SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT AND WOMEN'S HISTORY
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Admin/Biog History Sarah S. James was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin circa 1862, the daughter of Ebenezer James, a pioneer lumberman, manufactuer, and merchant. She grew up in a household with five sisters and at least one brother at 98 High Street. Sarah graduated from the Oshkosh Normal School in 1882 and also graduated from the Teacher's College of Columbia University in New York City. By 1884 she was teaching in Oshkosh High School and would continue to until 1911 when she retired to devote her full attention to the suffrage movement. She helped organize and became the president of the Equal Suffrage League of Oshkosh. Her offices were located at Room "I" in the Cook's Block on the corner of Main and Algoma. She also held meetings in her home. Sarah was also the recording secretary for the Political Equality League of Wisconsin and served as an officer alongside with Rose Swart (Oshkosh Normal School) and Jessie Jack Hooper (wife of Oshkosh Attorney Ben Hooper). Sarah helped organize local events, speaking engagements, and letter campaigns. She went to the Republican National Convention in Chicago to picket in 1920 and Washington D.C. Sarah spent the rest of her life at her home on High street living with two other maiden sisters. In February 1939, she fell walking home from downtown and broke her hip. She died at mercy Hospital on February 14, 1939.
Carrie Lane Chapman Catt, 1859-1947
Carrie Clinton Lane Chapman Catt--suffragist, early feminist, political activist, and Iowa State alumna--was born on January 9, 1859, in Ripon, Wisconsin, to Maria Clinton and Lucius Lane. At the close of the Civil War, the Lanes moved to a farm near Charles City, Iowa, where they remained throughout their lives.
Catt entered Iowa State College, Ames, Iowa, in 1877 and completed her degree in three years. She graduated at the top of her class and, while in Ames, established military drills for women and became the first female student to give an oration before a debating society. She earned money as assistant to the librarian, and was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority.
After graduation, she became the high school principal in Mason City, Iowa. Two years later, in 1883, she was appointed Mason City School superintendent, one of the first women to hold such a position. In this capacity she met Leo Chapman, publisher and editor of the Mason City Republican. They married in February 1885.
After her husband's tragic death from typhoid in 1886, Catt worked in California as a newspaper reporter and then returned to Iowa in 1887 to begin her crusade for woman suffrage. She joined and became an organizer for the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association. Early in her suffrage work, Catt became reacquainted with an Iowa State College classmate, George W. Catt, a Seattle, Washington, engineer. They were married in 1890. George Catt supported his wife's work both financially and personally, until his death in October 1905.
As an organizer, Carrie Chapman Catt was highly successful. In 1895, she became chairwoman of the organization committee in charge of field work for the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). In 1900, she was elected to succeed Susan B. Anthony as president of the association. She also was a leader in the formation of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance during the years 1902-1904. She served as president from its founding until 1923 and thereafter as honorary chairwoman.
Catt resigned as president of NAWSA in 1904, due to her husband's illness, but was again elected president in December 1915. Buoyed by the nearly $1 million bequest of Miriam Leslie, the organization adopted Catt's "Winning Plan" and opened a massive drive for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing national woman suffrage. President Woodrow Wilson's conversion to the cause of suffrage in 1918 attested to the effectiveness of Catt's flexible strategy of working at both federal and state levels to build support for woman suffrage. Tireless lobbying in Congress and then in state legislatures finally produced a ratified 19th Amendment in August 1920.
When the women's vote was attained in 1920, Catt encouraged the formation of the League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan educational group. Catt was honorary president of the group for the rest of her life. The League remains active today and is frequently a training ground for women who later compete for electoral office.
At the outbreak of World War I, Catt joined Jane Addams and others in forming the Woman's Peace Party. In 1923, she published "Woman Suffrage and Politics: The Inner Story of the Suffrage Movement" with Nettie R. Schuler. In 1925, she founded the Committee on the Cause and Cure of War and served as chairwoman of the organization until 1932 (thereafter as its honorary chairwoman). She also was active in support of the League of Nations, relief for Jewish refugees from Germany during and after World War II, and a child-labor amendment to the U.S. Constitution. She strongly supported the United Nations after World War II.
Catt attained recognition for her work throughout her life and received many awards such as the Chi Omega, the Pictorial Review Award for her international disarmament work in 1930, the American Hebrew Medal, and induction into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame. She donated her entire estate to her alma mater, where, in 1921, she was the first woman to deliver a commencement address. She died in March 1947 at her home in New Rochelle, New York.
Classification Archives
Collection Sarah James
Dates of Accumulation 1911
Abstract Letter from Carrie Chapman Catt, famous suffragist and president of NAWSA, to Sarah James concerning Sarah's nomination for recognition in the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

