Premiere of New Documentary: Discovering Catharine

The McCulloch family, in collaboration with Evanston filmmaker Susan Hope Engel of Hope Productions and Dean Bushala of Red Branch Productions Ltd., is proud to announce the premiere of Discovering Catharine. This one-hour documentary explores the life and legacy of Evanston suffragist Catharine Waugh McCulloch (1862 – 1945), an early female attorney and a fervent champion of women’s rights. The Evanston Women’s History Project has been connected to this project since its inception in 2020.

Ann McCulloch, the great-granddaughter of Catharine Waugh McCulloch (pictured right with Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss at the unveiling of the Votes for Women Trail marker for McCulloch in Evanston at McCulloch park), uncovered her great-grandmother’s memoirs and a trove of documents at Harvard’s Schlesinger Library two decades ago. This personal journey has culminated in a well-researched documentary, enriched by insights from legal scholars and women’s suffrage historians who have studied McCulloch’s profound impact on women’s rights.

Catharine Waugh McCulloch graduated from Northwestern Law School (formerly Union
College of Law) in 1886, becoming one of the first female attorneys in the United States.
Alongside her husband, Frank McCulloch, she founded McCulloch & McCulloch law firm in
Chicago before moving to Evanston in1893 to raise their four children. McCulloch’s legal work was instrumental in obtaining joint guardianship of children, raising the age of consent, and securing women’s suffrage through state and national legislation. Her
contributions continue to inspire current movements for voting access and gender equality.

For more about McCulloch, and her work for women’s suffrage and other rights in Illinois and beyond, you can explore the Evanston Women and the Fight for the Vote online exhibit or find much more about her work in Illinois at Suffrage2020Illinois.

Premiere Details:

  • Date: Saturday, June 22, 2024
  • Time: 7:00 – 8:00 PM Reception, 8:15 PM Screening
  • Location: White Auditorium, Global Hub, Kellogg School of Business, Northwestern
    University, Evanston Campus
  • Admission: Free and open to the public. On-site parking available
  • For More Information: Visit

The documentary features interviews with notable figures including:

  • Jan Schakowsky, U.S. Congresswoman
  • Ellen Rosenblum, Attorney General of Oregon
  • Robyn Gabel, Illinois State Representative
  • Lori Osborne, Director of the Evanston Women’s History Project at the Evanston
    History Center
  • Julia Wilson, Executive Director of the John Paul Stevens Fellowship Foundation
  • Dr. Virginia Drachman, Author and Faculty at Tufts University
  • Dr. Jill Norgren, Author and Retired Faculty from City University of New York
  • Dr. Gwen Hoerr Jordan, Author, Educator and Attorney
  • Dr. Rachel Bohlmann, University of Notre Dame