Kitty Marion

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Kitty Marion (née Katherina 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]


Marion was born in Westphalia, Germany in 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 (unknown name) abused Marion. 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. 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.[2]

After World War I, Marion migrated to the United States. In America she worked with Margaret Sanger in publishing the Birth Control Review. Kitty Marion sold the Review at 20 cents per copy in Times Square, Grand Central Station, and Coney Island. Standing on street corners, Marion 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.[3] 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 New York City in 1944.


  1. ^ Casciani, Dominic. "Spy pictures of suffragettes revealed". BBC News Online. Retrieved 25 January 2012. 
  2. ^ John Simkin, "Marion Kitty" at Spartacus Educational.
  3. ^ 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.