Biographical Sketch of Katherine Burch Warner

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Katherine "Kate" Burch Warner (Mrs. Leslie), 1851-1923

By Carole Webb (Moore) Slater, author of Letters from the Heart 1943-1946, Franklin, Tennessee

President, Nashville Equal Suffrage League in 1915; President, Tennessee Woman Suffrage Association in 1918

Katherine "Kate" Burch was born to socially prominent parents, John and Lucille Newell Burch, in Chattanooga Tennessee in 1851. Raised in Nashville, Kate Burch was educated at Vassar and traveled extensively. She learned about politics from her father who was secretary of the U.S. Senate from 1879-1881. In 1880 Kate married Leslie Warner of Nashville. The couple had three children who all died in early childhood. Due to his own poor health, Leslie Warner retired early and spent the remaining years of his life with his wife, traveling and entertaining. When available, Kate Warner participated in social and civic clubs in Nashville and became immersed in the suffrage movement after the 1909 death of her husband. Although a widow during her years as a suffragist, Kate Burch Warner referred to herself as Mrs. Leslie Warner.

Twenty years older than most suffragists of the period, Kate Warner had experience in community leadership and with her persuasive oratory skills became a passionate and influential advocate for the right of women to vote in Tennessee. In 1915, she was elected president of the Nashville Equal Suffrage League and three years later became president of the statewide organization, the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Association, working tirelessly at rallies and meetings across the state advocating for presidential and municipal votes for women. In the summer of 1920, the nation was focused on Tennessee, the 36th state needed to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to make it the law of the land. Tennessee Governor A.H. Roberts knew Kate Warner's persuasive abilities and appointed her to lead his Ratification Committee. She worked in collaboration with the National American Woman Suffrage Association and many volunteers to help secure the right for women to vote.

After ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, Kate Warner remained active in community organizations and spent time and energy on behalf of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She died in 1923.

Sources:

Binnicker, Margaret D. "Katherine Burch Warner." Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. https://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/entry.php?rec=1466. 1 Jan. 2010. Web. 10 Oct. 2017

Stanton, Elizabeth C., Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Gage, Harriot Stanton Blatch, Ida Harper, eds., "Chapter XLI: Tennessee Part I." History of Woman Suffrage, vol.6: 1900-1920 (New York, NY: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922), 596-606. LINK

Warner, Kate Burch. "Strong Disapproval of Pickets is Voiced: Tactics of Woman's Party Representatives Deplored by Mrs. Leslie Warner." In Votes for Women: The Woman Suffrage Movement in Tennessee, the South, and the Nation. Ed., Marjorie S. Wheeler (Knoxville, TN: The University of Tennessee Press, 1995), pp. 194-96

Yellin, Carol Lynn and Janann Sherman. The Perfect 36: Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage (Oak Ridge, TN: Iris Press, 1998).

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