"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Monday, August 15, 2016

Carrie Chapman Catt

This 1927 portrait of Carrie Chapman Catt by Mary Eliot Foote hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

 "Carrie Chapman Catt’s organizational talents are credited with making the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) an effective force in winning the struggle for women’s right to vote. In NAWSA, she worked with such leaders as Susan B. Anthony to win the franchise state by state, and also for a constitutional amendment. Initially condemning America’s flood of immigrants, whom she believed were influenced by their paternalistic Old World cultures to vote against women’s suffrage, Catt eventually discarded such xenophobic simplifications, founded the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, and became a crusader for internationalism and world peace. In 1900 she replaced Anthony as president of NAWSA and was again elected president in 1915, leading the organization during the successful passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, which guaranteed all American women the right to vote." -- National Portrait Gallery
Mary Foote

Mary Footes' portrait of Mrs. Catt was given to the Smithsonian in 1939 by the National American Woman Suffrage Association. In the Harris & Ewing photo below it is presented to the Smithsonian by Marguerite Wells, President of the National League of Women Voters.

 "Smithsonian receives portrait of famed suffrage leader. Washington, D.C., Nov. 17. Miss Marguerite H. Welles, President of the National League of Women Voters, presenting to Dr. Alexander Wetmore, Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, an oil painting of 80 year old Carrie Chapman Catt. The portrait will be hung in the Smithsonian Institution with the ones of three other famed suffrage leaders: Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Dr. Anna Howard Shaw. A gift of Mrs. Stanley McCormick of Chicago, the portrait was painted by Mary Foote in 1927."-- Library of Congress

This short article appeared in the  Ogden Standard on Dec. 22 1915, announcing that Mrs. Catt had become the "New President of Equal Suffragists".

 At the annual meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in Washington last week Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt was chosen to succeed Dr. Anna Howard-Shaw as president of the international association of woman suffragists.
Here Mrs. Catt  christens the "Golden Flyer" a yellow automobile in which Miss Neal Richardson, Mrs. Alice S. Burke and others made a 15,000 mile suffrage tour of the US.   She is shown breaking a bottle of gasoline over the hood. (the The Topeka Daily State Journal, April 22, 1918)

Too Many Rights

This 1922 teaser for the Ladies Home Journal (appearing in the The Morning Tulsa Daily World) explores the limits of Mrs. Catts feminism.

"Mrs Catt on the Sham in Women's Rights

Carrie Chapman Catt asks: 'Have women lost their heads with their new freedom?' What is a 'right'? and what a 'sham'?  Should a woman keep her own name after marriage or take her husband's name? If she remains Miss Smith Instead of becoming Mrs. Jones will her child be Smith or Jones? Should mother­hood without marriage be tolerated? Mrs. Catt, who led the millions of American women in their fight for the vote, now views with alarm with the assumption of Too Many Rights. Her article. In the November Journal, Is a thoughtful and vigorous discussion."

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