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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kitty Marion
Kitty Marion (Katherina Maria Schafer) c. 1913.jpg
Criminal record picture
Born 1871
Died 1944
Nationality United Kingdom

Kitty Marion (née Katherina Maria Schafer; 1871–1944) was an actress and political activist. She was a prominent suffragette during the women's suffrage movement in the United Kingdom, and is famous for having endured more than 200 force-feedings in prison while on hunger strike.[1] After emigrating to the USA she was again arrested nine times – this time for birth control advocacy.


Marion was born in Rietberg in Westphalia, Germany, on 12 March 1871. Her mother died of tuberculosis when she was two leaving Marion with her father. Four years later when Marion was six, her step-mother also died of tuberculosis. Her father, whose name is not known, abused Marion and hated that she had red hair.[2] When Marion was 15, she was sent by her father to live with her aunt in England. After moving to England, she became an actress and took the name Kitty Marion. She worked her way up from chorus to named parts and was briefly the temporary stand-in for the lead before she fell out with her employer. She then tried to find work in the music halls but found that employers expected sexual favours in exchange for the best work.[2]

Marion joined the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1908. She became a prominent activist in the women's suffrage movement and often engaged in protests, which sometimes turned violent. Marion was known as an arsonist. Marion was arrested numerous times in England for her activism.[3]

After World War I, Marion migrated to the United States. In America she worked with Margaret Sanger in publishing the Birth Control Review.[2] Marion sold the Review at 20 cents per copy in Times Square, Grand Central Station, and Coney Island. Standing on street corners, she endured heckling, death threats, physical abuse, and police harassment. Over the course of ten years, Marion was arrested nine times for her birth control advocacy.[4] In 1921, Marion joined Sanger in establishing America's first birth-control clinic. However, the clinic in Brooklyn was closed by the police.

She died in the Sanger Nursing Home in New York City on 9 October 1944.[2]


  1. ^ Casciani, Dominic. "Spy pictures of suffragettes revealed". BBC News Online. Retrieved 25 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Viv Gardner, "Marion, Kitty (1871–1944)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 accessed 8 Nov 2017
  3. ^ John Simkin, "Marion Kitty" Archived 2011-10-10 at the Wayback Machine. at Spartacus Educational.
  4. ^ Engelman, pp. 99–101.


  • Engelman, Peter C. (2011), A History of the Birth Control Movement in America, ABC-CLIO, ISBN 978-0-313-36509-6.
This page was last edited on 21 April 2018, at 07:18.
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