom Lavin

Thomas P. Lavin is a Zurich trained Jungian psychoanalyst who holds a PhD in clinical psychology and a PhD in theology.   He will speak on "The Trump Phenomena and the America Psyche".  

Professor Lee Epstein


Professor Lee Epstein is the Ethan A.H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research and teaching interests center on law and legal institutions, especially, The U.S.Supremem Court, judicial behavior, and constitutional law.

Kansas City Mayor:   Sly James

St Louis Circuit Attorney:Jennifer Joyce

Topic:  Gun Violence   February 16, 2016


Sly James 

 Jennifer Joyce



Monday, December 7, 2015  

 Catherine Allan  of the Santa Fe Group

For more than 30 years, Catherine Allan has been an outstanding leader in technology strategy and financial services. She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Missouri, recognizing her professional achievements in financial services and technology.   Her topic for us,  Cyber Security, is important to all.


Tuesday,November 17, 2015

Vice President Walter Mondale


Walter Mondale served as the 42nd Vice President of the United States from 1977-1981 under President Jimmy Carter, and as a United States Senator from Minnesota from 1964-1976.  He was the Democratic candidate Party's presidential candidate in the United States presidential election of 1984.



 September 21, 2015    Dr Jill Biden


Dr Jill Biden is an American Educator and as wife of the 47th and current U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden, is the second lady of the United States.   Since 2009, she has been a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College.  She is the founder of the Biden Breast Health Initiative non profit organization,  co-founded the Book Buddies program,  is active in Delaware Boots on the Ground, and co-founded Joining Forces with  First Lady Michelle Obama.


June 23, 2015     Eliza Griswold    

 Eliza Griswold  is  an award winning poet and reporter whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the New York Times Magazine, Harper's,and the New Republic . She won a 2010 Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  She received her Guggenheim Fellowship for her ongoing work on water and poverty in America. She has held fellowships at Harvard University and at the New American Foundation. Her collection of reportage and translations of Afghan Folk Poetry,I Am the Beggar of the World, was published in 2014.   Eliza followed the story of a young Afghan poet who set herself on fire because she was forbidden to write poetry. The young Afghan girl called herself Muska, which means "smile".  Muska wrote in secret and called into a poetry hotline to read her poems aloud each week.  When her brothers found her poems, they ripped up her notebooks and beat her.  When they forbid her from writing, Muska determined to kill herself.  Eliza comments, "suicide, like writing poetry became a horrific form of self-expression".


 March 2, 2015

Judge Michael Wolff

Dean of St Louis University Law School

Former Chief Justice of Missouri Supreme Court.


February 16, 2015     Gail Sheehy

Gail Sheehy is an American author, journalist, and lecturer.  She is the author of 17 books, including Passages, named by the Library of Congress as one of the 10 most influential books of our times.


December 9, 2014   John Ashford



 Once a country and western disc jockey, John Ashford is now Chairman and CEO of The Hawthorn Group, L.C., the international public affairs and public relations firm he co- founded in 1992. Drawing on communications and public affairs experience gained in hundreds of successful political and corporate campaigns, Ashford now provides senior counsel to Hawthorn clients across the country and around the world. Raised in a small farm community, Ashford first appeared on the political scene in his native Missouri. When he was only 26 years old, the Kansas City Star had already called him a “political kingmaker.”

October 7, 2014    Jane Harman


 Jane Harman  is the former U.S. Representative for California's 36th congressional district, serving from 1993 to 1999, and from 2001 to 2011. . She resigned from Congress in February 2011 to become the President and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.  She is the first woman to lead the 45 year-old “living memorial” to America’s 28th President.  


September 17, 2014

Jolie Justus

Jolie Justus is the former Minority Leader of the Missouri House of Representatives and the first openly gay member serving in that body. She led the fight to add Sexual orientation and Gender Identity to the list of protections for individuals. Jolie Justus is a tireless voice for Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens and a champion for progress and development.


May 12, 2014        Valerie Plame Wilson

Valerie Plame Wilson  is a former United States CIA Operations Officer and the author of a memoir detailing her career and the events leading up to her resignation from the CIA.

April 3, 2014      

Mark Leibovich  

April 3, 2014  Mark Leibovich is an American journalist and author. He is the chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, based in Washington, D.C. He is known for his profiles on political and media figures.

