Friend, Kate Harrison (ca. 1856–1949)

By: Megan Seaholm

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1995

Kate Harrison Friend, Shakespeare scholar, writer, humanitarian, and clubwoman, known familiarly as Miss Kate, was born in Boligee, Alabama, probably in 1856 to Dr. Nathaniel and Armiento or Araminta (Harrison) Friend. She was a descendant on her father's side of Pocahontas and on her mother's side of President William Henry Harrison. Her parents moved to Cuero, Texas, and in 1885 she and her widowed mother moved to Waco. She had read the complete works of William Shakespeare by the age of thirteen. She operated a private school with her mother and later taught and served as principal in the Waco school district. She wrote for several newspapers, briefly edited her own local society paper, Artesia, and was the drama, literature, and society editor for the Waco Times-Herald (see WACO TRIBUNE-HERALD). She organized the Waco Shakespeare Club in 1899. In 1900 she won a national Shakespeare association essay competition. Her Shakespeare study courses were used in women's clubs all over the United States. She served as president of the Waco City Federation of Women's Clubs and as chairman of several committees of the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs. During World War I she organized Waco clubwomen for war work and was one of the four women chosen to supervise the women's clubs' recreational canteen in France. Miss Kate helped found the first Waco animal shelter, the city's first park system, and the Waco Community Chest. She worked with the Waco Humane Society for over forty years and was its secretary from 1924 until her death on May 14, 1949. She left her entire estate to the Waco Humane Society.

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Kate Harrison Friend Papers, Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco. History of the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs (Vol. 1., ed. Stella L. Christian, Houston: Texas Federation of Women's Clubs, 1919; Vol. 2., ed. Fannie C. Potter, Denton: Texas Federation of Women's Clubs, 1941). Dayton Kelley, ed., The Handbook of Waco and McLennan County, Texas (Waco: Texian, 1972). Theresa D. Saegert, Miss Kate Friend (MS, Texas Collection, Baylor University).
  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • Women
  • Women's Clubs
Time Periods:
  • Progressive Era

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Megan Seaholm, “Friend, Kate Harrison,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 14, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995

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