Drexel, Katharine (1858–1955)

Katharine Drexel was an American philanthropist, business figure, and religious leader who had a significant impact on the education of children of color in the American West and South. Her early life did not point to her future as an influential figure in the women's West. Born to a family of great wealth, Drexel, her sister, Elizabeth, and half-sister, Louise, were raised amid the plush trappings of Philadelphia society. Her parents—father Francis and stepmother Emma—surrounded their daughters with gracious living and the rhythms of the Roman Catholic faith. Emma Drexel in particular molded her three daughters with a moral philosophy that emphasized that the privilege of wealth included responsibility to others. Social engagements, intellectual interests, religious fervor, and business dealings were woven through the fabric ...

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