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Carrie Chapman Catt

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Title: Carrie Chapman Catt  
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Subject: Timeline of women's suffrage in the United States, Timeline of feminism in the United States, International Alliance of Women, Iowa State University, List of American feminist literature
Collection: 1859 Births, 1947 Deaths, American Anti-War Activists, American Suffragists, American Temperance Activists, Burials at Woodlawn Cemetery (Bronx), Commonwealth Land Party (United States) Politicians, Female United States Presidential Candidates, History of New Rochelle, New York, Iowa State University Alumni, People from Briarcliff Manor, New York, People from Charles City, Iowa, People from Fond Du Lac County, Wisconsin, People from Mason City, Iowa, People from New Rochelle, New York, People from Ripon, Wisconsin, Progressive Era in the United States, United States Presidential Candidates, 1920
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Carrie Chapman Catt

Carrie Chapman Catt
Born Carrie Clinton Lane
(1859-01-09)January 9, 1859
Ripon, Wisconsin
Died March 9, 1947(1947-03-09) (aged 88)
New Rochelle, New York
Catt in 1897
Carrie Chapman Catt on April 6, 1916 christening the Golden Flyer

Carrie Chapman Catt (January 9, 1859 – March 9, 1947) was an American women's suffrage leader who campaigned for the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave U.S. women the right to vote in 1920. Catt served as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and was the founder of the League of Women Voters and the International Alliance of Women. She "led an army of voteless women in 1919 to pressure Congress to pass the constitutional amendment giving them the right to vote and convinced state legislatures to ratify it in 1920" and "was one of the best-known women in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century and was on all lists of famous American women".[1]


  • Early life 1
  • Role in women's suffrage 2
    • National American Woman Suffrage Association 2.1
    • International women's suffrage movement 2.2
  • Role during the World Wars 3
  • Death and recognition 4
  • Controversy 5
  • Personal life 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10

Early life

Born Carrie Clinton Lane in Ripon, Wisconsin[2] to Lucius and Maria Louisa (Clinton) Lane, Catt spent her childhood in Charles City, Iowa. She moved to Iowa at the age of seven where she began school. As a child, Catt was interested in science and wanted to become a doctor. After graduating from high school, she enrolled at Iowa State Agricultural College (now Iowa State University) in Ames, Iowa.[3]

Catt's father was initially reluctant to allow her to attend college, but he relented, contributing only a part of the costs.[4] To make ends meet, Catt worked as a dishwasher, in the school library, and as a teacher at rural schools during school breaks.[4] Catt’s freshman class consisted of 27 students; six of whom were female.[4] Catt joined the Crescent Literary Society, a student organization aimed at advancing student learning skills and self-confidence. Because only men were allowed to speak in meetings, Catt defied the rules and spoke up during a male debate. This started a discussion about women’s participation in the group, and ultimately led to women gaining the right to speak in meetings.[5] Catt was also a member of Pi Beta Phi,[6] started an all girls' debate club, and advocated for women's participation in military drill.[7]

After three years, Catt graduated on November 10, 1880 with a Bachelor of Science degree.[8] She was the valedictorian[6] and only female in her graduating class.[9] She worked as a law clerk after graduating then she became a teacher and then superintendent of schools in Mason City, Iowa in 1885. She was the first female superintendent of the district.[10]

In February of 1885, Carrie married newspaper editor Leo Chapman, but he died in

  • The Carrie Chapman Catt Girlhood Home and Museum
  • PBS Kids: Women and the Vote
  • Information from the Library of Congress: [9] [10]
  • Carrie Chapman Catt at Find a Grave
  • The Carrie Chapman Catt Collection From the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress
  • Carrie Chapman Catt papers, 1887-1947, held by the Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library
  • Carrie Chapman Catt Papers, 1880-1958 (1.75 linear feet (0.53 linear metres)) is housed at Smith College Sophia Smith Collection.
  • American Memory biography of Carrie Chapman Catt
  • Works by Carrie Chapman Catt at Project Gutenberg
  • Works by or about Carrie Chapman Catt at Internet Archive [6] [7] [8]

External links

  • Fowler, Robert Booth. Carrie Catt: Feminist Politician (1986). ISBN 9781555530051

