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Buffalo Federation of Women’s Clubs

The Buffalo Federation of Women’s Clubs, founded in 1905, focused its mission on citizenship, education and philanthropy. Some of the organizations early efforts included advocating for the need for school nurses, covering the salary of the City of Buffalo’s first female police officer, selling bonds during World War II, and urging legislators to locate Vietnam era soldiers missing in action and being held as prisoners of war.

The federation has a long-standing association with the University at Buffalo. In 1909, it gave UB $2,000 towards the purchase of land to extend what later would become the south campus. Three permanent scholarships were established. One is in honor of the federation’s first president, Katharine Pratt Horton (1847-1931), and another, in memory of Sadie Rayner Altman (1860-1936), another early president of the organization. The third fund was set created in 1964, continuing the legacy of generosity of these women leaders.

Born in Buffalo, Horton was a descendant of John Pratt, who came to Massachusetts from England in 1632. Her grandfather founded Pratt & Letchworth Manufacturing Company and the Manufacturers & Traders Bank. She was Regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution Buffalo Chapter, active in welcoming noted global leaders to Buffalo events, such as the Pan American Exposition, and hosted President and Mrs. McKinley and President and Mrs. Roosevelt during their visits.

Altman was originally from Baltimore and married Henry Altman in London in 1887. He was raised in Buffalo, graduated from Cornell University and founded Altman & Co. clothing firm. The couple’s associations extended to the Buffalo Republican League, Bell Telephone Co., the Buffalo Library, and the National Grand Army of the Republic Encampment, welcoming nearly 50,000 veterans to Buffalo in 1897.

Scholarship funds raised at the group’s annual fashion show are currently allocated to UB, Buffalo State College and Erie Community College students.

Pictured: Katharine Pratt Horton (1848 – 1931)