By Zoe Eckert
Undergraduate student, Simmons College
Katharine A. Morey was born in 1892 in Brookline, Massachusetts, to noted suffragist Agnes Hosmer Morey and Walter G. Morey, a merchant. Katharine and her mother Agnes were early members of the Massachusetts State Branch of the Congressional Union, later the National Woman's Party (NWP) and Katharine served as an officer of the organization. She and her mother, along with twenty-one other suffragists, were part of the “Suffrage Special” railroad tour that traveled throughout the western states to spread the suffrage message. Katharine also organized the 1916 election campaign in Kansas as part of the NWP’s efforts. Upon return to her home in Massachusetts, Morey wrote an article for The Suffragist stating that she did not believe that the National Woman's Party’s defeat in the Kansas campaign was a defeat at all since they were able to further educate the nation on the suffragist cause.
On June 22, 1917, Katharine Morey and Lucy Burns, co-founder of the NWP, became two of the first suffragist picketers arrested for "obstructing traffic" at the White House gates, where they held a banner declaring, “We shall fight for the things we have always held nearest our hearts, for democracy, and for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own government.” Alice Paul was also arrested in 1917 for picketing the White House. Agnes Morey and three dozen other women were arrested for protesting Paul’s arrest, and they were sent to the District Jail and Occoquan Workhouse (in Virginia) after refusing to pay the fines. Throughout the suffrage movement, those arrested considered themselves political prisoners, and conducted hunger strikes. Katharine tried to visit her mother during her time in the workhouse as the news of the hunger strikes and poor jail cell conditions got out, but she was denied entry and was held under armed guard half a mile away from the prison.
Katharine was arrested again in February of 1919 for protesting at a Boston demonstration against Wilson where she held the American flag at the front of the protest line, demanding the President’s attention to the suffrage movement. Katharine and the other picketers were arrested and taken to the House of Detention and charged with “loitering more than seven minutes.” The women demanded to be treated as political prisoners, but they were each subjected to a private trial against their will, where sixteen of the women were sentenced to eight days in jail. Katharine was then sent to the Charles St Jail. Many went on hunger strikes, but they were kept in solitary confinement. Upon Katharine’s release her mother, Agnes Morey, commented with, “It is a most extraordinary thing. Thousands loitered from curiosity on the day the President arrived. Twenty-two loitered for liberty, and only those who loitered for liberty were arrested.”
Katharine Morey married journalist Herbert N. Pinkham, who worked for the Boston Globe and reported on the suffrage movement. The couple lived in Ipswich, Massachusetts, where they owned the Morey Kennels and bred award-winning huskies, into the 1930s, and later relocated to Pinkham’s native Portland, Maine in 1940.
Doris Stevens. Jailed for Freedom (New York: Boni & Liveright, 1920).
Donald L. Haggerty. ed., National Woman’s Party Papers: The Suffrage Years 1913-1920. Microfilming Corporation of America, 1980.
Katharine Morey, “The Kansas Victory,” The Suffragist, November 18,1916, p. 8.
Louis Clinton Hatch, Maine: A History, Volume 4 (New York: The American Historical Society, 1919).
“FAMOUS CHAMPION IS HOST TO BYRD DOGS ON BIRTHDAY,” Boston Globe, May 21, 1930, p. 1
Barbara F. Berenson, Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement: Revolutionary Reformers (History Press, 2018).