Further reading

  1. ^ Van Voris, Jacqueline (1996). Carrie Chapman Catt: A Public Life. New York City: Feminist Press at CUNY. p. vii.  
  2. ^ a b c d Katja Wuestenbecker. "Catt, Carrie Chapman" in World War 1: the Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection Vol. 1. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2014, p. 359.
  3. ^ Mary Gray Peck. Carrie Chapman Catt: A Biography, New York, H. W. Wilson, 1944, pp. 30-32.
  4. ^ a b c Van Voris, p. 7.
  5. ^ Van Voris, p. 8.
  6. ^ a b "Carrie Lane Chapman Catt". Traditions. ISU Alumni Association. Archived from the original on May 4, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2013. 
  7. ^ Peck, p. 33.
  8. ^ Peck, p. 34.
  9. ^ Van Voris, p. 9.
  10. ^ a b "Carrie Chapman Catt Papers, 1880-1958". Five College Archives & Manuscript Collections.  
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Carrie Chapman Catt Girlhood Home and Museum: About Carrie Chapman Catt". 
  12. ^ a b c
  13. ^ Van Voris, p. 21.
  14. ^ Bredbenner, Candice Lewis (1998). A Nationality of Her Own: Women, Marriage, and the Law of Citizenship. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 48. 
  15. ^ Munns, Roger (May 5, 1996). "University Honors Suffragette Despite Racism Charge". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  16. ^ United States Congress, Office of the Historian. Women in Congress, 1917-1990. Washington, DC: U.S. G.P.O., 1991, p. 208.
  17. ^ "Votes for Women: Carrie Chapman Catt". 
  18. ^ Nate Levin. Carrie Chapman Catt: A Life of Leadership. 2006, p. 62.
  19. ^ Peter D. Shaver (October 2003). "National Register of Historic Places Registration:Carrie Chapman Catt House".  
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i Schott, Linda. "'Middle-of-the-Road' Activists Carrie Chapman Catt and the National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War". Peace & Change, vol. 21, no. 1 (January 1996): 1-21.
  21. ^ a b Recker, Cristen. "Carrie Chapman Catt". Ladies For Liberty. Retrieved April 2, 2011. 
  22. ^ Wuestenbecker, Katja, "Catt, Carrie Chapman" in World War 1: the Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2014, ISBN 9781851099641, Vol. 1, page 359.
  23. ^ Nasaw, David (2001). The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 489.  
  24. ^ James, Edward T.; James, Janet Wilson (1974). Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary. Harvard University Press. p. 312.  
  25. ^ a b c d e Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics. "Timeline of Carrie Chapman Catt’s Life".
  26. ^ "Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947)". 
  27. ^ Michael E. Eidenmuller (2009-02-13). "Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century by Rank". American Rhetoric. Retrieved 2015-10-27. 
  28. ^ Michael E. Eidenmuller (1916-09-07). "Carrie Chapman Catt - The Crisis". American Rhetoric. Retrieved 2015-10-27. 
  29. ^ Michael E. Eidenmuller. "Carrie Chapman Catt - Address to Congress on Women's Suffrage". American Rhetoric. Retrieved 2015-10-27. 
  30. ^ a b c d e f Lisa S. Strange. "Elizabeth Cady Stanton's Woman's Bible and the Roots of Feminist Theology". Gender Issues, vol. 17, no. 4 (Fall 1999): 15-36.
  31. ^ a b "Suffragette's Racial Remark Haunts College". The New York Times, May 5, 1996. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  32. ^ a b c d "Catt Fight at Iowa State". The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, no. 18 (Winter, 1997-1998), 73-74.
  33. ^ a b c Rupp, Leila J. "Sexuality and Politics in the Early Twentieth Century: The Case of the International Women's Movement". Feminist Studies, vol. 23, no. 3 (Fall 1997): 577-605.


See also

Catt was in a relationship with Mary Garrett Hay, a suffragist leader from New York.[33] It is uncertain whether Catt was a lesbian, as she was reserved and did not care for public displays of emotional affection. Despite being married twice, Catt did not live with her husband full-time. After the death of George Catt, she and Hay lived together.[33] Hay was not a part of the international circle of elites that Catt aligned herself with; however, everyone knew that they had a special love for one another. Catt requested burial alongside Hay, rather than either of her husbands.[33]

Personal life

Catt's language resulted in a controversy at Iowa State University, the school from which she graduated. One student, who declared that the name of Catt Hall was offensive to black students,[32] engaged in a hunger strike to pressure the university to negotiate the renaming of the building.[32] He objected to Catt's statement that the only way to achieve a dominant white class was by allowing women to become “enfranchised”.[32] The Ames chapter of the NAACP also objected to the building name.[31] The building was not renamed, however.

Some historians consider Catt’s arguments and her stance on rights for women to be representative of white women only and find some of her arguments and remarks to be racist. While fighting for women’s rights around America, she made comments such as “White supremacy will be strengthened, not weakened, by women’s suffrage” and while speaking about suffrage for other ethnic groups, she referred to Indians as “savages”.[31] Debra Marquart, a professor at Iowa State University, argues that “Carrie Chapman Catt is not a woman of our time, and therefore, we cannot hold her to the standards of our time.”[32]

[30] This resolution caused a rift within NAWSA because Susan B. Anthony, who was the president at the time, supported Stanton. There was question surrounding whether or not the two should or would resign; however, they did not resign until later years.[30], and others.Alice Stone Blackwell, Henry Browne Blackwell, Anna Howard Shaw Many of the supporters of Avery included, Catt, [30] During the annual NAWSA convention in January, 1896, Avery called for a resolution. The resolution was passed 54 to 41.[30] Catt has been at the center of many controversial topics. In 1895,


