Madeline McDowell Breckinridge: “Madeline McDowell Breckinridge was Kentucky's foremost Progressive reformer. A founder of the Lexington Civic League and the Associated Charities, the person primarily responsible for the establishment of the Blue Grass Sanatorium and the Lincoln Model School, and the principal leader of the woman suffrage movement during the final years before ratification of the federal woman suffrage amendment, Madge Breckinridge was at the time of her death the most famous and influential woman in Kentucky."
- Melba Porter Hay, Ph.D.
Madeline Breckinridge grew up at the family home, Ashland, built by her famous great- grandfather Henry Clay. In 1898, she married Desha Breckinridge, the editor of the Lexington Herald and brother of Sophonisba Breckinridge. Madeline Breckinridge's list of achievements is a long one. She was chair of the Kentucky Federation of Women's Clubs from 1908-1912. During this time she successfully pushed for the passage of legislation allowing women to vote in school board elections. She was president of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association for two separate terms and vice-president of theNational Women's Suffrage Association. The importance of her efforts in the fight for women's suffrage cannot be overstated by those in Kentucky and the rest of the nation. She died in November of 1920, shortly after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, and after she cast her first and only vote. She had lived to see a great dream realized.
A Mother's Sphere
By Madeline McDowell Breckinridge
Published by the National Woman Suffrage Publishing Company, Inc., 1917
(Courtesy of Margaret I. King Library Special Collections and Archives, University of Kentucky)
View the revision of the song “My Old Kentucky Home” composed by Madeline McDowell Breckinridge in celebration of Kentucky women gaining the right to vote.