February 3, 2014

Alison Stewart is an American radio and television journalist and author.  

Alison Stewart is the former host of TED Radio Hour. Prior to that role, Stewart had been hosting the PBS news magazine Need to Know .   She is the author of the book:

   First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America's First Black Public High School 

 Dunbar High School in Washington, DC, defied the odds and, in the process, changed America. In the first half of the twentieth century, Dunbar was an academically elite public school, despite being racially segregated by law and existing at the mercy of racist congressmen who held the school’s purse strings. These enormous challenges did not stop the local community from rallying for the cause of educating its children.      Dunbar attracted an extraordinary faculty: one early principal was the first black graduate of Harvard, almost all the teachers had graduate degrees, and several earned PhDs—all extraordinary achievements given the Jim Crow laws of the times. Over the school’s first eighty years, these teachers developed generations of highly educated, high-achieving African Americans, groundbreakers that included the first black member of a presidential cabinet, the first black graduate of the US Naval Academy, the first black army general, the creator of the modern blood bank, the first black state attorney general, the legal mastermind behind school desegregation, and hundreds of educators. By the 1950s, Dunbar High School was sending 80 percent of its students to college. Today, as with too many troubled urban public schools, the majority of Dunbar students struggle with reading and math. Journalist and author Alison Stewart, whose parents were both Dunbar graduates, tells the story of the school’s rise, fall, and path toward resurgence as it looks to reopen its new, state-of-the-art campus in the fall of 2013



December 11, 2013


Timothy McBride is currently a Professor and Associate Dean of Public Health in the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis

Professor McBride is an influential health policy analyst and leading health economist shaping the national agenda in rural health care, health insurance, and health reform, Medicare and Medicaid policy, health economics, and access to health care. Professor McBride has been active in testifying before Congress and consulting with important policy constituents on health reform, Medicare, Medicaid and rural health policy.


October 22, 2013

 Madeleine M. Kunin

an American diplomat and politician. She was the 77th Governor of Vermont from 1985 until 1991, as a member of the Democratic Party. She also served as United States Ambassador to Switzerland from 1996 to 1999. She was Vermont's first and, to date, only female governor as well as the first Jewish governor of Vermont. She was also the first Jewish woman to be elected governor of a U.S. state. Kunin is currently the James Marsh Professor-at-Large at the University of Vermont.

September 10, 2013

Linda B. Cottler

Linda B. Cottler, PhD, MPH, is Dean’s Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Epidemiology, and Associate Dean for Research at the College of Public Health and Health Professions, at the University of Florida. Prior to that, Cottler was at Washington University in St. Louis for 30 years.  Her research, ranging from local community engagement to international in scope, includes development of assessments of substance use, misuse, abuse and dependence, as well as interventions aimed at reducing high risk sexual and drug-using behaviors.  She has authored well over 200 publications, and received numerous awards.  She has also mentored more than 60 fellows and directed several training programs.


April 16, 2013    

Arianna Huffington

  A Greek-American author and syndicated columnist. She is best known for her news website The Huffington Post.

In 2009, Huffington was named as number 12 in Forbes' first-ever list of the Most Influential Women In Media.     She has also moved up to number 42 in The Guardian's Top 100 in Media List.    

In 2011, AOL acquired The Huffington Post for US $315 million and made Huffington president and editor in chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, which included The Huffington Post and then-existing AOL properties such as Engadget, AOL Music, Patch Media, and Style List

  Friday, February 8, 2013


 Alan S. Blinder has been on the Princeton faculty since 1971, taking time off from January 1993 through January 1996 for service in the U.S. government—first as a member of President Clinton’s original Council of Economic Advisers, and then as Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System



December 5, 2012 --- John Meacham

 Jon Meacham, who has accepted a top position at Random House.

 is executive editor and executive vice president at Random House. A former editor of Newsweek and a Pulitzer Prize Winning bestselling  author and a commentator on politics, history,  and religious faith in American, he is a contributing editor to Time magazine and editor-at-large oWNET Public Media, the New York public television station.

   October 17, 2012 William Chafe


William H. Chafe is the former Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and former Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Duke University and is currently an Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of History. Chafe is cofounder of the Duke-UNC Center for Research on Women, the Duke Center for the Study of Civil Rights and Race Relations, and the Duke Center for Documentary Studies.

