Rotan, Kate Sturm McCall (1851–1931)

By: Roger N. Conger

Type: Biography

Published: October 1, 1995

Kate Rotan, civic leader, daughter of James L. L. and Eliza Ann (Sturm) McCall, was born in Mount Vernon, Kentucky, in 1851. Her family moved to Waco in 1852. Tutored at home, she graduated from Waco Female College in 1865. While teaching school in East Waco she met Edward Rotan, a fellow teacher, and they were married on August 22, 1869. They were the parents of nine children. Mrs. Rotan was a dedicated civic and social worker. She was an organizer and first president of the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs, a regent of the Henry Downs Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and a National Committeewoman of the Colonial Dames. She was a member of the state Board of Control, which established the Gainesville State School for Girls and was a leader in the establishment of Waco's first public library. In 1911 she purchased and cleared the land for Riverside Driveway (Rotan Drive), which connected the downtown area with the then-new Cameron Park. Rotan died on October 17, 1931, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Waco.

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Dayton Kelley, ed., The Handbook of Waco and McLennan County, Texas (Waco: Texian, 1972). Megan Seaholm, Earnest Women: The White Woman's Club Movement in Progressive Era Texas, 1880–1920 (Ph.D. dissertation, Rice University, 1988). Texas Federation News, December 1931. Waco Tribune-Herald, October 18, 1931.
  • Education
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Advocates
  • 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.

Roger N. Conger, “Rotan, Kate Sturm McCall,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 1, 1995

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