"....Your name has been sent to us as a Pioneer and one worthy of a Distinguished Service Certificate. We are mailing this to you by the same mail.
We are aware that every stroke made for the cause by each one of the workers in all the sixty years which lie behind us has formed the sum-total of effort which has produced the present result.
With congratulations that you have lived to see this day, and the fond hope that you may live to enjoy the blessings of full enfranchisement for many a year to come, I am

Yours very cordially,
Carrie Chapman Catt
President
Category 8: Communication Artifact
Notes Carrie Lane Chapman Catt
1859-1947
Carrie Clinton Lane Chapman Catt--suffragist, early feminist, political activist, and Iowa State alumna--was born on January 9, 1859, in Ripon, Wisconsin, to Maria Clinton and Lucius Lane. At the close of the Civil War, the Lanes moved to a farm near Charles City, Iowa, where they remained throughout their lives.

Catt entered Iowa State College, Ames, Iowa, in 1877 and completed her degree in three years. She graduated at the top of her class and, while in Ames, established military drills for women and became the first female student to give an oration before a debating society. She earned money as assistant to the librarian, and was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority.

After graduation, she became the high school principal in Mason City, Iowa. Two years later, in 1883, she was appointed Mason City School superintendent, one of the first women to hold such a position. In this capacity she met Leo Chapman, publisher and editor of the Mason City Republican. They married in February 1885.

After her husband's tragic death from typhoid in 1886, Catt worked in California as a newspaper reporter and then returned to Iowa in 1887 to begin her crusade for woman suffrage. She joined and became an organizer for the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association. Early in her suffrage work, Catt became reacquainted with an Iowa State College classmate, George W. Catt, a Seattle, Washington, engineer. They were married in 1890. George Catt supported his wife's work both financially and personally, until his death in October 1905.

As an organizer, Carrie Chapman Catt was highly successful. In 1895, she became chairwoman of the organization committee in charge of field work for the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). In 1900, she was elected to succeed Susan B. Anthony as president of the association. She also was a leader in the formation of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance during the years 1902-1904. She served as president from its founding until 1923 and thereafter as honorary chairwoman.

Catt resigned as president of NAWSA in 1904, due to her husband's illness, but was again elected president in December 1915. Buoyed by the nearly $1 million bequest of Miriam Leslie, the organization adopted Catt's "Winning Plan" and opened a massive drive for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing national woman suffrage. President Woodrow Wilson's conversion to the cause of suffrage in 1918 attested to the effectiveness of Catt's flexible strategy of working at both federal and state levels to build support for woman suffrage. Tireless lobbying in Congress and then in state legislatures finally produced a ratified 19th Amendment in August 1920.

When the women's vote was attained in 1920, Catt encouraged the formation of the League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan educational group. Catt was honorary president of the group for the rest of her life. The League remains active today and is frequently a training ground for women who later compete for electoral office.

At the outbreak of World War I, Catt joined Jane Addams and others in forming the Woman's Peace Party. In 1923, she published "Woman Suffrage and Politics: The Inner Story of the Suffrage Movement" with Nettie R. Schuler. In 1925, she founded the Committee on the Cause and Cure of War and served as chairwoman of the organization until 1932 (thereafter as its honorary chairwoman). She also was active in support of the League of Nations, relief for Jewish refugees from Germany during and after World War II, and a child-labor amendment to the U.S. Constitution. She strongly supported the United Nations after World War II.

Catt attained recognition for her work throughout her life and received many awards such as the Chi Omega, the Pictorial Review Award for her international disarmament work in 1930, the American Hebrew Medal, and induction into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame. She donated her entire estate to her alma mater, where, in 1921, she was the first woman to deliver a commencement address. She died in March 1947 at her home in New Rochelle, New York.
Object ID RG11.87
Object Name Letter
People James, Sarah
Catt, Carrie Chapman
Subjects Suffrage
Suffragists
Oshkosh Equal Suffrage League
Title Letter
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