September 12, 2012     Marjorie Margolies

Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky  is an adjunct faculty member at theUniversity of Pennsylvania and a women's right activist. She is a former journalist and a former politician for the Democratic Party. From 1993 to 1995 she was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Pennsylvania


August 21, 2012   Claire McCaskill

Claire  McCaskill  is the senior United States Senator from Missouri . In 2006 she became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri in her own right. She became the state's senior U.S. Senator upon the retirement of Kit Bond in 2011 and is running for re-election

May 11, 2012:   Bill Bradley

William (Bill) Bradley is an American Hall of Fame

Basketball player, Rhodes Scholar, and former three-term

Democratic U.S. Senator from New Jersey.


 May 4, 2012   Donna Brazile


 Donna Brazile is an author, professor, and political analyst.  She was the first African American to direct  a major presidential campaign: for Al Gore in 2000.  Ms Brazile served as interim chair of the Democratic National Committee in the spring of 2011.  She guest starred in two episodes of "The Good Wife". 


 March 14, 2012  Lilly Ledbetter

 Grace and Grit:  My Fight for equal pay at Goodyear and beyond.

 In 1979, Lilly was hired for her dream job in management at Goodyear, one of the first women hired at that level. Nineteen years later, Lilly received an anonymous note saying she was making thousands less per year than men in her position. Lilly's fight to right this injustice would change her life forever, and make her a true American icon.       When she filed a sex discrimination case against Goodyear, Lilly won--and then heartbreakingly lost on appeal. Over the next eight years her case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, where she lost again. And yet Lilly continued to fight, her determination becoming a victory for the nation when she became the namesake of Obama's first piece of legislation as president

February 8, 2012 

  Joe Nocera:

  Joe Nocera is a business journalist and author. He became a business columnist for The New York Times in April 2005. In March 2011, Nocera became a regular opinion columnist for The Times' Op-Ed page, writing on Tuesdays and Saturdays.   Nocera is also a business commentator for NPR’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon

   December 8, 2011

Iver Bernstein



 Reckoning With the United States's Longest War: Interpreting the Civil War at 150


Iver Bernstein, Professor of History and American Culture Studies at Washington University, is a B.A. graduate of Brown University and received his doctorate from Yale. He is the author of The New York City Draft Riots: Their Significance for American Society and Politics in the Age of the Civil War (Oxford University Press), republished in a new edition in 2010 and considered the definitive authority on that pivotal event in American history. He is now completing a book manuscript on the coming of the Civil War titled, Stripes and Scars: The Revitalization of America and the Origins of the Civil War (also to be published by Oxford); he has published articles on Lincoln's political use of his own body, on black life in Civil War-era New York and a variety of other topics in 19th-Century US and Civil War History. Prof. Bernstein has been featured or appeared on MSNBC-Newsweek on-line, NPR, the History Channel and other media outlets. He teaches a wide range of courses on Civil War-era America, the history of slavery and race. He is completing a new book, Stripes & Scars: The Revitalization of America and the Origins of the Civil War, also to be published by Oxford



Nov 7, 2011
David Axelrod

David Axelrod served as senior advisor to President Barack H. Obama, senior advisor to the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition and senior strategist to Barack Obama's campaign for the presidency. During his time at the White House, Axelrod was the Administration's most frequent presence on the influential Sunday talk shows including NBC’s Meet the Press, ABC’s This Week, CBS’s Face theNation, Fox News Sunday and CNN’s State of the Union. He also appeared several times on TheTonight Show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Late Show with David Letterman just to name a few. Axelrod was born in New York City on February 22, 1955, and graduated from Stuyvesant High
School and the University of Chicago. He served as an Adjunct Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University and has lectured on political media at Harvard University, the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania.

Sept 1, 2011

Leonard Pitts Jr.

Leonard Pitts, Jr. is a journalist and novelist and a nationally-syndicated columnist and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. He lives in Bowie, Maryland. He has won awards for his writing from the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and was first nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1993, eventually claiming the honor in 2004. Pitts gained national recognition for his widely circulated column of September 12, 2001, "We'll Go Forward From This Moment," in which he described the toughness of the American spirit in the face of the September 11 attacks.

