Biographical Database of Militant Women Suffragists, 1913-1920

Biography of Katherine Beach Day, 1853-1942

By Ernesta Diffley
Undergraduate Student, Central Connecticut State University

Suffragist, birth control advocate

Katherine Beach was born in Hartford, Connecticut on August 2, 1853 to Joseph Beach and Josephine Elizabeth Coffing. She was raised in Hartford and stayed there her entire life. On October 13, 1877, Katherine married George Herbert Day. The couple had seven children.

Katherine helped to found the Hartford Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She also helped to lead the effort of the Connecticut Birth Control League, which fought to repeal the federal Comstock Law. The Comstock Law made contraception illegal to sell or take, regardless of whether a person was married or single. In 1905, Katherine became involved in the Connecticut Women's Suffrage Association upon meeting her new neighbor Katherine Houghton Hepburn. Shortly thereafter, Katherine Houghton Hepburn, Katherine Beach Day, and her daughter Josephine Beach Bennett organized local women to abolish the white slave trade and prostitution within the city. After many marches and much publicity, the women convinced the mayor to order an investigation, which led to the closing of the houses involved. After the death of her husband in 1907, Katherine assumed her husband's place as director of the Hartford Real Estate Improvement Company and stayed in that position for many years.

On December 26, 1942, Katherine died at her home in Hartford due to a brief illness.

Sources:

"Katherine (Beach) Day (Hartford, Connecticut)." Goodwin-Genealogy Wikia. Online at http://goodwingenealogy.wikia.com/wiki/Katherine_(Beach)_Day_(Hartford,_Connecticut). Accessed May 2, 2016.

"Katherine Beach Day." Ancestry. Online at http://home.ancestry.com. Accessed May 2, 2016.

Carole Nichols, Votes and Mores for Women: Suffrage and After in Connecticut (New York: Haworth Press, 1983).

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