|Edith Stratton was born in Florence in 1872. Her family moved to a cattle ranch north of the Catalina Mountains when she was two years old. Stratton grew up on the ranch, enjoying horseback riding, hunting with her father and the semi-annual round-ups. However, ranch life was very difficult financially, and the family moved to Los Angeles. There, Edith graduated from Los Angeles Normal School in 1900.
After studying briefly at the University of Arizona, Edith Stratton accepted a teaching position at a ranch school near Liberty, southwest of Phoenix. She also taught in Colorado and in Tucson before marrying George F. Kitt in 1903. The couple lived in Tucson where they raised two children. Edith Stratton Kitt's college education had been interrupted by teaching, marriage and raising children, but she eventually earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona.
As the Arizona Pioneers' Historical Society secretary, Edith Kitt also served as the "librarian, researcher, entertainer, welfare worker and father confessor all in one," she wrote in her book, Pioneering in Arizona: the Reminiscences of Emerson Oliver Stratton and Edith Stratton Kitt. In her position, she had ample independence because the Pioneer Society presidents let her run her own operation. Kitt made old timers feel comfortable when they visited the historical society's office, and eventually collected many of their stories, letters and other historical records. Her goal became the development of a great central repository of Arizona's history. After she retired, she continued to work with the collections, by sorting and archiving the papers of John Greenway, mine owner and Rough Rider, and Isabella Greenway King, Arizona's first congresswoman. For her labors, she was named First Lady of Arizona's Territorial Centennial, in 1963.
Edith Statton Kitt was also active in several clubs. She helped organize the Tucson Fine Arts Association, acted as director of the Tucson YWCA and was state president of the Arizona State Federation of Women's Clubs. But she made her largest contribution in historical preservation at the Arizona Pioneers Historical Society which was renamed the Arizona Historical Society in 1970. Visit the Arizona Historical Society Museum and Archives at 949 E. 2nd Street in Tucson.
Edith Stratton Kitt, Pioneering in Arizona: the Reminiscences of Emerson Oliver Stratton and Edith Stratton Kitt. Tucson: Arizona Pioneers Historical Society, 1964.
Edith Stratton Kitt - Courtesy of Arizona Historical Society, Tucson