Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Katherine Koch, 1874-1952
By Sheree Keith, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Middle Georgia State University
President, Georgia Woman Suffrage Association; Chair, 11th Ward, National League of Women Voters
Catherine R. Koch (also Kate; also spelled Katherine) was born on April 5, 1874, to Fredrick and Maggie Koch. Her father was born in Germany, and her mother was a first-generation daughter of German parents. Catherine Koch was the oldest of her six siblings: Elizabeth, Matilda, Ada, Fred, and Margaret (Maggie).
At the November 1901 Georgia Woman Suffrage Association (GWSA) convention, Catherine Koch was elected president. The following year, she supported Atlanta women to petition to vote in municipal elections. They were ultimately rejected, and Koch went on to represent the GWSA at the 1903 meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). While Koch resigned the presidency in 1904, she continued to hold various executive positions with the GWSA in the years that followed. She marched as a Georgia delegate in the 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, D.C. as a representative of the Georgia association. On March 27, 1915, the Atlanta Constitution published that Koch and several other women helped organize “suffrage entertainments” to raise funds for the suffrage education campaign, which included a suffrage spelling bee. In 1916, Koch facilitated a suffrage school on the first and second Wednesday of each month for the Atlanta Equal Suffrage Association. Each suffrage school featured an address on woman's suffrage by one of Atlanta's leading business or professional men. In addition to her work with the GWSA, she belonged to the Georgia Young People's Suffrage Association, for which she was the recording secretary; the Atlanta Equal Suffrage Association, for which she served as the chairman of the press committee; and the East Atlanta Improvement Club.
After the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, Koch went on to serve with the League of Women Voters, the chairing the eleventh ward. According to a 1922 article in the Atlanta Constitution, the stated goal of this organization was “arousing in women a sense of responsibility in public affairs, and to give them such practical information as every intelligent voter should have.”
Catherine Koch never married and died March 2, 1952, while living with her younger sister Maggie. Koch is buried at the family plot in Westview Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Eleventh Ward Women to Have Voter's School.” Atlanta Constitution. November 11, 1922, p.14. Newspapers.com.
Eltzroth, E. Lee. “Woman Suffrage.” History & Archaeology: Progressive Era to WWII, 1900-1945. New Georgia Encyclopedia. Last updated June 8, 2017. http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/woman-suffrage.
Find a Grave. Catherine Koch. Accessed June 26, 2018. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/158929322.
“First Sessions Held by Women.” Atlanta Constitution. July 10, 1908, p.1. Newspapers.com.
Harper, Ida Husted, ed. “Georgia.” Chapter X in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6: 1900-1920, 121-143. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922. [LINK]
Koch, Kate. “Executive Board Meets.” Atlanta Constitution. March 27, 1915, p.4. Newspapers.com.
“Miss Kate R. Koch.” Obituary. Atlanta Constitution. March 3, 1952, p.16. Newspapers.com.
United States Census 1880 and 1900, s.v. “Catherine Koch, Georgia.” HeritageQuest.
United States Census 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940, s.v. “Kate Koch, Georgia.” HeritageQuest.
“Women Ask Vote in All Primaries.” Atlanta Constitution. May 6, 1919, pp.1,3. Newspapers.com.