Washington Women's History Consortium
Women's Clubs and Organizations
Madelene Pratt, President, 1944-1947
Washington State Federation of Women's Clubs
Mrs. Frank Pratt, Jr., Madelene Kohne, became the twenty-seventh President of the Washington State Federation when she
took office in September 1944, to complete the term of Mrs. Thornton, who resigned because of moving to Oregon.
Born on Whidby Island, Madelene was the only surviving child of Anthony and Madelene Kohne. Madelene was educated in
Coupeville schools until 12 years of age, when she entered high school in Seattle. She lived with her parents and her
maternal grandmother, all great readers, thinkers, lovers of nature, and of music. She began piano lessons at five years o
f age, and early absorbed much of the cultural atmosphere which later so enriched her life. She attended the University
of Washington, graduated from Western Washington University, attended the University of Berkeley, CA, and later took
three years at the Conservatory of Music at WSU, Pullman.
She taught at Pullman High School and later served for a time as Superintendent of Schools in her own county.
She was married in Redlands, CA, to Franklin J. Pratt, Jr., of Greenfield, Massachusetts. She had one son, Robert, a
graduate of the U. of W.
Her first club contact was at Pullman, where she was sent as a delegate to the Washington State Convention by the Pullman
Fortnightly Club. Most of her club service was rendered in Snohomish District, where she served as Chairman of Fine Arts,
Chairman of Education and Chairman of International Relations.
In the State Federation, she served as Chairman of International Relations and Dean of Chairmen, then as First Vice-president.
In her office of President, she stepped into the midstream of war work, but she immediately directed Federation thinking
toward the peace to come and post war planning became a department.
She took as her constructive program on the home front, Youth Conservation, and for the international emphasis, Building
The Board meeting was in Sedro Woolley, the board being entertained in the homes, for the first time in many years. The Board
went on record as opposed to the proposed loosening of the terms of the Liquor Laws of Washington and supported released time
for religious education in our school system, with credit for such education.
The Board also voted to dispense with elections until such time as the government again allowed conventions to be held. Under
the order of the national government, no meetings of over 50 could be held except in case of emergency, when special permission
had to be obtained.
In June a Board meeting was in Yakima, instead of the usual convention. The death of Mrs. Rose Larson, Past President of
WSFWC from Yakima, was mourned by both Seniors and Juniors, for Rose had organized the State Juniors.
Alcohol studies became a vital part of the Youth Conservation program.
The war came to an end in the spring of 1945.
The Mid-year Board meeting was in Seattle. With the holding of conventions again possible, the question of elections had to
be faced, as all officers had served their full terms or more. It was decided to hold elections, according to the schedule
as outlined in the bylaws. and elect Second Vice-president, Secretary, and Second Director in 1946, the other officers in
1947. This decision was ratified at the opening session of the convention in June 1946.
Mrs. Swensson, Past President of the State Federation, passed away in 1946, after a long illness.
In June 1946, the State Federation celebrated its 50th Anniversary in Tacoma. The convention theme, "Not to be Ministered unto,
but to Minister," was carried all through the convention. 322 registered delegates were present.
Mrs. Pratt was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Washington Interim Committee on Juvenile Delinquency.
Mrs. Milton Sutton, Recording Secretary of the Federation, brought honor to the State by winning first prize in the General
Federation Essay Contest "Why Federate?"
The Mid-year Board meeting was in Pasco in January of 1947. One project was to send clothes to needy people abroad. Another
was to support war orphans either as individuals or as clubs.
The 1947 convention was in Seattle. The program featured plans for peace through better understanding and international
friendship abroad and a return to our long established welfare and cultural projects at home.
Mrs. Pratt was appointed Chairman of the American Home Department of the General Federation, giving Washington State its
first board appointment on the GFWC Board for many years. Mrs. Jean Gawler, who passed away in 1943, had been the representative
from Washington for over ten years. Since that time, no Board appointment had been held in Washington, the only voting member
from the state being our Director.