"SARAH PLATT DECKER: NATIONAL WOMEN'S CLUB LEADER AND COLORADO SUFFRAGIST"
THE STORY: I was once asked to give a talk on the federated women's clubs of Colorado. I initially agreed and then realized I did NOT want to give a talk or a power point presentation on the subject. BORING! So I created my second persona, Sarah Platt Decker, who was - unlike Gail Murphy - a real human being and not a composite of women or a figment of my imagination. I had lots of information on Mrs. Decker because my first master's thesis was on six Denver area women's clubs.
THE PERSON: Beginning in 1868, women banded together to found women's clubs in cities and towns across the nation. Most early clubs were literary clubs in which women studied classical literature, art, history, and languages. Presenting and discussing papers on a wide variety of topics resulted in these clubs being called “universities for middle-aged women.” Later departmental clubs arose, focusing on philanthropic, political, and humanitarian issues.
United under the General Federation of Women's Clubs and state federations, these clubs left an impressive legacy with their efforts in establishing public libraries and national and state parks, pushing for the passage of laws protecting working women and children, advocating for educational reforms, and founding, supporting, and staffing orphanages, hospitals, and homes for the elderly and disadvantaged.
In Colorado, Mrs. Decker, president of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, was the only woman invited by President Theodore Roosevelt to the Governors' Conference on the Conservation of Natural Resources. She was being touted as a possible candidate for the United States Senate when she suddenly passed away in 1912.
I present Mrs. Decker in the middle of the progressive era reforms for which the clubs were so active.
PRESENTATIONS: For a fee, you may schedule a presentation of Sarah Platt Decker. Generally, the presentation is 35-40 minutes followed by a Q & A session. Contact me at for more details.