From Prairie to Prison: The Life of Social Activist Kate Richards O'Hare


This is the first full-length biography of the woman who crusaded tirelessly for women, workers, and children, and became the most celebrated socialist woman from the West.

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This is the first full-length biography of the woman who crusaded tirelessly for women, workers, and children, and became the most celebrated socialist woman from the West.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Miller introduces readers to a progressive American female figure, known by many as 'Red Kate', and allows the audience to better understand O'Hare's contributions to the Socialist Party during its heyday in the first two decades of the twentieth century. The dedication and admiration that the author feels for her subject is clearly revealed; however, objectivity is not compromised. While presenting O'hare's agenda, Miller also analyzes some of the activist's seemingly inconsistent views-namely her attitudes toward blacks, and sometimes even women. A valuable bibliographic essay takes interested readers on a brief odyssey of the author's research. She points to avenues for additional information on may of the people, places, and ideas key to this biography."--Missouri Historical Review

"Sally M. Miller corrects an historical injustice that had previously relegated the renowned socialist and prison reformer to a secondary position in American radical history. . . . Not only does Miller firmly establish O'Hare's significance to the American Socialist party, but she also brings O'Hare and her time to life with colorful details."--Arkansas Historical Quarterly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Miller, who edited Kate Richards O'Hare: Selected Writings and Speeches , here presents a scholarly study of her subject's unusual life. Born in 1876 into a poor farming family in Kansas, O'Hare became a socialist after hearing a speech by Mother Jones. After her marriage to socialist Frank O'Hare, they traveled together lecturing to factory workers and farmers on economic and social injustice. Later, as parents of four children, Frank stayed home to care for them while his wife continued to travel and organize for the American Socialist Party, becoming one of the best-known female crusaders and a close colleague of Eugene Debs. Like Debs, she was imprisoned for her opposition to WW I and she spent 14 months in jail during 1919-1920. Her imprisonment led to the breakup of her marriage and also caused her to re-direct her energies from the Socialist Party to penal reform, the cause she championed until her death in 1948. (July)
Chronicles the public and private life of a woman who grew up in the 1870s in Kansas to become widely known as "Red Kate" because of her outspoken socialist beliefs, her energetic activism, and her challenge to virtually all American institutions, particularly as they impinged on the rights of the underprivileged. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826208989
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1993
  • Series: Missouri Biography Series
  • Pages: 261
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Sally M. Miller is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. She is author or editor of several books, including Kate Richards O'Hare: Selected Writings and Speeches and The Ethnic Press in the United States.

The Missouri Biography Series, edited by William E. Foley

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