May 3, 2011

Michael Waldman:


  Michael Waldman is Executive Director of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, a policy institute focusing on democracy and justice. Mr. Waldman was Director of Speechwriting for President Bill Clinton from 1995-99, responsible for writing or editing some 2000 presidential speeches. Previously, he was Special Assistant to the President for Policy Coordination (1993-5). He is author of several books, most recently Return to Common Sense: Seven Bold Ways to Revitalize Democracy(2008), My Fellow Americans (2003) and POTUS Speaks (2000).

 March 24, 2011

Professor Sidney Watson:    St Louis University

150J.D., Harvard Law School, 1977   Professor Watson is a specialist in health law and health care access for the poor. She has spent her legal career advocating on behalf of low-income people, both as a legal services lawyer and as a law professor. Professor Watson is a former member of the ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty. She also served on the National Health Law Program Task Force on Civil Rights and Health Care Reform during the Clinton Health Reform Initiative

 January 25, 2011
Sally Blackmun

  The daughter of the author of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade talks about her father's collection, the hate mail her father brought home and her own emergence as a pro-choice advocate.


    November 8, 2010
Bill Kovach:

Bill Kovach is an American journalist, former Washington bureau chief of The New York Times, former editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and co-author of the popular book, The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and The Public Should Expect. He also serves on the faculty of the Missouri School of Journalism. "Journalism is the closest thing I have to a religion, because I believe deeply in the role and responsibility the journalists have to the people of a self-governing community.”


 October 4, 2010
Nicholas Kristof:

Journalist, author op-ed columnist, and a winner of two Pulitzer Prizes. He has written an op-ed column for The New York Times since November 2001 and is widely known for bringing to light human rights abuses in Asia and Africa, such as human trafficking and the Darfur conflict.



September 14, 2010
Ken Rudin:

NPR's political editor, Mr. Rudin contributes to a variety of NPR programs.. Rudin also cohosts a weekly podcast called It's All Politics, a segment called The Political Junkie on the NPR program Talk of the Nation and writes a column of the same name for



April 6, 2010
Ambassador Louis Susman:

United States Ambassador to the Court of St James



May 21, 2010
Helen Thomas:

News service reporter, a columnist for Hearst Newspapers, member of the White House Press Corps, and author.

*(Helen Thomas' appearance before our group was 10 days before her unfortunate statements were made public on Memorial Day about sending all Israelis back to Poland and Germany and America.  Had her feelings on this subject been known to us before her visit here, we would not have extended an invitation for her to speak to our group. We apologize to our members who were offended. We were unaware of her feelings on this issue until they were publicized after her visit to St Louis.)


January 12, 2010
Bill Wolff

Vice-president of prime-time programming for the cable news channel MSNBC and the producer of the Rachel Maddow show. At MSNBC, he was previously the executive producer of The Situation with Tucker Carlson - later called Tucker - before his promotion in 2005.
Bill was born and raised in St Louis and his mother, Carolyn, is a member of the Women’s Democratic Forum. Bill spoke to us of how the Rachel Maddow show is put together daily.
Many members of his family and friends from Clayton High School were in attendance as well as a large audience of members and guests.

November 6, 2009
Senator Jean Carnahan

Jean Carnahan

Senator Carnahan stepped in to replace Senator Claire McCaskill who was called back to Washington that day.
Senator Carnahan has just published a book: The Tide Always Comes Back and other Irrefutable Truths and Assurances.
Senator Carnahan entertained us with passages from her book and anecdotes about the history of women in politics.
One lucky person at each table received a copy of the book as a gift of the Women's Democratic Forum.
After the Senator spoke, Robin Carnahan was gracious enough to take questions from the floor.
The meeting provided a pleasant afternoon for members and guests.

 September 23, 2009

David Brooks

David Brooks displayed a lot of humor and wit along with his serious talk, in his appearance at the November meeting of the Women’s Democratic Forum.
The humor shone through in the stories of his early life; from his “liberal parents” to the satirical essay he wrote about William F Buckley which led Buckley to offer Brooks a job at the National Review. He confessed to being a passionate New York Mets fan and as such, was pained to be in St Louis in the presence of the League-leading Cardinals.


















April 10, 2020