Kentucky native Madeline McDowell Breckinridge (1872-1920) was at the forefront of the suffrage movement at both the state and national levels. The great-granddaughter of Henry Clay and a descendant of several prominent Bluegrass families, Breckinridge inherited a sense of noblesse oblige that compelled her to speak for women's rights. However, it was her physical struggles and personal losses that transformed her from a privileged socialite into a selfless advocate for the disadvantaged. She devoted much of her life to the struggle for equal voting rights, but she also promoted the antituberculosis movement, social programs for the poor, compulsory school attendance, and laws regulating child labor. In ""Madeline McDowell Breckinridge and the Battle for a New South"", Melba Porter Hay recounts the remarkable life of this well-known vanguard of social change in the commonwealth. The first biography of Breckinridge since 1921, this work features new found primary sources, and draws on decades of research to bring the story of an extraordinary Kentucky woman to life.
Melba Porter Hay, former division manager of the Kentucky Historical Society, is coeditor of The Papers of Henry Clay, Roadside History: A Guide to Kentucky Highway Markers, and Kentucky: Land of Tomorrow.