By Regina Siciliano, undergraduate, SUNY Oneonta
Hattie F. Kruger was born in Munich, Germany in 1885. She immigrated to New York City in the early 1900s. From New York City, she ventured to Buffalo, New York, then later to Staten Island, to work as a nurse. One of Hattie’s good friends was Juliette Louise Despert, a well-known child psychiatrist and author of Children of Divorce (1953) and The Emotionally Disturbed Child (1970). They may have met when they studied at Bellevue College and the New York College of Medicine for Women. At age 34, Kruger married Tomas Maynard. Tomas Maynard was born in 1901 in New York. Kruger and Maynard met when Tomas got into trouble with the United States Army. At 16 years old, he snuck into the army. He was caught when he tried to intervene when he saw a high-ranking officer beating a young, African American soldier. Once he was found to be under age, he was forced to drive an ambulance for the Staten Island hospital. He met Hattie, who was a nurse at the time. The couple had two children, Dorothy and Tomas.
On August 28, 1917, Hattie was one of ten picketers who stood in front of the White House in an effort to convince President Wilson to support an amendment giving women the right to vote. She refused to pay her fine and was sentenced to the Occoquan Workhouse in Lorton, Virginia and was a victim during the “Night of Terror” that occurred on November 14, 1917. During the “Night of Terror” the prisoners suffered physical abuse and harsh treatment at the hands of the authorities. Hattie was sentenced to seven weeks in Occoquan. On November 24, 1917, Hattie Kruger, along with Lucy Burns and Doris Lewis, testified against the brutality that occurred during the “Night of Terror.” Kruger was evidently weak from participating in hunger strikes while in the prison. Judge Waddill chose not to further investigate the charges.
In 1922, Hattie ran for Treasurer for the State of New York but did not get to continue her campaign because of her activism with the Socialist Party. Around 1924, she was fired from her nursing position because of her Socialist Party activism. After 1924, Hattie’s main focus was her family. She died in 1975.
Doris Stevens, Jailed for Freedom (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1920), p. 363.
William and Mary Lavender, “Suffragists' Storm over Washington: Wartime Washington Dealt Brutally with Imprisoned Suffragists Who Dared Picket the White House for the Right to Vote in 1917,” New York Times, “Despert Memorial Service.” New York, New York. Joseph D. Cannon, “Socialist Name Full State Ticket: Woman for Second Place.” Additional information came from Terrence McGarty, the great-grandson of Harriet Kruger.