Katherine K. Brown

From Ohio History Central

Beginning in the 1920s, Katharine Kennedy Brown was active in Ohio politics.

Brown was born on July 16, 1891, in Dayton, Ohio. Her family was wealthy, and Katharine socialized with the most powerful families in this community. She traveled extensively in Europe and received her initial education from German and French governesses. Brown eventually attended Dayton public schools and then enrolled in Wellesley College. In 1921, Katharine married Kleo Thaw Brown. The couple had one child, who died shortly after birth. Katharine's husband also died soon into the marriage -- in 1925. Brown never remarried.

Upon women gaining the right to vote in 1920, Brown immediately pursued a political career and was a devoted supporter of the Republican Party. Brown immediately sought a seat on the Montgomery County Republican Executive Committee. The male members, at first, denied her a seat, but Brown eventually triumphed. She also established Montgomery County's first Women's Republican Club. Brown continued to advance through the Republican Party's organization, becoming a member of the Republican State Committee in 1928. She retained this position for forty years. From 1932 to 1968, Brown served on the Republican National Committee. She also was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of Republican Women's Clubs. From 1942 to 1952, Brown served on the Executive Committee of the Republican National Committee and, in 1944, became the Vice-Chairman of the Republican National Committee, a position that she held until 1952.Brown held innumerable other positions within the Republican Party, including as one of Ohio's delegates to nine separate Republican National Conventions.

Brown emerged as an important advisor to numerous state and national political leaders during her service to the Republican Party. She advised John Bricker, James Rhodes, Robert Taft, and Richard Nixon. She also served as the only female member of Bricker and Taft's National Strategy Committees when these two men sought the U.S. presidency.

Brown died on November 10, 1986. During Brown's lifetime, women gained tremendous opportunities within the political arena, and some, like Brown, emerged as major political players.

See Also


  1. Rymph, Catherine E. Republican Women: Feminism and Conservatism from Suffrage through the Rise of the New Right. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2006.