By Melba Porter Hay
Preeminent Kentucky reformer and women's rights suggest Madeline McDowell Breckinridge (1872--1920) used to be on the vanguard of social swap throughout the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries. A descendant of Henry Clay and the daughter of 2 of Kentucky's such a lot famous households, Breckinridge had a remarkably assorted activist occupation that incorporated roles within the merchandising of public well-being, schooling, women's rights, and charity. founding father of the Lexington Civic League and linked Charities, Breckinridge effectively lobbied to create parks and playgrounds and to set up a juvenile court docket method in Kentucky. She additionally turned president of the Kentucky equivalent Rights organization, served as vp of the nationwide American girl Suffrage organization, or even campaigned around the state for the League of countries. within the first biography of Breckinridge for the reason that 1921, Madeline McDowell Breckinridge and the conflict for a brand new South, Melba Porter Hay attracts on newly stumbled on correspondence and wealthy own interviews along with her lady affiliates to light up the attention-grabbing lifetime of this crucial Kentucky activist. Deftly balancing Breckinridge's public reform efforts along with her inner most issues, Hay tells the tale of Madeline's marriage to Desha Breckinridge, editor of the Lexington bring in, and the way she used the fit to her virtue by way of selling social motives within the newspaper. Hay additionally chronicles Breckinridge's ordeals with tuberculosis and amputation, and emotionally making an attempt episodes of family members betrayal and intercourse scandals. Hay describes how Breckinridge's actual struggles and private losses reworked her from a privileged socialite right into a selfless suggest for the deprived. Later as vice chairman of the nationwide American ladies Suffrage organization, Breckinridge lobbied for Kentucky's ratification of the 19th modification, which gave ladies definitely the right to vote in 1920. whereas devoting a lot of her existence to the lady suffrage move at the neighborhood and nationwide degrees, she additionally supported the antituberculosis circulation, social courses for the negative, obligatory tuition attendance, and legislation regulating baby hard work. In bringing to existence this remarkable reformer, Hay indicates how Breckinridge championed Kentucky's social improvement throughout the revolutionary period.
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Extra resources for Madeline McDowell Breckinridge and the Battle for a New South (Topics in Kentucky History)
Music continued to be her least-favorite activity, but she played “a little baby piece” in the spring concert. 33 The girls at Miss Porter’s became very excited when, during the spring, a center page of the Yale Record was devoted to sketches of Farmington. They ordered several copies, but Madge noted, “There is great trepidation . . ” On her return she had a new roommate, one who practiced music three and a half hours a day. “I am almost afraid to tell you that for fear you will think I ought to do it too,” she wrote her father.
24 In the autumn Madge visited Marion Houston in New York, and her foot seemed to have improved. Mrs. McDowell and Aunt Mag supplied clothes for the trip as pre-Christmas gifts, while her mother remarked that Major McDowell had accepted a position as president of Kentucky Utilities at a salary of $1,200 per year. 25 Given the foot problem, the pain it caused, and the hindrance of walking with crutches, it is amazing that Madge took part in so many social activities during these years. Equally notable is the large number of suitors she had, despite the restrictions she endured.
When they arrived in New York City, Madge stayed with the family of one of her closest friends, Marion Houston, daughter of James Buchanan Houston, and had lunch with Mrs. Benjamin Bristow. 30 Arriving at Miss Porter’s on October 9, she resided in the house of a Miss Hillard. Classes started two days later with Madge taking the subjects her father had advised except for general, rather than English, literature. ” Describing the meals at the school, she reported with enthusiasm that dessert was served for dinner every day, but she seemed puzzled that no butter accompanied their meals except on Sunday.