Biographical Sketch of Katharine Ludington

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Katharine Ludington, 1869-1953

By Micaela Menard
Undergraduate Student, Central Connecticut State University

Suffragist, painter

Katharine Ludington was born in New York City, on October 16, 1869 of Charles Henry Ludington and Josephine Noyes Ludington. Ludington was the fifth of seven children.

In 1918, Ludington became the president of the Connecticut Women's Suffrage League. In 1919, the federal amendment that would grant women the right to vote was passed by Congress and sent to all the states for approval. Women wanted to vote in the 1920 presidential election and Ludington worked for the Connecticut Legislature to approve the amendment because it needed 36 states to be officially ratified and at this time only 35 had agreed. Ludington organized rallies, mobilized supporters, wrote letters, and tried to convince Connecticut's Republican Governor, Marcus Holcomb, to call a special session to bring the suffrage amendment to a vote. Unfortunately, Holcomb refused and Tennessee ended up being the thirty-sixth state to approve the amendment. Ludington took a leadership role in establishing the League of Women's Voters in 1921. In this group, Ludington was on the national board and she served as the New England director. The group became a huge instrument in training women to work in government and shaped electoral politics. Ludington devoted her life for social justice and world peace and advocated for the creation of United Nations. Additionally in her leisure, Ludington was a successful portrait painter.

Ludington never married and died at the age of 83 on March 9, 1953 in her home in Old Lyme, Connecticut due to an illness. She was buried in Duck River Cemetery in Old Lyme.

Sources:

Katharine Ludington's political advocacy was reported in "Katharine Ludington on Women Voters' Honor Roll" The Day, 1 May 1930. A biographical sketch was published as "Looking Back: Legacy of Katharine Ludington" Shoreline Times, 21 June 2015. A photograph of Ludington can be found in the Florence Griswold Museum, courtesy of the Ludington Family Collection, also available on its website (https://florencegriswoldmuseum.org/old-lyme-women-oppose-suffrage/).

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