GLASGOW — Madeline McDowell Breckinridge will come to life during a Kentucky Chautauqua performance, “Votes for Women,” on Saturday.
The program commemorates the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution and is being presented by the Edmund Rogers Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution at the South Central Kentucky Cultural Center.
“This is the first meeting of this DAR term so we wanted to start with something that would pull in some of the general public that we don't usually see and it will benefit both the museum and the Daughters of the American Revolution,” said June Jackson, chapter regent for the DAR.
Breckinridge is known for her work in helping women gain the right to vote with the passage of the 19th constitutional amendment.
“It was passed by Congress on June 4, 1919 and ratified by Kentucky on Jan. 6, 1920. They needed, I believe, 36 states to ratify it to make it law and the final state was Tennessee, which ratified on Aug. 18, 1920. The amendment then became law on that date,” Jackson said.
Breckinridge is the great-granddaughter of Henry Clay, a lawyer who served in both the Kentucky House of Representatives and the State Senate in the early 1800s before being named U.S. Secretary of State by President John Quincy Adams.
“She was born on May 20, 1872. She spent most of her time I think in the Ashland Estate in Lexington, but she worked tirelessly for women's suffrage association. She stuck with the program until the final ratification by Kentucky on Jan. 6, 1920,” Jackson said. “In 1920 she voted in her first and only presidential election. She passed away at the age of 48 on Thanksgiving Day in 1920. She was a very influential person and we're happy to celebrate her life.”
The person portraying Breckinridge is Kelly O'Connell Brengleman.
“She is from Midway, Kentucky and has been performing the Madeline McDowell Breckinridge 'Votes for Women' program for quite a while,” Jackson said. “It was recommended to me by Deana (Snow), who actually saw it in Bowling Green. We're just very excited to have them here.”
Snow is a member of the DAR and praised Brengleman's portrayal of Breckinridge.
“She does a great job with it,” Snow said.
The performance is free to the public and will begin at noon on Saturday at the South Central Kentucky Cultural Center at 200 W. Water St.
Kentucky Chautauqua is a branch of Kentucky Humanities and currently features the portrayal of 26 people from Kentucky's historical past. For more information about the program, go to https://www.kyhumanities.org/programs/chautauqua.