Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Katharine Bell Lewis, 1848-1930

By Sandra Udobi, graduate student,

St. John's University, Queens, New York

Women's Suffrage Movement, Legislative committee, Benefactress.

Mrs. G.H Lewis, also known as Katharine Bell Lewiswas born on September 15, 1848, in Nunda, New York. She was born into a wealthy family. Out of four children of Alfred and Juliette Dibble Bell, she was the only girl. Her family later moved to Rochester, New York. Katharine married George Howard Lewis on October 22, 1874, in Rochester and they had two children, but lost one at infancy. In 1879, Katharine and her husband moved to Buffalo, New York. Buffalo remained Katharine's home throughout the rest of her life. On March 23, 1930, Mrs. George Howard Lewis passed away in her home.

Katharine Bell Lewis was involved in philanthropic and charitable works. She was a board member of several organizations and was also a regular donor to these organizations. She was part of the Women's Suffrage Movement in Western New York. In addition, she was on the legislative committee. One thing she was most notable for was that she was a very strong supporter of all women being given the right to vote. In memory of one of the leaders of the women suffrage movement, she donated $10,000 to the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1908. Her donation was the largest single contribution to the cause at that time. In addition, Mrs. G.H Lewis was a very successful business woman. She bought a 350-acre farm in Geneva, New York and became a very successful sheep breeder. Also, she developed fields of natural gas. In honor of her memory, her surviving son continued to make large donations to the National League of Women Voters.


Stevenston, Brian. "Katharine Bell Lewis (Mrs. G.H. Lewis), 1848-1930" updated, November 2016. Accessed online at

Henson, Lenora M. "The Women's Suffrage Movement in Western New York." Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site. N.p., 19 Sept. 2016. Accessed online at

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