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Katharine Rolston Fisher

Katharine Rolston Fisher

Katharine Rolston Fisher, Washington, D. C., native of Massachusetts. Great-great granddaughter of Artemas Ward, ranking Major General in Revolutionary War. Teacher, social worker and later employee of U. S. War Risk Bureau. She was a prolific writer of prose and verse on suffrage and feminist topics. She was arrested picketing Sept. 13, 1917, and sentenced to 30 days at the Occoquan workhouse.

Examples of her verse:
I watched a river of women

Rippling purple, white and golden,
Stream toward the National Capitol

Along its border,
Like a purple flower floating
Moved a young woman, worn, wraithlike.
All eyes alight, keenly observing the marchers
Out there on the curb, she looked so little, so lonely,
Few appeared even to see her,
No one saluted her.

Yet commander was she of the column, its leader,
She was the sprin whence arose that irresistible river of women
Streaming steadily towards the National Capitol.

Evening at Occoquan. Rain pelts the workhouse roof .

The prison matrons are sewing together for the Red Cross.
The women prisoners are going to bed in two long rows.
Some of the Suffrage pickets lie reading in the dim light.
Through the dark, above the rain, rings out a cry

We listen at the windows (Oh those cries from punishment cells!)
A voice calls one of us by name.

“Miss Burns! Miss Burns! Will you see that I have a drink of water?”
Lucy Burns arises; slips on the coarse blue prison gown.
Over it her swinging hair, red-gold, throws a regal mantle.

She begs the night watch to give the girl water.
One of the matrons leaves her war bandages; we see her hasten to the cell.
The light in it goes out.
The voice despairing cries:
“She has taken away the cup and she will not bring me water.”
Rain pours on the roof. The Suffragists lie awake.
The matrons work busily for the Red Cross.

Katherine Rolston Fisher The Suffragist October 17, 1917