Union College and Kentucky Chautauqua presents “Votes for Women”

Published on
January 20, 2017

Madelin BreckinridgeUnion College is partnering with Kentucky Chautauqua to present Madeline McDowell Breckinridge: “Votes for Women” on Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 6 p.m. in the Patridge Campus Center. The event is sponsored by Union’s Educational Studies Unit and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs Kentucky – Barbourville Junior Woman’s Study Club.

The great-granddaughter of famed Kentucky Statesman Henry Clay, Madeline McDowell Breckinridge was instrumental in the women’s suffrage movement both on a state and national level. A leader in the Kentucky Equal Rights Association and later with the national organization, Breckinridge worked tirelessly for the rights of women in the Commonwealth and throughout the United States.

While many suffragists retreated from the movement to prevent women’s voting rights to pass through federal amendment, Madge worked more tenaciously to attain it, even when it meant butting heads with her own family members. Largely due to the efforts of Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, the Kentucky legislature ratified the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on January 9, 1920, guaranteeing all American women the right to vote.

While putting together boxes for the poor, Madeline McDowell Breckinridge suffered a stroke and died two days later on November 25, 1920 at the age of 48. She was able to vote in one U.S. Presidential election.

“We are privileged to work with Kentucky Chautauqua and the Barbourville Junior Women’s Study Club to bring events such as this to campus,” said Dr. Jason Reeves, Dean of Union’s Educational Studies Unit. “Our entire community is encouraged to join us and learn about this important moment in our history.”

Kelly O’Connell Brengelman portrays Madeline McDowell Breckinridge for Kentucky Chautaqua. Brengelman has been an actress for the Kentucky Humanities Council since 2005. Madeline McDowell Breckinridge is the third character Brengelman has portrayed. She previously portrayed Ruth Booe and Lucy Bakewell Audobon. She also works as an actor in documentaries, small films and commercial performances, including Cassius Marcellus Clay: An Audacious American, Kentucky Governor’s Mansions: A Century of Reflection, Rara Avis: The Life and Art of John James Audubon, Surviving Guthrie and many local, regional and national commercials.

Kentucky Chautauqua is an exclusive presentation of the Kentucky Humanities Council, Inc. with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and from Christina Lee Brown, the Brown-Forman Corporation, the Carson-Myre Charitable Foundation, the Cralle Foundation, the Elsa Heisel Sule Foundation, Lindsey Wilson College, Morehead State University, Paducah Bank, PNC and Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, Inc.

The Kentucky Humanities Council is a non-profit Kentucky corporation affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit kyhumanities.org or call (859) 257-5932.