Hannah Patterson
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Hannah Jane Patterson (1879 - 1937)

Hannah Jane Patterson
Born in Smithton, South Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, United Statesmap
Sister of
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died at age 57 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 9 May 2014
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Hannah Jane Patterson was a pioneer advocate of women's suffrage and a dominant figure in the feminist movement. She was a significant factor in getting both party platforms to endorse suffrage by state action.
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Hannah Patterson was a part of the Suffragette Movement.
Hannah Patterson was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

Hannah Jane Patterson

Hannah Jane Patterson, daughter of John Patterson and Harriet McKune was born on November 5, 1879 at Smithton in Pennsylvania.[1]

Hannah graduated from Wilson College in 1901 and later on, became a member of the institutions board of trustees and the only woman member of its finance committee. She attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School and in later years Columbia University, where she studied finance. With this background she used her skills to become director of the West Newton bank where her father had served as president.[2]

Shortly after graduating from Wilson, Hannah took up the fight for women's suffrage. At first her attention was on local women's suffrage but in 1912 Hannah became state chairman of the Women's Suffrage Party of Pennsylvania. A post she held until 1915. In 1916 she became correspondence secretary for the National American Women's Suffrage Association.[3]

Women,s Suffrage Poster

World war one started and women's suffrage movements where temporarily put on hold. During which time Hannah became a director of the Women's Committee for National Defense. For her work in this post she received the Distinguished Service Medal. Only 12 women were ever awarded with the DSM. [4]

Her citation reads:[5]

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Army Distinguished Service Medal to Hannah J. Patterson, a United States Civilian, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility during World War I. Hannah Paterson devoted herself through the whole period of the war to executive work of the Women's Committee of the Council of National Defense, devoting herself with great ability and energy to the organization of the activities and interests of the women throughout the United States in the interest of the successful prosecution of the war and, by her efforts, contributed to the splendid cooperation on the part of the women of the country in the great national emergency.
Distinguished Service Medal

Hannah Patterson had devoted much of her younger life to women's suffrage. When the 19th Amendment was added to the Constitution in 1920 and women had won their voting rights, Hannah decided to move on a different career path.

Hannah Patterson died on August 21, 1937 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She was buried on August 23, 1937 at West Newton Cemetery, Westmoreland County, PA.[6]

Bow Brooch

Research Notes

The category - "Category: Distinguished Service Medal" - appears to be incorrect and is removed. This category is for those in the military. See Sticker.


  1. Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: South Huntingdon, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1204; Family History Film: 1255204; Page: 259A; Enumeration District: 119.
  2. Wikisource contributors, "Page:Woman's who's who of America, 1914-15.djvu/615," Wikisource , http://en.wikisource.org/w/index.php title=Page:Woman%27s_who%27s_who_of_America,_1914-15.djvu/615&oldid=3008615 (accessed May 10, 2014).
  3. "Patterson, Hannah (1879–1937)." Dictionary of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women Through the Ages. 2007. HighBeam Research. (May 10, 2014). http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G2-2588818580.html
  4. US History and Information. "Index of Recipients of U.S. Military Awards." Major Military Rewards. Patterson, Hannah J., Council of National Defense - Awarded: DSM-A - World War One https://homeofheroes.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Major-Military-Award-Recipients-ALL-0322.pdf For Hannah, see page 409: (C) Patterson, Hannah J., Council of National Defense - Awarded: DSM-A - World War I (accessed July 17, 2022).
  5. "Military Times Hall of Valor." Valor awards for Hannah J. Patterson. https://valor.militarytimes.com/hero/18016 (accessed July 16, 2022).
  6. The Pittsburgh Press Aug 21 1937 page 1. Hannah Patterson leader in suffrage crusade dies.
  • Source: S828675112 1900 United States Federal Census Ancestry.com Publication: Ancestry.com Operations Inc 2004 Provo, UT, USA Record Collection 7602 Note: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. <i>Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900</i>. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.
  • Source: S828675192 1880 United States Federal Census Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Publication: Ancestry.com Operations Inc 2010 Lehi, UT, USA Record Collection 6742 Note: Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. (NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C..

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