The Suffragist's Daughter - Hilda Kate Lovell-Smith (1886-1973)
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“Kitty” as she was known, is the odd-woman-out in this collection of recordings. Born in 1886 she was only a child when the 1893 election was held, certainly too young to vote. But she is included here because of her first-hand recollections of the suffrage campaigning by her mother, Jennie Lovell-Smith - and her mother’s good friend, Kate Sheppard.
Kitty was born at Riccarton in Christchurch, the third daughter of ten children of Jennie and her husband, William, a printer. Both parents were close friends of Kate Sheppard, whose name was also given to Hilda, who was known as ‘Kitty’ for most of her life. Sheppard lived with the family for many years and after Jennie’s death in 1924, she married William, which made her Kitty’s ‘step-mother’ (although Kitty was 38 years old by that time.)
Given her upbringing, Kitty Lovell-Smith could not help but grow up with a belief in equality for women and she became active in the National Council for Women which her mother and Kate Sheppard had helped found in 1896. She was secretary of the N.C.W. from 1919 -1927 and President in the 1950s. She was also involved in other women’s organisations such as the Y.W.C.A. and Soroptimists.
In this excerpt from a radio interview from 1968 she recalls her mother’s campaigning with the suffrage petition in Canterbury and the momentous day in September 1893 when the Act was passed giving women the vote.
Image: Portrait by H.H. Clifford. Supplied by Margaret Lovell-Smith
Catalogue Reference 282401
Lovell-Smith, Hilda Kate