Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragist, 1890-1920
Biography of Katherine "Mabel" Dwight Williams Redman, 1869-1943
By Kori Thompson, Professor of History, New Mexico Junior College, Hobbs, NM
Office of the Order of the Eastern Star member; Democratic representative of Reno County, Nevada to state and county conventions, 1926 and 1934; Record Keeper for the Ladies of the Maccabees Reno Hive No. 1; member of Women's Roosevelt Democratic Labor Club and Reno Women's Civic Club
Katherine "Mabel" Dwight Williams was born in either 1861 or 1869 (based on the 1900 and 1910 US Census records) in Massachusetts. In 1886 she married Dr. Joseph Reasor Redman, a practicing physician and former Civil War soldier, with whom she had two sons: Rear Admiral Joseph Reason Redman, Jr. (1891-1968) and Vice Admiral John "Jack" Roland Redman (1898-1970), both of whom were vital to the American success in World War II. She also became stepmother to three children from Dr. Redman's previous marriage. Her husband died in 1923 and she died in February 1943 in Nevada due to congestive heart failure.
After the family moved to Reno, Nevada in 1898, Katherine was active in women's and political clubs: Washoe County Assembly Women, Women's Civic Club of Reno, Women's Relief Corps as a color bearer, and many more. From roughly 1902 to 1906, Mabel Redman was elected record keeper for the Reno's Hive No. 1 Ladies of the Maccabees, a women's auxiliary club for the Knights of Maccabees dedicated to being one of the first organizations that offered life insurance to women and children.
While in Reno, Mabel became associated with Anne Martin, a history professor and leader of the Nevada Equal Franchise Society. She began working with Martin on equal suffrage for women and in 1913 was elected as the Society's treasurer. The same year the Nevada legislature approved a resolution to allow women suffrage. Mabel worked alongside Martin and other Nevada suffragists to convince voters to approve a state constitutional amendment, which was passed in 1914. Between 1914 and 1920, she continued her activism for a federal woman suffrage amendment, becoming the corresponding secretary of the Reno Women's Civic Club campaigning for the Nineteenth Amendment. Later towards the end of her life, Mabel would use her experience to be selected as a member of the Reno Precinct 6 Democrat delegate to the state convention in 1926 and a Democratic county executive committee member in Reno in 1934. Between 1926 and 1934, she ran several campaigns to be a part of both state and county political committees.
Continuing with her dedication to providing relief to those struggling, Mabel Redman was a life-long member of the Order of Eastern Star, a gender-neutral Masonic charity organization dedicated to providing community help through education and financial assistance. She was elected to the position of warden of the Eastern Star's Adah Chapter No. 4 in 1932. The following year would also see her as an integral member of the Women's Democratic Labor Club in support for President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs and Nevada's home loan program. At a gathering in July 1933, Mabel Redman was a speaker at a social gathering of 350 to address some of the New Deal programs.
Mabel had a lifetime commitment to social and class equality, building on her time as a pioneering member of Anne Martin's Nevada Equal Franchise Society to promote labor and Democrat issues, while continuing her charity work.
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