Home |  PublicationsEncyclopedia |  O'Hare, Kate Richards

The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

O'HARE, KATE RICHARDS (1876–1948).

Socialist organizer Kate Richards was born March 26, 1876, on a farm in Ottawa County, Kansas. Her family moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where she joined the Christian Endeavor Society, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and the Florence Crittenton Missionary Society. She attended Pawnee City Academy in Pawnee City, Nebraska, receiving a teaching certificate in 1894. She taught school for several years but eventually returned to Kansas City and worked as a secretary in her father's machine shop. Acquiring a share of the enterprise, she joined the International Association of Machinists. Through union activities she became acquainted with socialist doctrines.

In 1901 she moved to Girard, Kansas, to attend the International School of Social Economy. There she met Frank P. O'Hare. They were married in 1902 and moved to Chandler, Oklahoma Territory (O.T.), in 1904, and Frank O'Hare wrote for the Chandler Publicist, a socialist newspaper. Kate O'Hare began organizing Oklahoma women into the Socialist Party. She was instrumental in building a strong grassroots socialist organization in Oklahoma. Her oratorical skills and ability to reach her audience made her a popular speaker. She traveled throughout O.T. and the Southwest delivering the socialist message at town meetings and socialist encampments.

In 1909 the O'Hares moved from Chandler to Kansas City, Kansas. She continued her work for the Socialist Party and was elected to the National Executive Committee in 1910. In 1917 she served as chair of the War and Militarism Committee at the St. Louis Emergency Convention and as international secretary of the Socialist Party. She spent four years in the Missouri State Penitentiary for her antiwar protests. After her release she worked for women's prison reform. Kate Richards O'Hare died of coronary thrombosis on January 10, 1948, in Benicia, California.

Suzanne H. Schrems


Neil Basen, "Kate Richards O'Hare: The First Lady of American Socialism," Labor History 21 (November 1980).

Sally M. Miller, Prairie to Prison: The Life of Socialist Activist Kate Richards O'Hare (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1993).

Suzanne H. Schrems, Across the Political Spectrum: Oklahoma Women in Politics in the Early Twentieth Century, 1900–1930 (Lincoln, Nebr.: Writers Club Press, 2001).


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Suzanne H. Schrems, “O'Hare, Kate Richards,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=OH001.

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS). This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and part or in whole.