Dr Kate <I>Waller</I> Barrett

Dr Kate Waller Barrett

Falmouth, Stafford County, Virginia, USA
Death 23 Feb 1925 (aged 68)
Alexandria, Alexandria City, Virginia, USA
Burial Aquia, Stafford County, Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 34129110 · View Source
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Women's and Social Pioneer. She is remembered as a founder of the first group of homes established to care for unwed mothers. Born Katherine Waller, the oldest of eight girls and the only one born prior to her father's Confederate Army service, she was raised in an upper-class Stafford County family and attended the Arlington Institute for Girls in Alexandria, Virginia. On January 19, 1876, she married Reverend Robert Barrett who was serving as Rector of her family's Episcopal Church in Aquia, Virginia, and over the next years followed him to a succession of pastorates; one day while living in Richmond, Virginia, the course of her life was changed when a young unmarried pregnant girl who had been disowned by her family knocked on the Barretts' door. Kate, with her husband's blessing, took her in, begining a lifetime of service to "fallen women" as they were termed at the time. When her husband was serving a Church in Atlanta Kate decided she could provide better help as a physician and following study at the Women's Medical College of Georgia she received her M.D. in 1892, adding further education at London's Florence Nightingale Training School in 1894. In 1893 Dr. Barrett met wealthy New York businessman Charles Crittenton who had lost a young daughter to illness and desired to memorialize her. Together they founded the National Florence Crittenton Mission which was eventually to grow into a group of around 90 homes, providing health care and education to unwed mothers and later to prostitutes. Reverend Barrett's death in 1895 and the responsibility of her six children did not stop Dr. Barrett's work; she published several books detailing her experiences and became president of the Crittenton Mission following Mr. Crittenton's death in 1909. At the same time she was active in the Women's Suffrage movement as vice president of Virginia Equal Suffrage (1909 to 1920), president of the National Council of Women (1911 to 1916), and a founder of the League of Women Voters. In 1919 she served as a delegate to both the Versailles Conference, and the Zurich Peace Conference; Dr. Barrett addressed the Democratic National Convention to much acclaim in 1924 and was put forward as a candidate for Governor of Virginia, though she declined due to heart disease and advancing age. Today both Stafford and Arlington Counties, Virginia, have Kate Waller Barrett Elementery Schools while Alexandria has a public library and a chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution named in her honor. Her date of birth is given variously between 1855 and 1858.

Bio by: Bob Hufford



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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 23 Feb 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 34129110
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dr Kate Waller Barrett (24 Jan 1857–23 Feb 1925), Find A Grave Memorial no. 34129110, citing Aquia Episcopal Church Cemetery, Aquia, Stafford County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .