Biographical Database of Suffragists: 1913-1920
Biography of Mrs. Katherine Lavina Flett, 1869-1929
By Eleanor C. Facey, student, and Pat Roberts & Serene Williams, faculty at Sacred Heart Preparatory High School, Atherton, California
Katherine Lavina Flett was born in 1869 in the state of New York. In either 1894 or 1896, Katherine married William Flett, and they had a son in 1901 named Clayton Flett. The 1900 census reported the Flett family living in Oakland, California. In the early 1900s, the Fletts moved to Washoe County, Nevada, where they were living by 1910. By 1920 they Fletts had returned to Oakland. Her husband died in 1944, and her son died on March 11, 1932.
Katherine Flett worked as a suffragist in California and Nevada and remained politically active after women's suffrage was achieved. After the passage of women's suffrage in Nevada on November 3, 1914, Katherine Flett attended a large meeting at the Y. W. C. A. building, where the Reno Woman Citizens' Club organized with a membership of 80 people. At this meeting, Katherine Flett was elected to serve as Auditor of the club. In January of 1915, Katherine Flett was recorded to have attended the Washoe County Equal Suffrage Society's annual convention, in which she served as a member of the credential committee. This meeting was quite successful with a large attendance, as they elected delegates to the state convention later that year, and left the bill from the previous year completely paid. Later that year, the Woman Citizens' Club, led by Sadie Hurst, and the Nevada Women's Civic League, led by noted Nevada suffragist Anne Martin merged into the Nevada League of Women Voters. In March of 1915, members of the Woman Citizens' Club objected to the proposition of merging with the Reno Women's Civic League, so the executive committee gathered to discuss this decision. Fourteen of the seventeen members of the executive council were present, including Katherine Flett, and they declared the merging null and void. Nine members of the council signed the petition, which argued that it was unparliamentary and therefore illegal. Later in 1918, Katherine Flett was recorded to have donated $100 to the Women's Liberty Loan Committee. After she moved back to Oakland, some time before 1920, Katherine Flett remained politically active. In the late 1920s she was listed as a member of the Women's City Club in Oakland. Flett died on January 21,1929.
1. Anthony, S. B., Gage, M. J., Harper, I. H., & Stanton, E. C. (1881). The History of Woman Suffrage, Volume VI. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association [LINK]
2. Bennett, Dana R. and Reno, Mona, comps. Nevada Suffrage Timeline, https://suffrage100nv.org/about/suffrage-timeline/
3. "Died: Flett" January 23, 1929 Reno Gazette-Journal
4. "Executive Committee Women Citizens' Club Resolves Against Merger" Reno Gazette-Journal, March 15, 1915 https://www.newspapers.com/image/147531398/?terms=%22Katherine%2Bflett%22
5. Find A Grave. Katherine Lavina Flett memorial, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/154287795/katherine-lavina-flett
6. Goodwin, Joanne. "Nevada's Campaigns for Woman Suffrage." Western Legal History : The Journal of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society 30. 1&2 (2019): 122, https://www.njchs.org/downloads/wlh_30-1_crp_color%5B1%5D.pdf
7. "President's Stand on Suffrage Approved" Reno Gazette-Journal, October 2, 1918 https://www.newspapers.com/image/147607737/?image=147607737&words=
8. State of California. California Death Index, 1940-1997. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics.
9. "Washoe Suffrage Society Meets" Reno Gazette-Journal, January 8, 1915 https://www.newspapers.com/image/75039655/?terms=%22Katherine%2Bflett%22
10. "Women Say Action is Null and Void" Reno Gazette-Journal, March 13, 1915 https://www.newspapers.com/image/75047517
11. "Women's Clubs Pass Motions to Merge" Reno Gazette-Journal, March 11, 1915 https://www.newspapers.com/image/147524531