Pelosi is Italian-American and was born Nancy Patricia D’Alesandro in Baltimore, Maryland, the youngest of six children of Annunciata M. “Nancy” (née Lombardi) and Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr., who was a Democratic party U.S. Congressman from Maryland and a Mayor of Baltimore.Pelosi’s brother, Thomas D’Alesandro III, also a Democrat, was mayor of Baltimore from 1967 to 1971, when he declined to run for a second term.
Pelosi was involved with politics from an early age. In her outgoing remarks as the 60th Speaker of the House, Pelosi noted that she had been present at John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address as President in January 1961. She graduated from the Institute of Notre Dame, a Catholic all-girls high school in Baltimore, and from Trinity College (now Trinity Washington University) in Washington, D.C., in 1962 with a B.A. in political science. Pelosi interned for Senator Daniel Brewster (D-Maryland) alongside future House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.She met Paul Frank Pelosi (b. April 15, 1940, in San Francisco) while she was attending Trinity College.They married in Baltimore at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen on September 7, 1963. After the couple married, they moved to New York, and then to San Francisco in 1969, where Mr. Pelosi’s brother, Ronald Pelosi, was a member of the City and County of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.
After moving to San Francisco, Pelosi worked her way up in Democratic politics. She became a friend of one of the leaders of the California Democratic Party, 5th District Congressman Phillip Burton.
In 1976, Pelosi was elected as a Democratic National Committee member from California, a position she would hold until 1996. She was elected as party chair for Northern California on January 30, 1977, and for the California Democratic Party, which she held from 1981 until 1983.
Pelosi was appointed Finance Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of the U.S. Senate Democrats, in 1985.That same year, she ran to succeed Chuck Manatt as chair of the Democratic National Committee, but lost to then-DNC Treasurer Paul G. Kirk. Pelosi left her post as DSCC finance chair in 1986.