Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Josephine Lee Chatard, 1879-1958

By Amy Rosenkrans, Ph.D., Independent Researcher (Havre de Grace, MD)

Josephine Lee was born on February 20, 1879 in Baltimore, Maryland to Columbus O'Donnell Lee and Hannah Anne Tyson Lee. She descended from two prominent Maryland families. Her great grandfather, Thomas Lee was the Governor of Maryland during the American Revolution. Another great grandfather, Captain John O'Donnell, was a successful Baltimore businessman, one of the first Americans to establish trade with China and the founder of the Canton area of Baltimore.

After her 1897 debut, the Baltimore Sun called Lee "one of the most popular girls in Baltimore." As such, Ms. Lee was active in the Baltimore social scene where she chaired fundraising efforts for charities, arranged dance classes and hosted subscription dances during the Lenten season. She was also an avid tennis player at the Baltimore Country Club where she both organized and participated in tournaments. Ms. Lee also volunteered her time at the Vacation Lodge, a summer home for working girls from Baltimore.

Ms. Lee married William Miles Chatard on September 27, 1917 in a small ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland where they were blessed by Cardinal Gibbons. The couple welcomed a daughter, Josephine Lee Chatard, in 1920.

After her marriage, Mrs. Chatard became an active participant in Baltimore's suffrage movement. In February 1918, she served as a hostess at a luncheon in honor of Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt held at Baltimore's Merchants' Club. Later that year, Mrs. Chatard was the Hospitality and Entertainment Committee Chairman for the First Annual State Convention of the Woman's Suffrage League of Maryland. By 1919, she was secretary of the Equal Suffrage League of Maryland.

Chatard continued to be active in the women's movement after the passage of the 19th Amendment. As secretary of the League of Women Voters, she was a member of the advisory council for the Citizenship School for new women voters established in 1921 and coordinated various fundraising efforts for the organization.

Mrs. Chatard died November 18, 1958 in Baltimore, Maryland. She is buried in Baltimore's New Cathedral Cemetery.


"11 Women's Clubs to Aid in School of Citizenship," Baltimore Sun, January 30, 1921, 12.

Anthony, Susan B. and Ida Husted Harper. History of Women Suffrage. Vol. VI (1900-1920), 1922 [LINK]

"Buds of Society." Baltimore Sun. October 9, 1897, p.7.

"C. O'D. Lee Dies After Illness at Melvale, MD." The Evening Sun, March 31, 1928, p. 20.

"Dance this Evening at Arundell Hall Arranged by Miss Josephine Lee and Miss Rosalind Bruce." The Evening Sun, March 10, 1914, p. 7.

"Dancing Classes for Lent." Baltimore Sun, January 29, 1913, p. 4.

Engagement Announcement. Baltimore Sun, June 30, 1917, p.4.

"First Annual Convention Will be Held Today." Baltimore Sun, June 5, 1918, p. 4.

"John O'Donnell of Baltimore, a biographical account written by J.L. Chatard." Maryland Historical Society.

"Miss Catt to Speak Here." Baltimore Sun, February 23, 1918, 4.

"Mrs. Chatard, Civil Leader is Dead." The Evening Sun, November 18, 1858, p.4.

"Theater Benefit Planned," Baltimore Sun, January 22, 1928, p. 78.

"Theater Benefit Tonight." The Evening Sun, October 18, 1927, p. 11.

"To Help Little Cripples," Baltimore Sun, December 13, 1900, p.7.

"To Plan Women's Theater Benefit." The Evening Sun, October 25, 1925, p. 27.

Untitled. The Frederick Post, July 18, 1912, p.3.

Untitled. The Baltimore Sun, September 28, 1917, p. 4.

"Women Will Donate Proceeds of Tourney to War Fund." Baltimore Sun, June 3, 1917, p. 30.

back to top