Kate Foote Coe

Katherine Elizabeth Foote Coe (May 31, 1840 – December 23, 1923) was an American educator, journalist, and traveler from Connecticut.

Early life

Katherine Foote was born in Guilford, Connecticut, one of the ten children of George Augustus Foote and Eliza Spencer Foote. George Foote's sister Roxana was the first wife of Lyman Beecher, so Kate and her siblings were the first cousins of Roxana Foote Beecher's children, including Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry Ward Beecher, Charles Beecher, Edward Beecher, and Catharine Beecher.[1] Kate's older sister Harriet Ward Foote married General Joseph Roswell Hawley, governor of Connecticut and United States senator.[2]


Foote taught at Hartford Female Seminary as a young woman. In 1863, she and her sister Harriet went to South Carolina and Florida with the New England Freedmen's Aid Society,[3] to teach former slaves during the American Civil War.[4] In 1872 she spent a year in Europe. When her sister Harriet died in 1886, Foote took over her position as president of the Women's National Indian Association from 1886 to 1895, traveling in the American west and advocating for the establishment of Indian schools and hospitals.[5] In 1886 she went to Alaska with Alice Cunningham Fletcher and Sheldon Jackson to study the educational needs of Alaska natives.[6] She then traveled to Japan with Emmeline Beach, daughter of Moses Yale Beach, to learn about women's lives there.[7]

Kate Foote also wrote for magazines and newspapers. She was the Washington correspondent for the Independent for fifteen years (succeeding Mary C. Ames),[8] and a contributor to Century magazine and St. Nicholas magazine.[9] She reported on Persian cats[10] and on varying opinions of the Washington Monument, among other topics.[11] She also co-wrote a biography of her sister Harriet with their friend Maria Huntington.[12]

As a clubwoman, Foote was a charter member of the Washington D. C. chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and head of the Meriden chapter of the same organization.[7]

Some Chilkat woven blankets Kate Foote Coe acquired in or from Alaska were donated to the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University.[13] In 2011, the museum made plans to repatriate one of the blankets, which was determined to have been removed from a "funerary context."[14] Coe also donated baskets that she acquired in Japan and India to the Peabody.[15]

Personal life

Kate Foote married Andrew J. Coe, a judge, in 1895.[16] They spent the first few months of their marriage in Venezuela, where Andrew was trying to recover his health. She was widowed when Judge Coe died two years later in 1897.[7] In widowhood she lived with her younger sister, Elizabeth Foote Jenkins, in New Haven, Connecticut. Kate Foote Coe died in 1923, aged 83 years.[17]

Kate Foote Coe's niece Margaret Foote Hawley was an artist who specialized in portrait miniatures.[18]


  1. "Other Nook Farm Houses and Residents", Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.
  2. Maggie MacLean, "Harriet Foote Hawley: Civil War Nurse and Occasional Journalist" Civil War Women (May 19, 2014).
  3. James Oliver Horton, Lois E. Horton, Slavery and the Making of America (Oxford University Press 2005): 181. ISBN 9780195179033
  4. Barbara Brackman, Facts & Fabrications – Unraveling the History of Quilts & Slavery: 8 Projects (C&T Publishing 2010): 94. ISBN 9781607053866
  5. Cathleen D. Cahill, "'Noble Women Not a Few': The Lake Mohonk Conferences" in Valerie Sherer Mathes, ed., The Women's National Indian Association: A History (UNM Press 2015): 221-222. ISBN 9780826355645
  6. Joan T. Mark, A Stranger in Her Native Land: Alice Fletcher and the American Indians (University of Nebraska Press 1988): 138-146. ISBN 9780803281561
  7. Charles Bancroft Gillespie, George Munsor Curtis, An Historic Record and Pictorial Description of the Town of Meriden, Connecticut (Journal Publishing Co. 1906): 320-322.
  8. "People and Things" Kate Field's Washington (1895): 78.
  9. De Benneville Randolph Keim, Society in Washington (Harrisburg Publishing Company 1887): 98.
  10. Kate Foote, "Pets from Persia" St. Nicholas (March 1879): 342-347.
  11. Kirk Savage, Monument Wars: Washington D. C., the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape (University of California Press 2009): 136. ISBN 9780520256545
  12. Maria Huntington and Kate Foote, Harriet Ward Foote Hawley (privately printed, 1880).
  13. Report of the President of Yale University (1903): 182.
  14. "Notice of Intent To Repatriate a Cultural Item" Peabody Museum of Natural History, Federal Register 76(196)(October 11, 2011).
  15. George Grant MacCurdy, "Progress in Anthropology at Peabody Museum of Yale University" Science (February 20, 1903): 289.
  16. "Miss Kate Foote is to Wed" Inter Ocean (December 18, 1894): 5. via Newspapers.com
  17. "Woman Historian and Indian Authority Dies" Houston Post (December 25, 1923): 15. via Newspapers.com
  18. "Margaret Foote Hawley" Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery.
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