Kate Barnard


Kate Barnard Famous memorial

Geneva, Fillmore County, Nebraska, USA
Death 23 Feb 1930 (aged 54)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, USA
Burial Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, USA
Plot Lot: 7, Bl: 4
Memorial ID 9564189 View Source

Pioneer Politician, Social Reformer, Folk Figure. Born in Nebraska, Kate Barnard spent most of her childhood in Kansas, where family dislocation and financial failure clouded her early life. After Barnard and her father moved to Oklahoma Territory in the 1890s, Kate had stints as a schoolteacher and a stenographer before she discovered her life's work in politics and social reform. Kate Barnard was already an active social reformer when she was elected as Oklahoma's first Commissioner of Charities and Corrections in 1907. She was the first woman ever to be elected to a statewide office in the United States and without a single female vote (at that time women couldn't vote). From the time of her election in 1907 until the end of her two terms of office in 1914, she got 30 statutory laws passed through the Oklahoma Legislature, a record few legislators could compete with even today. These laws all dealt with the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Corrections. At the time of statehood there were no prisons in Oklahoma. Kate Barnard, during her seven years as commissioner, founded, built, and put in operation both the penitentiary and the reformatory. She had lofty, but realistic goals for the institutions, gave personal attention to the inmates herself, and expected the staff to do the same. While the Governor and the legislators wanted the institutions to be not only self-sufficient, but also revenue earners for the state, Kate wanted the inmates to be good citizens on release from the prison. Because of new constructions and the new programs, the staff had a sense of pride in their institutions. The prison inmates also gave a good account of themselves and cooperated with the staff, at least in the initial years.

Bio by: Barry Sharpe

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Barry Sharpe
  • Added: 7 Oct 2004
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 9564189
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Kate Barnard (23 May 1875–23 Feb 1930), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9564189, citing Fairlawn Cemetery, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .