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Branch (Emma (Smith) Ratterman) Papers, 1922-1928

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Branch (Emma (Smith) Ratterman) Papers




University Archives and Records CenterLouisville, Kentucky 40292

Conditions Governing Access note

Open to researchers

Preferred Citation Note

[Identification of item], Emma (Smith) Ratterman Branch, 1922-1928, University Archives and Records Center, University of Louisville, Louisville.


.10 linear foot


BRANCH, EMMA (SMITH) RATTERMAN (b Boone County, Kentucky, March 20, 1894; d Louisville, November 20, 1987). Legislator. The daughter of William and Sally Miller Smith, Branch moved to Louisville with her family in the late 1890s, where she attended the city's public schools. Not long after graduating from Louisville Girls High School, she married Raymond G. Ratterman in 1915, with whom she later had one son, George. Branch, who as a youth had attended political rallies with her father, had long been attracted to the legislative world. In 1921, just one year after the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, she became the first female to be elected to the city's now defunct common council. She served as a Republican on the council, which, along with the board of aldermen, made up the city's old bicameral government, representing the first ward until 1929. During her last term in office, in 1927, she became the first woman to be elected president of the Louisville Common Council.

Branch's first husband died in 1932, and she later married William Branch, who also preceded her in death. Emma Ratterman Branch is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery.

See Courier-Journal, November 22, 1987.

Republican Emma Smith Ratterman was the first female elected to the Louisville Board of Council. (From 1851-1929 Louisville was governed by a bicameral government consisting of the Board of Aldermen and the Board of Council.) She represented the First Ward from November of 1921 until the Council was disbanded in 1929. She also served as president of the Council from 1927 to 1929, the first woman to hold that position. Ratterman's first husband, Raymond G. Ratterman, who she married in 1915, died in 1932. She later married William Branch who also preceded her in death.

Scope and Content

This collection consists a few pieces of correspondence, clippings, and printed material relating to the political career of Emma Smith Ratterman Branch and were donated to University Archives by the bank that handled her estate.

User Restrictions

The copyright interests in the Emma (Smith) Ratterman Branch, 1922-1928 have not been transferred to the University of Louisville. For further information, see the section on copyright in the regulations and Procedures of the Special Collections Library or consult a reference archivist.

Collection Inventory

1. Correspondence, 1927-1928, n.d
2. Clippings, n.d
3. Printed material and Miscellaneous, 1922-1924, n.d
Scope and Content Note:

Located in manuscript box with accessions #1997-050 Roger E. Schupp Papers and #1998-074 Louis Lange Papers.

Hosted by the University of Kentucky

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