Help identify women in photo with Governor Morrow signing KY ratification of 19th Amendment

Randolph Hollingsworth (she/her) Discussion

As part of the planning for the 2020 Commemorations for Women's Suffrage Centennial here in Kentucky, the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project is interested in identifying the individuals who attended the signing of the ratification bill in Kentucky for the "Susan B. Anthony" Amendment. The iconic photograph of the event (see the image archived at the Library of Congress: has been used in many places, but only two people in the image are usually identified: Kentucky Governor Edwin P. Morrow and Madeline McDowell Breckinridge who is standing at his right shoulder.

Who else was in this picture? 

We need help in identifying who is in attendance - we have some volunteers who are interested in recreating this scene as part of our celebrations in 2020. Please help! Contact us at if you have ideas, suggestions.

Contact Info: 

Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project
c/o Randolph Hollingsworth, Ph.D.
Lexington, KY

Contact Email:



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We have a winner! Dr. Melanie Goan and I believe that the woman standing behind Governor Morrow - with her hands resting on the back of his chair - is his wife, Kate. Kentucky's First Lady Katherine Hale Waddle Morrow had been active in the Kentucky Equal Rights Association: she participated in the KERA Republican Suffrage Plank Committee in 1916 and served as the Pulaski County ERA's president in 1917 before moving to Frankfort when her husband won the election in 1919. Here's a photo of Katherine W. Morrow that I found on the Shelby Society website - and I've included her gravesite in our "Honor a Kentucky suffragist" digital map, but we don't have much else information about her. Anybody have some more information about this First Lady of Kentucky?


Doraine Bailey has been hot on the trail of mystery to find out who the people are in the above mentioned photograph with Governor Morrow - and she encouraged Dr. Melanie Goan to request the Library of Congress (LOC) to send out a photo of the notes on the back of the photo - as mentioned in the LOC notes for the archived item. An intern for Dr. Goan transcribed the handwritten notes as follows:

Governor Edwin P. Morrow signing the Anthony Amendment-- Ky was the twenty fourth state to ratify - January 6 " 1920
Mrs. Desha Breckinridge - Pres. of Equal Rights Association
Mrs. Leach - Louisville at right of Mrs. B., Mrs. Post - Paducah, Mrs. Offutt, Frankfort, Mrs. J. B. Judah, Louis.? Mrs. Firth, Cov. Mrs. Lafon Riker, Lex.
Others in picture, Fannie Rawson, Frankfort. Jessie O. Yancey, Maysville, Caroline Leech - Louis, Senator Hiram Brock. Mr + Mrs Robt. McDowell - Louisville.

So, we have some ideas of who a few more people are in this iconic photo. Take a look at this newspaper clipping that included several of the women noted on the back of the photo:


This undated clipping from Pettit, Duncan, Gibson Family Papers 2009MS172 (Box 199a, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center). includes a photo with the following caption: "Left to Right - Mrs. Lafon [Martina Grubbs] Riker, Harrodburg, president of the State Federation of Women's Clubs; Miss Laura Clay, chairman of the delegation opposing ratification of the Susan B. Anthony amendment; Mrs. John B. [Alice Barbee] Castleman, chairman of the delegation representing the Kentucky Equal Rights Association; Mrs. Harrison Gardner [Elizabeth D. Gibson] Foster, member of Miss Clay's delegation; Mrs. Edmund M. [Josephine Fowler] Post, Paducah, member of the executive board of the National Woman's Suffrage Association and member of the delegation urging ratification of the Susan B. Anthony amendment." I hypothesized in the original posting of this clipping that:

This clipping could be referring to the NAWSA's lobbying work in 1917 in Washington D.C. when they were lobbying for the passage of what by then became known as the "Susan B. Anthony Amendment" during the 65th and 66th sessions of Congress. Or they could have been all together at the Democratic State Convention in September 1919 (Mrs. Post was the Kentucky representative of the National Executive Council of the NAWSA then also) when Laura Clay had started the Citizen's Committee for a State Suffrage Amendment and was actively campaigning for state control of voter rights.

So, whether they are one or three years older at the signing event than they were in this newspaper clipping, it is safe to assume that two of the bespeckled ladies in the 1920 photograph are Martina Riker and Alice Castleman. Both of these ladies were listed in the January 1920 KERA convention program as participating in this event - and since Castleman is older than Riker, we might safely assume she is either the woman 2nd to the left or the woman directly in the center, second row. Riker is probably the woman in the center with her left hand on the desk.

Dr. Goan tells us that the man peeking over Madeline M. Breckinridge's shoulder is Robinson A. McDowell. Doraine Bailey is in communication with a descendant of Eleanor Hume Offutt of Frankfort and they think that she was the younger woman in the front row with her head just above the Governor's head. Caroline Leech was also present - take a look at Dr. Ann Allen's biosketch of her that includes a newspaper headshot of her - where do you think she is located in this photo?

You can reply here on H-Kentucky or send us an email at - looking forward to hearing from you!


Here's a list of people we've identified so far in the iconic photo of Kentucky Governor Edwin P. Morrow signing the Kentucky legislature's ratification of the 19th Amendment passed on June 6, 1920. Library of Congress, Lot 5543, Suggestions for corrections to our guesses are heartily welcomed.

Governor Edwin P. Morrow (seated). The woman standing behind Governor Morrow - with her hands resting on the back of his chair - is his wife, Katherine Hale Waddle Morrow (former president of Pulaski County Equal Rights Association). Beside First Lady Morrow, behind the Governor, is Madeline McDowell Breckinridge (of Lexington, President of Kentucky Equal Rights Association). Next to Breckinridge is Caroline Apperson Leech (of Louisville, 3rd Vice President of KERA). To the right of Leach, Josephine Fowler Post (of Paducah, Kentucky's state member to the NAWSA National Executive Council).

Eleanor Hume Offutt (of Frankfort, KERA Member Campaign Committee chair) is the younger woman in the front row with her head just above the Governor's head. To Offutt's right is Rebecca R. Judah (of Louisville, KERA Treasurer) and Margaret Weissinger Castleman (of Louisville, 2nd Vice President of KERA). In the center with her left hand on the desk: Jessie Riddell Firth (of Covington, KERA Recording Secretary). Behind Firth's right shoulder, Martina Grubbs Riker (president of the Kentucky Federation of Women's Clubs). In front of the desk, near the telephones (2nd in from the left) is Alice Barbee Castleman (of Louisville, KERA Advisory Board) then to her left is Elise Bennett Smith (of Louisville, KERA Advisory Board), and to her left is Christine Bradley South (of Frankfort, 1st Vice President of KERA).

The man peeking over Madeline M. Breckinridge's shoulder is Robinson A. McDowell of Louisville.  To his right is Julia Duke Henning (of Louisville, chair of KERA committee for Congressional Work).

Other people somewhere in the photograph: Virginia Robb McDowell (of Louisville), Fannie Rawson (of Frankfort), Jessie O. Yancey (of Maysville), and Senator Hiram Brock.