RG 333: The Ellen Bozman Papers
Ellen M. Bozman, a community activist and politician for Arlington County, guided Arlington as it transitioned from a suburban to urban community during the latter half of the 20th century. Though perhaps most well-known as the longest serving Arlington County Board member (1974-1997), Bozman’s civic influence extended beyond her tenure as a board member through participation in various community organizations and governmental bodies.
Bozman’s work prior to the County Board is associated with human relations and planning. As part of the League of Women Voters, Bozman conducted educational programs to assist with integration of the public school system in Arlington in the 1950s. Later, as a member of the Community Relations Committee in the 1960s, which researched and reported on acts of discrimination to the Arlington County Board, she investigated County hiring practices of African-Americans and pushed for the adaption of non-discriminatory policies. As part of the County’s Planning Commission from 1971-1973, Bozman focused on ways to revitalize Clarendon, Arlington’s major commercial center at the time, which was soon to be disrupted by the coming Metrorail.
Bozman ran for the County Board in 1973 as an Independent candidate, though she was backed by the local Democratic party. She ran on a platform that promoted controlled growth, especially around new Metro corridors, opposition to the route I-66 in favor of other mass-transit options, maintaining neighborhoods and increasing park and recreational space, and providing new services to retired and elderly residents. She captured more than 50% of the vote in a 3-way race, becoming the first woman elected to the County Board since 1958.
Bozman won all her subsequent elections, running as an Independent candidate in every race except for her last election in 1993, during which she ran as a Democrat. She served as chairman of the County Board in 1976, 1983, 1984, 1989, 1992, and 1997.
In 2017, the Arlington County Board voted unanimously to rename the County Office Building at 2100 Clarendon Boulevard at Courthouse Plaza after Bozman, to honor her 24 years of service as a County Board member.