Women in History – 20 May

Madeline (Madge) McDowell Breckinridge (May 20, 1872 – November 25, 1920) was a leader of the women’s suffrage movement.

She lobbied for women’s right to vote in board elections and for state and federal election voting rights. Kentucky ratified the constitution amendment for women’s right to vote on January 6, 1920 .She was instrumental in the adoption of legislation to establish the juvenile justice system, which was enacted in 1906. She also lobbied for child labor and compulsory school attendance legislation. Breckenridge was the founder of many civic organizations, including the Lexington Civic League, Associated Charities.

She led efforts to create these organizations, implement model schools for children and adults, parks and recreations, manual training programs, and health care facilities for tuberculosis treatment. McDowell had suffered from tuberculosis since she was a young woman, and the amputation of part of one of her legs necessitated the use of a wooden leg.

She was named one of the Kentucky Women Remembered in 1996 and her portrait is permanently displayed at the state capitol.