Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Carrie Chapman Catt

Carrie Chapman Catt | Wisconsin Historical Society

In Pedrick Wayside, Hwy. 23, Ripon, Fond du Lac County 

A national leader of the woman suffrage movement, Carrie Chapman Catt was born in Ripon, Wisconsin, in 1859 and spent most of her life as a tireless crusader for women's rights. A gifted organizer, political strategist, and public speaker, Catt suc­ceeded Susan B. Anthony as president of the nation's most important suffrage group, the National American Woman Suffrage Association, from 1900-4 and 1915-20. She transformed the movement into a purposeful organization and led the suc­cessful campaign for ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote. After passage of the amend­ment in 1920, Catt helped found and served as first president of the League of Women Voters. Her concern with women's rights was worldwide, and in 1904 she was elected first president of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance and served in the post until 1923. In later years, she was active in the international peace and disarmament movement. She died in New Rochelle, New York, in 1947.

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[Source: McBride, Sarah Davis. History Just Ahead (Madison:WHS, 1999).]