Biographical Database of Militant Woman Suffragists, 1913-1920
Biography of Kate Winston, 1884-196?
By Erin Spicer, Undergraduate Student, SUNY Oneonta
Kate Winston was born in 1884 in South Carolina. By the time of the White House picketing on the National Woman's Party in 1918 she lived in Chevy Chase, Maryland and had just married Ambrose P. Winston (1867-1959), sixteen years her senior. He taught as a professor of economics at the University of Colorado and the University of Tokio. They eventually had two children, born in 1925 and 1928.
Kate Winston was an active member of the National Woman's Party. She participated in the campaigns against Democratic senatorial candidates in the fall of 1918. She was also a key participant in the Watchfire Demonstrations in Washington, DC in 1919. Winston dropped into the watchfire a quote from President Woodrow Wilson's Milan, Italy speech: "The sons of Italy and America" had fought the war "to bring freedom to all people." Winston stood her ground at the demonstration, served as a sentinel for one of the urns that held a fire, and bore torches and the suffrage tri-color flag to show her support and dedication to women's suffrage. As a result, she served five days in District Jail, complaining of "the plentiful ‘vermin,'" and was released January 12. Winston later joined the tour of the western United States when women who had been imprisoned spoke about their arrests and the hardships they faced in prison.
There is little information about Kate Winston outside of her involvement in the Watchfire Demonstrations. By 1921, she and her husband appear to have moved to Austin, Texas where she joined the University Ladies' Club. Ambrose Winston continued to work as a university professor there until sometime after 1930, according to the federal census.
"Suff Disturbers Arrested Twice More," News Journal, August 13, 1918; "'Suffs' Attack Democrats," Washington Post, September 13, 1918, 7; "Vida Milholland Will Lead Suffrage Parade," New York Tribune, September 18, 1918, 9; "Suffragetts Stage Another Fire Dance," Houston Post, January 8, 1919, 5; "The Watchfire," Suffragist, January 11, 1919, 6; "Five Suffs Released from District Jail," Washington Herald, January 13, 1919, 7; "Hungry Suffragists Set Free By Jailer," Los Angeles Times, January 13, 1919, 1; "Prison Pins to be Awarded to Suffrage Martyrs," Oakdale Journal, March 27, 1919, 1; "University Club at Home, Austin American, November 6, 1921, 9; Austin American-Stateman, November 7, 1921, 5; Inez Haynes Gilmore, The Story of Alice Paul and the Women's Party (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1921), 392-94; Doris Stevens, Jailed for Freedom (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1920), 370; Linda G. Ford, Iron-Jawed Angels: The Suffrage Militancy of the National Woman's Party, 1912-1920 (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1991), 205. 1930 Federal manuscript census for Austin, TX accessed through HeritageQuest.com.
A photograph of Kate Winston is in Doris Stevens, Jailed for Freedom (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1920), included after page 343, with the second page of photographs.