In her letters to her brother, Jim, Kate Gleason mentions attending meetings of the Fortnightly Ignorance Club. Formed in 1880, this club was for Rochester’s professional and business women. It had many prestigious members, including Susan B. Anthony, Mary Stafford Anthony, and Dr. Sarah Dolley, who was the third woman in the United States to earn a medical degree. All three of these women were women’s rights advocates who fought for sexual equality through their careers and other efforts. For example, in 1872, they tried to advance the cause of woman suffrage by voting in the presidential election. Kate Gleason was only 7 years old at the time, but she was strongly influenced by women like Dolley and the Anthony sisters. When she grew up, she, too, supported the suffrage movement and carried on the women’s rights legacy through her own accomplished career.
Coming together at the Ignorance Club meetings, these progressive women and others like them, explored topics that would help them to achieve their personal and professional goals.