A great Oklahoma woman of the past will be the guest speaker at the January 15th meeting of the Bryan County Federation of Democratic Women (BCFDW). Mabel Bourne Bassett, six-term Commissioner of Corrections and Charities—or at least a reasonable facsimile of Bassett will talk about her life as a female activist in Oklahoma from 1910, when her husband, children, and she moved from Chicago to Sapulpa, through the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.
The real Mabel Bourne Bassett died in 1953. Mary Kathryn Hodge, living BCFDW member and resident of Colbert, will address the club in the role of Bassett. As Commissioner of the now defunct Corrections and Charities, Bassett worked to improve the miserable living conditions of the state’s inmates. Hodge says that Bassett is “an example of Oklahoma women who have served the people of this state as a member of the Democratic Party.”
Hodge goes on to call Bassett “an advocate of women and children of all races.” The Oklahoma women’s retention site in Pottawatomie County, was named in her honor: The Mabel Bassett Correctional Facility.
Mary Kathryn Hodge was born in Denison and grew up in Colbert. She graduated from Colbert High School and earned a degree in English Education at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. She taught at Colbert, Denison, Wright City, Forest Grove, and Haworth and worked eight years for the McCurtain Gazette, often billed as “the gateway to Oklahoma history.” She has served on a number of cultural and educational boards, including the Southeastern Public Library System of Oklahoma board, and is past president of the Southeastern Alumni Association and current president of the boards of the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival and the Wesley Foundation. She is a member of the American Association of University Women.
The January 15th Federation meeting at Sports City Cafe will begin at 12 noon. Lunch is Dutch treat, and guests are welcome. For further information, contact First Vice-President Ronda DeCaire at 1-580-434-2204.