By Kaitlin Binnington
Undergraduate Student, Central Connecticut State University
Role in Women’s Suffrage: Suffragist, teacher
Katherine Mullen was a suffragist who resided in New Haven County, Connecticut for much of her adult life. U.S. Census records showed that Katherine was born in 1885. Although Katherine is not currently well known, she, in fact, had a large impact on the suffrage movement.
Katherine was an influential woman simply by the nature of her being. She had a heart to lead and teach and that was evident in the work she did in the early twentieth century. Katherine completed teacher training and became a teacher in New Haven County. Katherine did more than teach academics; she also taught women how to grow, be independent, and take matters into their own hands by standing up for their rights. Katherine was a paid organizer of the Connecticut Women’s Suffrage Association, a national organizer for the National Woman’s Party, and an organizer for the Connecticut National Woman’s Party. Additionally, Katherine’s contributed beyond Connecticut, as she also worked in Anne Martin’s campaign for the United States Senate in Nevada in 1918. As a young woman, Katherine served as a role model and was involved with organizing and leading other young women.
In addition to her involvement in these organizations, Katherine organized conferences for the Connecticut Suffrage Association in New Haven County in 1916. Katherine’s lively speeches drew large crowds. She persuaded women but also some men to fight for women’s suffrage.
Katherine’s ambitions shifted as she aged. Katherine was quoted saying “we do not wish to take politics out of the hands of men, we merely wish to put things into their hands that were never there.” At this point, Katherine wanted to be involved in the legislative process, so she spoke even more about suffrage and was less involved in demonstrations. The Bridgeport Evening Farmer reported that Katherine did not want to picket the White House with Alice Paul because she was not actively picketing anymore. Katherine quickly became a Wilson supporter and resigned from the state association. In addition, she also stopped teaching, became an active member of the Woman’s Party, and moved south to work as a lobbyist.
It is unclear if Katherine was ever married; some records show that her spouse could have been Arthur D. Mullen and that they may have had several children together. It is unknown exactly when Katherine died. During her life, Katherine was able to have a large impact on women’s suffrage in Connecticut even though many specifics of her life are unclear.
Information about the Connecticut Suffrage Association and Katherine Mullen is reported in the newspaper The Hartford Courant. Katherine Mullen’s Biographical information is more elusive but can be found on ancestry.com and through U.S. Census Records (Washington, D.C.).