A long-time political activist, Elizabeth Smith Gatov served as Democratic Committeewoman for California from 1956 – 1965. In 1960, she was appointed by President Kennedy as the Treasurer of the United States, becoming the highest placed woman in that administration.
In her early years, Ms. Gatov was active in civic activities such as the Junior League, Red Cross and Sunny Hills. In 1948, she became involved in the congressional campaign of her neighbor, Roger Kent, and learned that, “Ultimately everything that’s important and lasting, if it has any social impact, gets into the political field.”
With her return from Washington, Ms. Gatov became extremely involved with Planned Parenthood, ultimately becoming the national organization’s first Public Affairs Director. Her advocacy on the issue of reproductive rights was responsible for enactment of progressive legislation at the state and federal level.
Upon the death of her husband, Ms. Gatov wrote Windows in the Dark, a primer on the fundamentals of money management designed to help women take charge of their financial lives.
On her death in 1997, one historian’s words were recounted, “Widely read in both domestic and international policy issues, deeply dedicated to the battle against social injustice, experienced in the ‘old politics’ of party and precinct organization and the ‘new politics’ of television…Libby Gatov represents all that is best in American politics. Respect, trust and integrity – her life is a personal testimonial to the glory of the democratic process at its best.”