Carrie Chapman Catt Biography

Carrie Chapman Catt was an American women’s rights activist who campaigned for the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Quick Facts

Birthday: January 9, 1859

Nationality: American

Famous: Feminists Women's Rights Activists

Died At Age: 88

Sun Sign: Capricorn

Born in: Ripon

Famous as: Women’s Rights Activists

Died on: March 9, 1947

place of death: New Rochelle

Founder/Co-Founder: Woman's Peace Party, League of Women Voters, National American Woman Suffrage Association, International Alliance of Women

More Facts

education: Iowa State University

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Carrie Chapman Catt was an American women’s rights activist who campaigned for the Nineteenth Amendment of U.S. Constitution. She designed the strategy for the ultimate victory of the woman's suffrage movement and founded the League of Women Voters. Born in Wisconsin, Carrie was raised in lowa and worked as a teacher in order to pay her own way through Iowa State College. Then, she served as the superintendent of schools for a couple of years and worked in newspapers before getting involved in social activism. After the demise of her first husband, she joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), later assuming the position of its president, and emerged as a leader in the fight to earn women’s voting rights. Later, she assumed the command of the New York woman's suffrage movement and was reelected the head of NAWSA in 1915. As president, she reorganized NAWSA and worked out a 6-year plan, securing a constitutional amendment that empowered women with the right to vote. Carrie founded the League of Women Voters as a means to advance those reforms for which women had sought the ballot and later also contributed in the Committee on the Cause and Cure of War during the 1920s. An effective speaker, a brilliant organizer, a diplomat and a politician, Carrie worked for women empowerment and social welfare throughout her life

Childhood & Early Life
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  • In 1885, after her first marriage, Carrie started working with her husband on the Mason City Republican newspaper. Upon her husband’s death the following year, she worked for a newspaper in San Francisco for a while.
  • In 1887, she returned to Iowa and became involved in social activism, joining the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association. For the next three years, she devoted herself to shaping the association and also lectured on woman suffrage, first in Iowa and then nationally.
  • In 1900, she was elected the president of the ‘National American Woman Suffrage Association’ (NAWSA). During her term, she augmented the size of the association’s membership and also conducted considerable fund-raising.
  • In 1904, she was forced to resign from her post due to her second husband's ill health but after his death in 1905, Carrie returned to social service and subsequently became involved with the ‘International Woman Suffrage Alliance’.
  • From 1905 to 1915, Carrie re-organized the NAWSA along political-district lines and trained women to indulge in direct political action. In 1915, she again became its president and devised a secret “winning plan” for women empowerment.
  • Thereafter, the organization adopted her plan and focused on the women’s suffrage issue which culminated in the passage of federal amendment in 1920 which granted women the right to vote.
  • After its adoption, Carrie helped in the founding of the ‘League of Women Voters’ to advance the ongoing progressive legislation throughout the nation. Subsequently, she secured the cooperation of 11 national women’s organizations in the ‘Committee on the Cause and Cure of War’ to urge U.S. participation in a world organization for peace.
  • She actively supported the ‘League of Nations’ and helped in establishing the ‘Woman's Peace Party’. She served on the ‘Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense’ and also became a strong supporter of international disarmament.
Major Works
  • In 1915, she became the head of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and put into effect a “Winning Plan” which resulted in the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920, granting women the right to vote.
  • Along with being a key figure in the passing of the constitutional amendment, Carrie served as president of the ‘National American Woman Suffrage Association’, and also established the ‘League of Women Voters’ and the ‘International Alliance of Women’.
Awards & Achievements
  • In 1930, Carrie was conferred the ‘Pictorial Review Award’ for her international disarmament work.
  • In 1975, she became the first person to be inducted in the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame.
  • In 1982, Carrie became an inductee of the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
  • In 1992, she was listed among the ten most important women of the century by the Iowa Centennial Memorial Foundation.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • In 1884, Carrie married Leo Chapman, a newspaper editor, and subsequently joined him as a co-editor. The marriage ended with Leo’s untimely death in 1886.
  • In 1890, four years after the death of her first husband, Carrie married George W. Catt, a wealthy engineer. In 1904, she left social activism to look after her ailing husband but unfortunately George died the following year. After his death, Carrie lived with Mary Garrett Hay, a suffragist leader from New York, for 20 years.
  • Carrie Chapman Catt died on March 9, 1947 in New Rochelle, New York, U.S.A, at the age of 88. She was interred, alongside Hay, at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York, U.S.

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