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Catt, Carrie Chapman, House
Westchester County, New York


[Photo]
Catt, Carrie Chapman, House
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

The Carrie Chapman Catt House, also known as Juniper Ledge, was the home of the famous suffragist of the same name between 1919 and 1928, during the time when she played a pivotal role in securing the Nineteenth Amendment giving women the right to vote in 1920. The home itself is also a fine example of Arts and Crafts style architecture in Westchester County, New York.

Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947), who graduated from Iowa State College in 1880, became active in the suffrage movement in the late 1880’s, succeeding Susan B. Anthony as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1900 and later president of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance. In 1919, after being twice widowed and at the height of her influence on the suffrage movement, she bought a house on Ryder Road near the village of Briarcliff Manor and resided there until 1928. During that time, besides the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, Catt helped organize the League of Women Voters, published a book about the suffrage movement, and founded the National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War.

[Photo] Catt, Carrie Chapman, House
Photo by Peter Shaver, New York State Historic Preservation Office

Carrie Chapman Catt was born in 1859 in Ripon, Wisconsin, the daughter of Lucius and Maria Clinton Lane. In 1866 the Lane family moved to a modest Victorian house on a farm near Charles City, Iowa. Carrie Lane graduated from the Charles City High School in 1877 and attended the Iowa State College in Ames. After graduation, she became a high school principal and then superintendent of schools in Mason City, Iowa. In 1885, she married Leo Chapman, a newspaper editor, in her family home (the Carrie Chapman Catt Childhood Home is operated as a museum by the National 19th Amendment Society and is listed in the National Register). She started writing for her husband’s newspaper, but he unexpectedly died shortly thereafter. Carrie Chapman married George Catt in 1890 and they had an agreement allowing her to spend at least four months each year on women’s suffrage efforts. She became involved in the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), under its president, Susan B. Anthony, and became president herself in 1900. When her husband became ill in 1904, she resigned and was succeeded by Dr. Anna Howard Shaw. After the death of her husband in 1905 and Susan B. Anthony in 1906, Catt, who was left in comfortable circumstances from her husband’s estate, moved from her apartment on West 57th Street to an apartment at 2 West 86th Street at Central Park West, where she lived until she purchased Juniper Ledge. She again became involved in women’s suffrage and was re-elected president of NAWSA in 1915. She created the “Winning Plan,” a campaign to encourage each state to give women the right to vote and to urge Congress to pass an amendment to this effect. Membership in NAWSA grew to over two million by 1917. With Jane Addams, she founded the Woman’s Peace Party in 1915, but when the United States entered World War I in 1917, she threw herself into organizations supporting the war effort.


[Photo]
Catt, Carrie Chapman, House
Photo by Peter Shaver, New York State Historic Preservation Office

In 1919, while living at Juniper Ledge, she began working on an idea for an organization called the League of Women Voters, and in the fall of that year she toured 13 states speaking for the ratification of the 19th Amendment. In May of 1920, the amendment was passed by Congress and a cablegram from President Wilson congratulating her read “Glory Hallelujah!” From 1920-22 she worked for suffrage in Europe and South America. In 1923 she started the organization called the International Woman Suffrage Alliance and met Mussolini in Rome and made a strong, challenging suffrage speech directly to him. With Nettie Rogers Shuler, she published Woman Suffrage and Politics: The Inner Story of the Suffrage Movement. In 1928 Catt sold Juniper Ledge and purchased a colonial revival house in New Rochelle. She died in New Rochelle on March 8, 1947. In 1982, Carrie Chapman Catt was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York. The Carrie Chapman Catt House was purportedly built in 1897, and is roughly T-shaped and two-and-one-half stories in height, with a high-pitched gable roof and clipped gable ends. A stone chimney rises out of the main section. The Carrie Chapman Catt House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on May 4, 2006.

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