In honor of Women’s History Month, we would like to honor our matriarch, Dr. Kate Waller Barrett, for her leadership and compassion for girls and young women who were often invisible to the eyes of the community.
Dr. Kate Waller Barrett
January 24, 1857 – February 23, 1925
Dr. Kate Waller Barrett was an innovative woman far ahead of her time. She was a humanitarian, philanthropist, and social reformer. While raising six children and opening a shelter for unwed mothers, she managed to obtain her M.D. and Sc.D. In 1895, Dr. Barrett officially joined forces with Charles Nelson Crittenton to co-found the National Florence Crittenton Mission (the Mission), now known as The National Crittenton Foundation (TNCF). Together, they established rescue homes for unwed mothers and “prostitutes” across the country. More than 70 Crittenton homes operated in the United States and abroad at the time of her death.
In 1909, Dr. Barrett became the Mission’s President and ignited the movement of supporting girls and young women, including girls and young women of color. Her advocacy efforts and leadership also supported girls and young women beyond the walls of the Crittenton homes.
Just a few of her many accomplishments include:
- Creating community action by partnering with John D. Rockefeller to create an anti-trafficking film titled, “Traffic in Souls;”
- Voted President of the National Council of Women;
- Welcoming a “colored home” as a new Crittenton home, and including Ms. Sarah Malone, the home’s leader and a women of color, in the Mission’s leadership;
- Appointed as a delegate to the 1924 Democratic National Convention;
- Appointed as special agent of the U.S. Bureau of Immigration for her anti-sex trafficking and system change advocacy changing the way girls and young women were treated while in custody; and
- Many more…
Dr. Kate Waller Barrett was a strong advocate for girls and young women, and she dedicated her life’s work to the movement of supporting them. Her legacy truly lives on through the mission and vision of The National Crittenton Foundation today.
To read more about Dr. Kate Waller Barrett and her many accomplishments, visit