Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920
Biography of Kate Vaupel Hossfeld, 1857–1937
By Emily Kader, Rare Rook Research Librarian, Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Second Vice President, North Carolina Equal Suffrage League; Delegate, North Carolina Equal Suffrage Convention, 1914-1915
Kate Vaupel Hossfeld was born January 27, 1857, in Iowa to John Christian Vaupel and Clara Vaupel (née Sandgrenger). Kate was the third of nine children. In 1880 she married Frederick William “F. W.” Hossfeld. They lived in Clermont Township in Fayette County, Iowa, and later moved to Morganton in Burke County, North Carolina. They had six children, five of whom survived: Elinor, Giulia, Frederick, William, and Marion. Three years after her husband's death in 1914, Kate moved to Des Moines, Iowa. She died in Des Moines on August 29, 1937.
The Hossfelds were a prominent progressive family, and both their male and female children pursued degrees of higher education. Kate's husband made a career in Democratic politics, serving as the private secretary to the governor of Iowa and as the U.S. ambassador to Austria during the McKinley and Roosevelt administrations. Around 1906 their family relocated to Morganton, a small city in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Theirs was modern home—listed in 1917 as having city water and telephone—situated on 61 acres of farm land just outside of town. Kate raised goats and sold milk locally while her husband pursued a second career in real estate and the tourism industry. She and her family also enjoyed the company of her sister Jessie and her husband Frank Bicknell, who followed the Hossfelds from Iowa to Burke County and settled in the Linville Falls area. After Kate's death, her daughter Giulia inherited the North Carolina land acquired by these two families and in 1952 sold a large portion of it to the federal government to be preserved as part of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Kate served in the office of Second Vice President of the North Carolina Equal Suffrage League and was a delegate at the first Equal Suffrage Convention, held in Charlotte in November 1914. She attended the second North Carolina Equal Suffrage Convention as a delegate the following year in Asheville. In addition to her work with the League she also led discussions of women's suffrage at local book clubs around the state, which was a common practice among leading North Carolina suffragists. In August of 1918 she moved back to Iowa, where she lived with her daughter Giulia and her husband, Dr. C. B. Luginbuhl, of Des Moines. While her family's support for the women's suffrage movement was noted in the years after her move back to Iowa, it is unclear whether she remained active in politics.
“Equal Suffrage First Convention.” The Charlotte News, November 6, 1914.
“For Sale—Real Estate.” Greensboro Daily News, October 8, 1917.
“Map Showing Lands of F.W. Hossfeld Heirs for Transfer to: United States Government.” Driving Through Time: The Digital Blue Ridge Parkway, hosted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: https://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/blueridgem/id/644. Accessed April 6, 2019.
“Morganton.” Asheville Citizen-Times, November 15, 1914.
“Mrs. Hossfeld Leaves for Iowa.” The News-Herald, August 29, 1918.
“Mrs. Hossfeld's Mother Celebrates Birthday – Bicknell Wedding Anniversary.” The News-Herald, May 20, 1920.
“Officers North Carolina Equal Suffrage League.” The Charlotte Observer, November 1, 1914.
“Woman suffrage was the absorbing subject...” The Charlotte Observer. November 7, 1915.