Carrie Chapman Catt, Suffrage Leader & Educator 1859-1947
Born Carrie Lane on January 9, 1859 near Ripon, Wisconsin, Carrie was to be a key figure in the passing of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the founding of the League of Women Voters. She gained a college education from what is now Iowa State University. After working as a teacher and school principal, Carrie married Les Chapman in 1885, a newspaper editor. Unfortunately, he died the following year.
The year 1887 marked a new part of her life as she became involved in the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association. Carrie quickly became a leader in the fight to win women the right to vote and by 1900 she became the president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), taking over for legendary women's rights advocate Susan B. Anthony. Her second marriage to George Catt ended in 1905 with his death, and she became involved with the International Woman Suffrage Alliance.
Carrie was asked by NAWSA to return in 1915 to help the struggling organization after suffragist Alice Paul and others had left the group. Ms. Catt got the organization back on solid financial ground and developed a plan to get women the vote through passage of a federal amendment. Carrie was so sure of women getting the vote that she helped establish the League of Women Voters in 1920 before the amendment was passed. After the 19th Amendment was adopted, Catt left NAWSA to help women around the world gain the right to vote. She also endorsed the short-lived League of Nations and the later United Nations.