Biographical Sketch of Katharine Lent Stevenson

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Katharine Lent Stevenson, 1853-1919

By Olivia Thurman, undergraduate student,
Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts

President, Massachusetts Woman's Christian Temperance Union; National Corresponding Secretary, Woman's Christian Temperance Union of the United States; Superintendent, World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union

Katharine Adelia Lent was born on May 8, 1853 to Marvin Richardson Lent and Hannah Louzada Lent in Copake, Columbia County, New York. Katharine married James Stevenson on February 14, 1883, and lived for most of her married life in Newton, Massachusetts. Katharine Lent Stevenson died on March 27, 1919 in Des Moines, Iowa. She had no children.

In 1875, Katharine Lent graduated from the Amenia Seminary as Valedictorian of her class. In 1878, Katharine entered the Boston University School of Theology as the only woman in her class. In 1881, she completed her studies at the Boston University School of Theology, becoming a "Graduate of Theology." After graduating, she served as an associate pastor of the Allston Methodist Episcopal Church.

At the age of fourteen, Katharine Lent joined the International Order of Good Templars. This marked the beginning of her lifelong commitment to the temperance movement. She served as temporary president of the Dutchess County, New York union of Good Templars even before attending Boston University. Katharine's active interest in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) began in 1887, when she joined the Brighton Allston branch of the WCTU. Katharine would spend the rest of her life promoting the mission of the WCTU in both the United States and abroad, holding a variety of leadership positions throughout her career.

After joining the WCTU in 1887, Katharine was appointed as the Suffolk County Superintendent of Evangelistic Work and later became State Superintendent of Franchise for Massachusetts. From 1891 to 1893, Katharine served as State Corresponding Secretary for Massachusetts. In 1893, she became the Editor of Books and Leaflets for the Woman's Temperance Publishing Association. She served as National Corresponding Secretary from 1894 to 1898, and in 1898, became President of the Massachusetts WCTU. Katharine would spend the next 20 years of her life in this position.

In addition to promoting the mission of the WCTU in the United States, Katharine was heavily involved in the World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union. She served as Superintendent of the Promotion of Good Citizenship Department of the World's WCTU from 1907-1910 and served as Superintendent of the World's Missionary Fund of the World's WCTU from 1910 to 1913. From 1908 to 1910, she took a two-year hiatus from her position as President of the Massachusetts WCTU to take a twenty-month trip around the world in the interest of promoting temperance on behalf of the World's WCTU. Focusing her efforts on educational institutions, she visited (in order) Hawaii, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Burma (now Myanmar), India, Egypt, Palestine, Greece, and Italy.

In 1918, Katharine ended her time as President of the Massachusetts WCTU, accepting the position of Superintendent of Americanization for the WCTU of the United States. She held this position for less than a year before her death in 1919. To honor her numerous accomplishments on behalf of promoting temperance, Katharine's associates at the WCTU established a Katharine Lent Stevenson Memorial Fund at Simmons College.

Sources:

"Boston University School of Theology, 1867-90," Boston University School of Theology, accessed March 5th, 2017. http://www.bu.edu/sth-history/graduates/boston-universityschool-of-theology-1868-91/.

"Genealogy Report: Descendants of Melchoir de Ryck," accessed March 3rd, 2017. http://www.genealogy.com/ftm/d/u/b/Drew-Dubler/GENE4- 0052.html#ENDNOTEREF795.

"Katharine Lent Stevenson." The Union Signal, April 10, 1919.

"Katharine Lent Stevenson Promoted to Heavenly Activities." The Union Signal, April 10, 1919. https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=pkQ2AQAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&outp ut=reader&hl=en&pg=GBS.RA1-PA136.

"W.C.T.U. Department," The Palm Beach Post, June 2, 1919.

"W.C.T.U. Leaders Showing Monster Petition at Massachusetts Prohibition Hearing." The Union Signal, March 14, 1918.

World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union, "Report of the Eighth Convention of the World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union," Report of the Biennial Convention and minutes of the Executive, 1910.
https://play.google.com/books/reader?printsec=frontcover&output=reader&id=ZO2- AAAAIAAJ&pg=GBS.PP1.

World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union, "Report of the Ninth Convention of the World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union," Report of the Biennial Convention and minutes of the Executive, 1913. https://play.google.com/books/reader?printsec=frontcover&output=reader&id=ZO2- AAAAIAAJ&pg=GBS.PP1.

World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union, "Report of the Seventh Convention of the World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union," Report of the Biennial Convention and minutes of the Executive, 1906.

 

"Katharine L. Stevenson." The Union Signal, April 10, 1919.

 

"W.C.T.U. Leaders Showing Monster Petition at Massachusetts Prohibition Hearing." The Union Signal, March 14, 1918.

 

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