US social activist. She spent 15 years as a socialist lecturer in the American Midwest 1899–1914. Somewhat discouraged by Socialism, she then dedicated herself to prison reform. She remained active in progressive politics and as assistant director of the California Department of Penology 1939–40, she reformed the state's prison system.
She was born near Ada, Kansas. Drought drove her family to Kansas City where her father became part owner of a machine shop. Kate trained as a teacher in Nebraska and taught one winter, but in 1894 she went to work as a machinist's apprentice in her father's shop. She joined the union, was active as a temperance worker, and soon exchanged her Christian faith for the ideals of socialism as preached by such as ‘Mother’ Jones. She joined the Socialist Party in 1899. She published articles and wrote a novel, ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1910, was a delegate to the Second International in London in 1913. Speaking out publicly in opposition to US participation in World War I, she was sentenced to five years in jail but served only one 1919–20. In 1922 she joined a cooperative colony in Louisiana where she published a socialist paper and tried to start a college for workers' education; by 1924 this all failed.
She married a socialist Francis O'Hare in 1899. Divorced from O'Hare in 1928, she later married Charles Cunningham, a San Francisco lawyer, and went to live in California.