Katherine “Kitty” Seaman Beck Irvine (1885-1933) helped organize Emma Goldman’s lectures in Portland; she was a friend and secretary of Charles Erskine Scott Wood, a Portland lawyer and subscriber to Mother Earth; Goldman called her “the most beautifulspirit among all my women friends,” in a letter to Stella Cominsky Ballantine from Jefferson City Prison.

Kitty was 17 years old and recently divorced when she was hired by C.E.S. Wood as his private secretary in his Portland, Oregon law office. She and Wood began an intermittent long-term affair. In 1911, she married an alcoholic physician in reaction to the appearance of Sara Bard Field in Wood's life. Kitty's second marriage was also ill-fated. She was living near Seattle with radical lawyer George F. Vanderveer when she was either murdered or committed suicide.

Kitty's mansion was frequented by Emma Goldman and birth control advocate Margaret Sanger. When Kitty died a mysterious death in 1924, Emily Seaman, Kitty’s sister, was hired by Col. Wood to write the biography of Wood’s father, the first surgeon general of the U.S. Navy.


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