Catt attained recognition for her work both during and after her lifetime. In 1926, she was featured on the cover of Time magazine and, in 1930, she received the Pictorial Review Award for her international disarmament work. In 1941, Catt received the Chi Omega award at the White House from her longtime friend Eleanor Roosevelt.[26] In 1975, Catt became the first inductee into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame.[25] A stamp was issued in 1948 in remembrance of the Seneca Falls Convention, featuring Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Lucretia Mott. In 1982, Catt was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. In 1992, the Iowa Centennial Memorial Foundation named her one of the ten most important women of the century.[25] The same year, Iowa State University established the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics and in 1992, and the Old Botany building on central campus was renovated and renamed Carrie Chapman Catt Hall in 1995.[25] Catt was played by Anjelica Huston in the 2004 film Iron Jawed Angels. In 2013, she was one of the first four women to be honored on the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge in Des Moines.[25] Catt's 1916 speech "The Crisis" about the women's suffrage movement is listed as #66 in American Rhetoric's Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century (listed by rank), and her address to congress on women's suffrage in 1917 is listed as #73 on that same list.[27][28][29]

On March 9, 1947, Catt died of a heart attack in her home in New Rochelle. She was buried at [11]

U.S. postage stamp commemorating the Seneca Falls Convention titled 100 Years of Progress of Women: 1848–1948 (Elizabeth Cady Stanton on left, Carrie Chapman Catt in middle, Lucretia Mott on right.)
Carrie Chapman Catt grave in Woodlawn Cemetery

Death and recognition

The last event she helped organize was the Women's Centennial Congress in New York in 1940, a celebration of the feminist movement in the United States.[10]

The group sent a letter of protest to Hitler in August 1933 signed by 9,000 non-Jewish American women.[23] It decried acts of violence and restrictive laws against German Jews. Catt pressured the U.S. government to ease immigration laws so that Jews could more easily take refuge in America. For her efforts, she became the first woman to receive the American Hebrew Medal.[21][24]

[22][21] In 1933 in response to

[20] During

[20] After the

This led to tension between Catt and other activists. [20] In addition, the group made it known that women’s suffrage would remain their top priority. During 1917, Catt’s attention remained strongly focused on women’s suffrage, leading her to abandon her work with the peace movement.[20].Red Cross From this meeting came the decision that the NAWSA would aid the government by helping women prepare to take over jobs while men were away and would also aid the [20] Reluctantly, Catt and Addams called a meeting to gain support from the women’s movement. Catt did not want to be the leader of the group because she believed that her support of the peace movement would hurt her international work with suffrage since leadership of the group would mean she was favoring one country over another.[20] At the beginning of

Catt was active in anti-war causes during the 1920s and 1930s. Catt resided at Juniper Ledge in the Westchester County, New York community of Briarcliff Manor from 1919 through 1928 [19] when she settled in nearby New Rochelle, New York.

Catt's home in Paine Heights section of New Rochelle

Role during the World Wars

Catt was also a leader of the international women's suffrage movement.[18] She helped to found the [11] She served as its president from 1904 until 1923. After her husbands death in 1905, Catt spent much of the following eight years as IWSA president promoting equal-suffrage rights worldwide.[12] After she retired from NAWSA, she continued to help women around the world to gain the right to vote.The IWSA remains in existence, now as the International Alliance of Women.

International women's suffrage movement

Catt continued her work for women's suffrage even after she retired from her presidency post at NAWSA due to the health problems of her second husband. Carrie became involved in the International Women's Suffrage Alliance subsequence to the death of her husband. Catt founded the League of Women Voters in 1920 encourage women to use their hard-won right in 1920 before the amendment was passed, serving as its honorary president for the rest of her life.[12] In the same year, she ran as the Presidential candidate for the ideologically Georgist Commonwealth Land Party.[15] In 1923, with Nettie Rogers Shuler, she published Woman Suffrage and Politics: The Inner Story of the Suffrage Movement.[17]

NAWSA was by far the largest organization working for women's suffrage in the U.S. From her first endeavors in Iowa in the 1880s to her last in Tennessee in 1920, Catt supervised dozens of campaigns, mobilized numerous volunteers (1 million by the end), and made hundreds of speeches. After the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Catt retired from NAWSA.[16]

In her efforts to win women's suffrage state by state, Catt sometimes appealed to the prejudices of the time. In South Dakota, Catt lamented that while women lacked suffrage, "The murderous Sioux is given the right to franchise which he is ready and anxious to sell to the highest bidder."[13] In 1894, Catt urged that uneducated immigrants be stripped of their right to vote - the United States should "cut off the vote of the slums and give it to woman."[14] "White supremacy will be strengthened, not weakened, by women's suffrage," was her argument when trying to win over Mississippi and South Carolina in 1919.[15]

In 1887, Catt returned to Charles City, where she had grown up, and became involved in the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association. From 1890 to 1892, Catt served as the Iowa association’s state organizer and groups recording secretary. During her time in office, Catt began working nationally for the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), and was even a speaker at its 1890 convention in Washington D.C.[11] In 1892, Catt was asked by [11] After endless lobbying by Catt and NAWSA, the suffrage movement culminated in the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on August 26, 1920.[12]

National American Woman Suffrage Association

Role in women's suffrage

during the late 1880s. Iowa, a cause she had become involved with in women's suffrage He encouraged her being involved in suffrage. Their marriage allowed her to spend a good part of each year on the road campaigning for [2]

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