Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Katherine (Mrs. A. G.) Leonard, 1872-1963

By Neha Gottipalli, University of California San Diego

Katherine Minnie Gue was born in Iowa in April, 1872. Her father, Benjamin F. Gue, was the former Governor Gue of Iowa, born in New York, and her mother, Elizabeth Parker, was born in Vermont. Katherine moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1920. According to the U.S. Census, sometime between 1899 and 1903, Katherine married Dr. Arthur Gray Leonard, an American explorer, geologist, and educator. He worked as professor of geology at the University of North Dakota. Miss Katheryn Gue was widowed on December 17, 1932, as her husband suffered from a heart disease and passed away from its effects.

Her interest in women's suffrage is apparent from her membership in the North Dakota Federation of Women's Clubs, a club that promoted women of the State to communicate regarding acquaintance and helpfulness along with encouraging women to take an interest in intellectual and social conditions. She also assisted in opening the Franklin Club, a men's club, to women and hosted several lunch events. Her name also appears on a list of donors for the Historical Society of Linn County, Iowa, an association dedicated to honoring people and materials that brought change to social institutions, education, art, literature, industries, and commerce; the society honored locals who brought significant changes both in Iowa and globally. Katherine Leonard took part in the Pure Food Movement in 1914, a movement in which women's associations took up the question of proper food supply due to concerted efforts; groups of women organized an active municipal campaign for pure food. She served as secretary on the Pure Food Committee of the Civic League of Grand Forks. These women sought to increase food regulations of packaging and processing food and medicine. They secured sanitary inspection by forcing the city to appoint a food inspector, who would give merchants ratings on a scorecard provided by the state commissioner to assess the cleanliness of their food. In order to keep society informed about the threat to the purity of their food, the women of the Pure Food Movement also started a general education campaign.

Evidence of Katherine's suffrage activity is that her name appears in a list of donors for the Dixie Night Women's Suffrage Movement. She also took part in "Dixie Night," which was an emergency convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in Atlantic City to protest for women's suffrage in the South on September 7. Additionally, Katherine Gue was a part of a movement to get more women on the council of Grand Forks as a part of the Pure Food Movement; weeks would pass before food inspectors would receive inquiries for plans and advice from towns in the West due to the bad management and inefficiency of the Grand Forks council. Katherine Gue, along with others, pushed for women to be a part of council since they had more knowledge than men regarding how to make the council more effective.

Katherine died in San Diego on December 4th, 1963 at 91 years old and was buried in the Woodland Cemetery in Fort Des Moines, Polk, Iowa.


Beard, Mary Ritter. Woman's Work in Municipalities. London: Forgotten books, 2015. Originally published in 1915. Accessed May 9, 2021.

"Katherine G Leonard in the 1920 United States Federal Census." Ancestry. NARA microfilm publication. Accessed May 9, 2021. 52018e2cd8149f847bcd861b3972d303&_phsrc=gPU5&_phstart=successSource.

"Katherine Gue." geni_family_tree, January 30, 2018.

Norris, H. W.; Keyes, Charles Reuben; Mauthe, Katherine; Martin, J. N.; Maney, T. J.; Yarbrough, John A.; and Mattill, H. A. (1933) "In Memoriam: Frank Fayette Almy; Ervin E. Reed; William E. Albert; Frank W. Paige; Arthur Gray Leonard; Winfield Scott Dudgeon; Max E. Witte; Royal Edgar Jeffs; H. Gregg Smith," Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, 40(1), 25-37.

"What Is It? A. G. Leonard. Encyclopedia." Accessed May 9, 2021.

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