Elizabeth Snyder; Led State Democratic Party

Elizabeth Snyder, the first chairwoman of the state Democratic Party in California, has died of emphysema at age 84.

Snyder died Wednesday in a Los Angeles hospital.

The Democratic Party chairwoman from 1954 to 1956, Snyder was a campaign manager and close political associate of such leading Los Angeles politicians as Reps. James Roosevelt and Chet Holifield, county Supervisor Ernest Debs, county Assessor Phil Watson and Dist. Atty. Joseph Busch.

She also had a leading local role in the 1952 presidential campaign of Adlai Stevenson, and once described Rep. Jerry Voorhis, who was defeated by Richard Nixon in his first congressional campaign in 1946, as her political hero.

Snyder came to Los Angeles from her native city of Minneapolis in 1927 as a teenager and graduated from Garfield High School.

An outspoken feminist, she lamented the difficulties of passing the Equal Rights Amendment in 1980, saying, “The going is very tough. . . . It is important that we are not always just talking to ourselves. There is just no question that we must be talking in a much broader frame than we have.”


Former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Rosalind Wyman on Thursday paid tribute to Snyder, a friend for half a century, as “probably touching more lives than anyone I’ve ever known, and made all of them better.”

Snyder is survived by her husband of 57 years, Nate, and her daughter, U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder, who is based in Los Angeles.