Hepburn was born on May 12, 1907, in Hartford, Connecticut, the second of six children. Her parents were Katharine Martha Houghton (1878–1951), a feminist who headed the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association and later fought for birth control with Margaret Sanger, and Thomas Norval Hepburn (1879–1962), a urologist at Hartford Hospital.
Katharine Martha instilled in her daughter the virtues of perseverance, independence and fortitude, teaching that women were equal to men. As a child, Hepburn joined her mother on several “Votes For Women” demonstrations.
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