Scope and Contents
The Carrie Chapman Catt papers house a wide range of material in the collection, including correspondence & memorabilia, cartoons, and photographs. The collection focuses on the history of the women's suffrage movement, with material pertaining both directly to Catt herself and to the movement as a whole.
The collection consists of five boxes and is organized into three different series: “Correspondence,” “Cartoons,” and “Photograph Albums.”
“Correspondence” contains C. C. Catt's personal correspondence and some official correspondence of women's suffrage groups. A good portion of this correspondence concerns the 1916 Democratic National Convention and letters of support for the Women’s Suffrage Platform. The collection also holds Catt’s correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, Marion Park Edwards, and Woodrow Wilson, among others. Additionally, the collection contains both print and manuscript memorabilia from a variety of women's suffrage conventions and lectures. This section also includes suffrage ephemera: commemorative plaques and C. C. Catt's personal newspaper-clipping scrapbooks. “Cartoons” contains approximately sixty editorial cartoons pertaining to suffrage that appeared in newspapers around the country from ca. 1912 to ca.1920. “Photograph Albums” of the C. C. Catt Collection consist of six of Catt’s personal albums, from ca. 1840 to ca. 1940. The albums contain approximately 815 photographs related to the women's suffrage movement, including portraits and records of parades and other demonstrations and events. The albums cover both the American and international suffrage movements. Notable figures and/or events depicted include: Louisa May Alcott, Dr. Josephine Baker, Carrie Chapman Catt, Emmeline Pankhurst, Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, Mary Wollstonecraft, Woodrow Wilson, and hundreds of women involved in the suffrage movement.
Carrie Chapman Catt was highly influential feminist and activist in the first half of the twentieth century. This collection evidences her national and international connections, her feminist vision, and her personal life. Additionally, the cartoons and other suffrage ephemera provide context for the political clime, and the many varied opinions invoked by the fight for women’s suffrage.
Copyright and Rights Information
The Carrie Chapman Catt papers is the physical property of the Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.
Biographical / Historical
Carrie Lane Chapman Catt was an internationally recognized suffragist, feminist and political activist. She was born in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1859 and graduated from Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm (now Iowa State University) in 1880. Catt then worked as a law clerk, school teacher, principal, school superintendent, and reporter. In 1887 she joined the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association and served as state organizer from 1890-1892. Her skills as a speechwriter and organizer brought her national attention and in 1900 Catt succeeded Susan B. Anthony as President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. She remained in this position until 1904.
Catt founded the International Woman Suffrage Alliance in 1902 and served as its president for many years. She is credited with revitalizing NAWSA during her second tenure as President (1915-1920). She formed the League of Women Voters in 1920 and was its honorary president until her death in 1947. In 1925 Catt founded the National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War. During the 1930s and 1940s Catt was active in working against the Nazis, particularly their persecution of Jews. Although a champion of world peace, Catt was a vocal supporter of the Allied Forces during World War II. She died in New Rochelle, New York in 1947.